MU advertising students survey residents for reactor reactions

Monday, March 28, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:40 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

A class in the advertising department at the MU School of Journalism has created a survey for the Research Reactor Center as part of a semester-long project. The survey raises questions about the community’s perception of the reactor’s safety and necessity.

“To help MU fulfill its teaching mission, (the reactor staff) periodically works with professors in capstone projects such as this one,” said Ken Brooks, associate director at the reactor. “Our most recent capstone experience was with a group of engineering students who designed a piece of equipment to automate part of the shipping process for packages containing active ingredients used in cancer treatments.”

A capstone is a final, cumulative class for seniors. It compiles ideas they have learned in previous classes, usually completing a project that mirrors a professional experience. Each section of the advertising capstone class is required to run a strategic campaign for three or four clients.

The section led by Cassandra McGinnis, an adjunct professor in advertising, is developing surveys, analyzing results and making suggestions to three clients: the reactor center, a section of the Department of Health and Senior Services providing tuberculosis screening, and a privately held ministries organization.

The survey will help gauge how the community perceives the reactor and whether residents are aware of the research done there, Brooks said.

The students will provide reactor staff with an assessment of the surveys and suggestions for what could be done to improve the information the community has about the reactor.

The reactor center is up for relicensing in 2006. Research reactors such as the one at MU are typically granted initial operating licenses of 40 years and may apply for extensions in 20-year increments, Brooks said.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviews license applications and public comments. The facilities continue to operate while the license extension is under review, Brooks said.

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