February 26, 2016

Local Students “Shake Things Up” During Engineers Week with AREVA and Vector Space

LYNCHBURG, Va., February 26, 2016 – AREVA and Vector Space, a local educational non-profit, recently hosted students for a “Seismic Shake-up Challenge” at the new Vector Space building in Lynchburg, Va. Students, ranging from 8 to 12 years old, and parents put their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to the test designing and building structures out of coffee stirrers and modeling clay that could withstand simulated earthquakes. This event was held as part of National Engineers Week, which began Feb. 21 and continues through Feb. 27.

“Getting the chance to create and build a structure and test the design right away to see if it would break was really cool,” said Carlie Freeman, daughter of AREVA employee Bob Freeman.

Both AREVA and Vector Space believe that improving students’ achievements in STEM education will help ensure the clean energy future and give students the ability to help our country compete globally and achieve energy independence.

“At AREVA, we are committed to our communities, and sustaining and advancing nuclear energy, which includes the development of the industry’s future workforce,” said Gary Mignogna, president and CEO of AREVA Inc. “Working with organizations like Vector Space, we are encouraging students’ interest in STEM topics so that they are prepared to help solve the energy challenges of tomorrow.”

At the event, students and families also learned about AREVA’s Seismic Lab, which houses one of the largest shake tables in the world. Located at the AREVA Solutions Complex on Mount Athos Road, the shake table tests the response of structures to seismic activity.

“We love hands-on projects like this one where students get to come up with their own design and execute it with the available materials,” said Elise M. Spontarelli, executive director of Vector Space. “It gets them thinking about how things work – the various and complex challenges that go into making a building able to withstand an earthquake.”

Using coffee stirrers and modeling clay, students designed and built structures for testing on a “shake table.”

Kids and grown-ups alike enjoyed participating in the “Seismic Shake-up Challenge” to celebrate National Engineers Week.

A homemade “shake table” put students’ structures to the test.

Even the parents got in on the action at the “Seismic Shake-up Challenge.”

AREVA is a proud supporter of National Engineers Week. In addition to hosting this event with Vector Space, AREVA employees volunteered at schools in Campbell County and Lynchburg City to talk to students about engineering and technology careers. The company also made a donation to the Central Virginia Governor’s School Foundation.

Partnerships with schools and organizations like Vector Space are part of AREVA’s commitment to STEM education and to the Lynchburg area, which is home to more than 1,400 AREVA employees and their families. In 2014, the company and its employees contributed more than 3,000 volunteer hours and more than $1.8 million to charitable organizations and educational institutions.