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ORNL Program Celebrates 25 Years of Science Education

The Oak Ridge Science Semester Program is entering its 25th year at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The program involves undergraduate participants from colleges of the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). Deans from the 12 GLCA colleges will be at ORNL Nov. 3 to get a first-hand look at the program, which has served as a model for the other DOE laboratories. They will also attend the annual poster session, highlighting the students' research projects.

Students perform research at the cutting edge of science; learn to operate sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment and instruments; and supplement their laboratory research experience with seminars, workshops, and coursework under the direction of ORNL staff scientists. Three resident faculty members from colleges of the consortium also are assigned to the Laboratory to do research, provide coursework, and counsel the students.

"This is a very rich program. It has grown substantially over the past 25 years," said George Gilbert, director of the Oak Ridge Science Semester Program. "The program has been a wonderful experience for the students to work with top-notch scientists and has provided an excellent educational opportunity for the laboratory."

The 16-week science semester provides opportunities for student research and advanced study in energy-related areas of science and technology including the biomedical, environmental, and physical sciences; nuclear and engineering technologies; applied mathematics; and advanced energy systems.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the Department of Energy's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.