Adding value to the community is important to LLNL’s continuing success. Each year the Laboratory strives to contribute in meaningful ways, from supporting a wide range of activities in science and engineering outreach to charitable giving and myriad volunteer efforts.
Fun With Science
In FY 2014, more than 8,000 children at the 4th and 5th grade level got up close and personal with science through hands-on experiments. “Fun With Science” presentations by LLNL employees and retirees provide an introduction to various scientific phenomena and help prepare students as they embark on their science education at the middle- and high-school levels.
A Great Day for Science
LLNL’s “Science on Saturday” (SOS) lecture series for middle- and high-school students continued to play to sold-out crowds. More than 5,000 people attended a total of 12 lectures held in Livermore, Tracy, and Brentwood. Through SOS, LLNL researchers partnered with local science teachers in discussions focused on demonstrating HPC to simulate the human heart, taking a microscopic look at menacing microbes, understanding fusion in hopes of re-creating the life force of stars, and exploring nature using computers. Presentations are recorded for UC’s TV website and YouTube.
Curriculum that Cuts to the Core
Throughout 2014, Bay Area K–12 science teachers continued to implement new Common Core State Standards in literacy and math. In response, LLNL expanded its professional development academies to help teachers gain the key skills needed to meet this challenge for two high-demand topics. In computer modeling, Laboratory technical staff teamed with local high-school department heads to offer a two-week classroom-ready introduction to basic simulation software. In technical writing, LLNL’s practical treatment of ways to meet Common Core requirements filled a pair of two-day workshops attended by Northern Californian science teachers from all grade levels.
The Laboratory turned to social media to expand its reach in education. In May, in honor of Livermorium Day, proclaimed by the city of Livermore for LLNL’s discovery of element 116, researchers participated in a special “Google chat” with students at Granada High School and Christensen Middle School to discuss exploratory science. The Laboratory also participated in a DOE/NASA Google hangout to promote women in science and engineering, and offered similar online discussions for each of its teacher research academies.
LLNL continues to spread the word on science through various fairs and festivals. In October, the Laboratory participated in the Bay Area Science Festival, which attracted more than 30,000 young scientists and their families to AT&T Park in San Francisco. In addition to daylong presentations of “Fun With Science,” attendees were dared to test their scientific know-how or solve the world’s climate and energy issues through interactive computer games. During the festival, Laboratory researchers also participated in the popular “Ask Me Anything” online chats on Reddit, known as the “front page of the Internet.” During this presentation, they were asked more than 600 questions in a two-hour period.
Closer to home, the Laboratory continues to sponsor the annual Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair (ACSEF). Approximately 650 middle- and high-school students and more than 125 teachers from 18 school districts participated in the 2014 fair, with more than 170 awards distributed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and 60 special awards from national and local government and industry sponsors.
Helping Our Vets
The Laboratory is partnering with Las Positas Community College in Livermore and the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board to establish a 24-month academic program to provide technical education and hands-on training for veterans. The market for qualified technicians can be extremely competitive. With curriculum developed by LLNL, the Engineering Technology Program is designed to help veterans gain skills needed for engineering technician careers and provides a pipeline of candidates to the Laboratory and other Bay Area employers.
HOME Campaign and Community Gifts
Employees and the Laboratory’s managing contractor, LLNS, raised more than $3.3 million in the 2013 HOME (Helping Others More Effectively) Campaign, an annual charitable drive that benefits community and nonprofit agencies in the Tri-Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and greater San Francisco Bay Area. Employees pledged a total of $2.3 million, while LLNS contributed $1 million in matching funds. The total was $3.4 million in the 2014 campaign, conducted early FY 2015.
At a ceremony at the LLNS office in Livermore, Laboratory Director Goldstein presented checks totaling $100,000 to the recipients for the 2014 LLNS Community Gift Program. LLNS received 89 applications totaling more than $850,000 in requests, a 30 percent dollar increase over the previous year. Thirty-seven applications were selected for awards through a committee review process. The majority of these awards serve children in the Tri-Valley and San Joaquin County, with a focus on science, math education, and cultural arts.