Nuclear engineering graduate student gives back, teaches merit badge

Gordon Merit BadgeOutreach plays a vital role in the recruitment of a future generation of engineers, as well as provides exposures to different types of career paths that middle and high school students may not have considered on their own. Every winter, the Rio Grande Council of the Boy Scouts of America hosts a camp for its youth. The young men of the Rio Grande Valley learn from professionals and volunteers for four days at Camp Perry in Rio Hondo, Texas.

While some of the badges are more traditional — rifle shooting and first aid — other badges like law, dentistry, or nuclear science require a dedicated group of professionals who volunteer.

Graduate student William Gordon, from the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, dedicated part of his winter break to teaching the nuclear science, electricity, electronics and radio merit badges. Gordon started teaching merit badges in 2008 in order to contribute back to his local community.

Scouts learned about nuclear energy and used detectors provided by Dr. Craig Marianno of the Nuclear Security Science & Policy Institute (NSSPI) to demonstrate how distance impacts count rate. Students were given prizes provided by the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI). Students in the department are encouraged to participate in impactful service through outreach with local communities.