AREVA’s investment in educating women engineers in and for Central Virginia represents the best kind of partnership between business and higher education for the good of the community
SWEET BRIAR, Va (PRWEB) February 20, 2013
AREVA Inc. has given $35,000 to be the title sponsor of the AREVA Explore Engineering program at Sweet Briar College in the summer and fall of 2013 and spring of 2014.
Although AREVA has been a partner of the College’s Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program in the past, it has not previously underwritten the four-year-old Explore Engineering series, and will be the first sponsor to do so.
Sweet Briar hosts three Explore events a year for high school girls, including a weeklong residential camp that immerses the students in both the college experience and the possibilities of an engineering career. The summer program and spring and fall weekend mini-camps are hands-on, team-based and structured to emphasize creativity, problem solving and design principles.
So far, more than 200 high school girls from across the country — including several from the Lynchburg area — have attended one or more of the camps. For AREVA, sponsoring the program is an exceptional opportunity to serve the community where it works. And it makes good business sense.
“As AREVA faces a shortage of qualified engineers, this program is a great fit for our workforce development strategy because it addresses both the STEM education and diversity gaps in our country,” said Gary Mignogna, AREVA Inc. senior vice president of engineering and projects.
“By supporting local STEM programs like this one, we’re ensuring the future success of not only our company, but of our region as a whole.”
Sweet Briar is one of only two women’s colleges in the U.S. to offer an ABET-accredited engineering degree. The curriculum focuses on mechanical engineering while engaging students in opportunities to improve the quality of life for others through engineering design.
Wyllie Program director Hank Yochum notes that beyond the personal rewards of a challenging career, the prospect of making a difference in people’s lives attracts many students to the profession. Engineering impacts so many areas — medicine, transportation, and food and energy production, to name a few. Yet there is some truth to the adage that today’s solutions can become tomorrow’s problems, Yochum says, so it’s important to bring different perspectives to bear in the process.
“We need a wide range of creative ideas from engineers and scientists,” Yochum says. “I firmly believe that a more diverse group of engineers will come up with better designs. A more diverse group may also think more thoughtfully and holistically about the potential impacts of engineering and technology on society. With the Explore program, we seek out students who are underrepresented in the field to encourage them to pursue engineering.”
To that end, the Explore series has been effective, with 20 percent of participants matriculating to Sweet Briar’s Wyllie program. Combined with those who choose to study engineering elsewhere, it can make significant contributions to widening the pool of highly qualified graduates entering the job market.
“AREVA’s investment in educating women engineers in and for Central Virginia represents the best kind of partnership between business and higher education for the good of the community,” said Jo Ellen Parker, president of Sweet Briar College. “Sweet Briar is proud of Explore Engineering and its relationship with AREVA.”
About Sweet Briar College
Sweet Briar College is a nationally recognized all-women’s liberal arts and sciences college near Lynchburg, Va. Visit us at http://www.sbc.edu or find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sweet.briar.college. For more information on the Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program, visit sbc.edu/engineering.
AREVA provides its customers with solutions for low-carbon power generation in North America and all over the world. As the leader in nuclear energy and a significant, growing player in the renewable energies sector, AREVA combines U.S. and Canadian leadership, access to worldwide expertise and a proven track record of performance. Sustainable development is a core component of AREVA’s strategy. Its more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian employees work every day to make AREVA a responsible industrial player helping to supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical energy to the greatest number of people. AREVA Inc. is headquartered in Bethesda, Md. Visit us at http://us.areva.com or follow us at Twitter: AREVAinc. AREVA’s Reactors and Services business group is headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., where nearly 2,000 employees support the energy sector through innovative solutions and engineering services based on a foundation of operational excellence.