STEMCon 2016

March 25, 2016

Dade Moeller STEMCon 2016

We were excited to participate once again in Delta High School's "STEMCon," held at Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities on March 16, 2016. This was our fifth year supporting the event.

Dade Moeller certified health physicists Mark Fishburn and Keith McCartney provided a 2.5-hour long workshop called "Radioactivity is Everywhere!" In attendance were 13 students from Delta High School in Richland. The students had specifically selected this as the presentation they wanted to attend.

Mark and Keith reported that the students really enjoyed the hands-on labs. The labs started with a radioactivity half-life demonstration using M&Ms. Next, Mark and Keith showed the students alpha particles from Pb-210 and then let them explore shielding of different radiation types using different materials (see photos below). New this year, Mark and Keith used a cloud chamber to show the students radiation.

The students also were interested by the “Calculate Your Radiation Dose” worksheet, with which they calculated their dose based on how much they fly, where they live, what medical procedures they have had performed, and other factors.

The class ended with a short "quiz" on superheroes and how radiation transformed them (e.g., Spider Man from the bite of a radioactive spider). "The students seemed particularly engaged in that part of the class!" joked Keith.


STEMCon is a series of workshops and speakers for local high school students, providing an opportunity to engage in fun, hands-on activities and increase their awareness of all the possibilities of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers. The students interact with career professionals who share their career experiences, personal journeys, and educational training. The event is a joint effort between Delta High School, Battelle, Columbia Basin College, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL), and WSU Tri-Cities.

Dade Moeller STEMCon 2016_2

Dade Moeller STEMCon 2016

Editor's Note: Mark and Keith were very complimentary of each other's efforts in preparing for and conducting this event! Mark called Keith "the star of the event," to which Keith replied, "Don't let Mark fool you. This definitely was the Mark Fishburn show." Mark then responded with, "Don't listen to Keith. He is the straw that stirs the drink."

Since we weren't there in the classroom, we will simply believe that you BOTH played integral roles in the success of this event and will say, "Thank you, Mark and Keith, for adeptly inspiring a new generation of health physicists!"

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