Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness recently awarded grants to three local high school teachers to help fund science-related curriculum in their classrooms.

The grants, each about $500, will be used to fund projects that promote an increased understanding of atomic and nuclear fundamentals, radiation and nuclear materials safety, and applications of nuclear technology.

The 2019 grant winners are:

• Jack Overholser, 10th and 11th grade chemistry, South Aiken High School.

• Kacee Poppy, Honors & AP Chemistry I, South Aiken High School.

• Andrie McFadden, 9th-12th grade welding, TW Josey High School/MEB Career Center.

Overholser’s project, “Irradiated Salt Demonstration,” will exemplify radioactive decay through an experiment that compares irradiated salt and normal salt. Students will use a Geiger counter to compare the radioactivity readings of both salts, as well as background radiation

“Many of the concepts of Nuclear Chemistry can be difficult for students to wrap their heads around or imagine,” Overholser said. “I believe this demonstration, as well as being able to use the Geiger counter in other instances throughout the unit, will make some of the concepts both more interesting and also more realistic/memorable for the students.”

With Poppy’s project, “Using Cloud Chambers to Visualize Ionizing Radiation,” students will get to experience ionizing radiation at an up-close and personal level. From this lab activity, students will make drawings of what they observe in the cloud chamber and determine the difference between the visible tracks of alpha and beta radiation.

McFadden’s project, “Stand & Support,” will give students hands-on experience in fabricating and welding as they design and build welding stands for new welding machines. Currently, welding machines sit on the floor, according to McFadden.

“The stands will maintain and preserve the longevity of the welding machines for continued laboratory/shop experiences,” McFadden said.

In addition to CNTA, sponsors of the CNTA Educator Grants Program are Huntington Ingalls Industries, Savannah River National Laboratory, SRS-Community Reuse Organization, plus a private foundation and an anonymous donor.

CNTA is excited to establish this educator grants program to facilitate more educational outreach by the organization, said Dr. Jim Marra, CNTA Executive Director.

“These grant awards are just the beginning of a continued partnership with area educators to provide innovative instruction to high school students on principles of radiation, fundamentals of radioactive materials, and applications of nuclear technologies,” Marra said.

A reception honoring the three teachers will be held at the SRS Heritage Museum in Aiken on Tuesday June 11, 2019. Representatives from the grant sponsors, recipients’ schools, as well as CNTA board members and education committee members will be in attendance.

CNTA is an Aiken-based charitable educational organization dedicated to providing factual information about nuclear topics and educating the public on nuclear issues.

For more information, contact CNTA at or call 803-649-3456.