Southern Nuclear’s Mike McCracken has received the 2021 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Landis Public Communication and Education Award, which “recognizes an individual for outstanding efforts, dedication and accomplishment in furthering public education and understanding of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology,” according to the ANS website. The award was presented in Washington, D.C. at the ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo.
As a Communications Lead, Mike works with a small team of professionals to offer educational programs that reach thousands of people each year, on-site at the Vogtle Energy Education Center, off-site and through virtual programs. The audiences for these programs include four-year universities, two-year technical colleges, grade schools and home schools. He also coordinates programs with community, government, business and industry leaders as well as international visitors.
Mike’s reach extends into the communities around Plant Vogtle. Each fall, a Science Education Enrichment Day is held at the University of South Carolina – Aiken that is designed to spark interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These events can attract upwards of 4,000 children and teachers, where they learn about power generation at Plant Vogtle through interactive displays.
“Educators from the southeast have greatly benefitted from Mike’s commitment to the education of their students in better understanding the benefits of nuclear energy,” said ANS Savannah River section’s Mel Buckner, who nominated Mike for this recognition. “His depth of knowledge produces sessions that are engaging to the instructors and provide valuable resources and information for students across the region. Mike is a sincere listener and coordinator. He has a reputation for actively engaging the audience to increase interest and provide clarification for misunderstandings and concerns related to the industry. His infectious enthusiasm for nuclear energy has helped many students see the energy industry as a viable career option.”
Mike has 28 years of experience in the nuclear industry, first with Progress Energy (Carolina Power and Light) and currently with Southern Nuclear at Plant Vogtle. He has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“The passion and dedication that Mike has for nuclear science and educating the general public is unmatched,” said Lizzy Yates, Southern Nuclear Communications Director. “He has an inspiring ability to captivate an audience by relating to people and communicating the many layers of nuclear energy in a way that is easy to understand. His knowledge of the industry runs deep, and his passion for nuclear runs even deeper. We are so proud of Mike and all he has accomplished, and we congratulate him on receiving this award.”
Featured Image description: Dr. H.M. 'Hash' Hashemian, ANS Honors and Awards Chairman, presents Mike McCracken with the 2021 Landis Public Communication and Education Award