Campus News

SREL to offer world’s first undergraduate program in radioecology

UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory recently received a three-year National Science Foundation grant to establish the only program in the world to offer training in radioecology at the undergraduate level. The program will serve as a foundation for students pursuing careers in nuclear accident response or nuclear energy production.

The 10-week summer program will provide 10 students a year with unprecedented access to SREL laboratories, where they will study the transport, fate and effects of radioactive elements in the environment and on wildlife—areas crucial to the nation’s ability to address emerging issues of nuclear energy production, national security and nuclear contaminants.

Some of the students will analyze tissue samples of feral hogs and game birds in the lab to measure levels of radiation over time. Other students will use animal handling and live-trapping techniques to capture alligators for measurement and blood samples. Oral and poster presentations will give all students the opportunity to develop communication skills and present their research.

Enrichment activities will be a significant part of the program. Students will gain knowledge of the history of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and tour the historical and research areas of the SRS, including nuclear facilities.

The grant will provide a weekly stipend, housing and a food allowance. The summer program dates for 2015 are May 18 to July 31.