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Pam Nelson and STEM campers conduct chemical process demonstration.

WHITE SPRINGS — STEM in the Park campers were provided an unique opportunity last week when Pam Nelson delivered a presentation on her responsibilities as the Global Process Safety Manager for Cytec Industries, Inc./SOLVAY, an international company based in Brussels, Belgium.

Nelson is a chemical engineer with process safety management expertise, and more than 30 years of experience in the chemical process industry. She has expertise in process safety management audits and process hazards analysis leadership.

Currently, Nelson is responsible for managing process safety for Solvay’s Global Business Unit of nine manufacturing sites in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, China and Great Britain.

Nelson described her career development beginning with her education. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University (Cookeville, Tenn.) and an MBA – Finance from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business (Athens, Ga.). While there weren’t that many females in her classes when she was a chemical engineering student, now the situation is much different. Today, chemical engineering is an equal opportunity discipline, with about equal numbers of men and women in chemical engineering classrooms.

Relying on the belief that participation aids understanding, Nelson brought along a table top display to demonstrate pumping fluids and the regulation of chemical flows. STEM campers used their body temperatures to stimulate the core system of the display.

After her presentation, Nelson answered many questions posed by both campers and staff. She also distributed “goodie bags” to all the campers provided by her company’s human resources manager.

One question asked of Nelson was, “How does a global process safety engineer working for a company based in Europe, employed by a subsidiary in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, find herself making a presentation to a summer camp in White Springs, Florida?”

The answer demonstrates how interconnected our lives are today, and the continuing attraction of life in White Springs. Pam and her husband Jeff Nelson, and their adult children, all enjoy taking time out of their business lives to enjoy the natural beauty of the Suwannee River, fishing opportunities throughout Hamilton County, and “just hanging out in White Springs.”

More than a decade ago, Jeff Nelson and his son “discovered” White Springs during a father-son fishing trip to Florida. That discovery led to the purchase of a small house in White Springs greatly in need of TLC, a labor of love by father and son completely restoring the house, and a continuing love and appreciation of White Springs.

“We are so happy to give back to the community — through the STEM camp presentation — for all the joy created in our family by our times in White Springs,” stated both Pam and Jeff Nelson. “Careers based in science, technology, engineering and math create many opportunities for youth — from both urban and rural areas. We see the benefits in our family every day. We are grateful for the opportunity to encourage youth, and demonstrate the benefits of STEM careers for both girls and boys. These STEM careers, in turn, return salaries and lifestyles that allow for second homes and cottages in beautiful rural areas like White Springs.”

The STEM in the Park summer camp is an initiative of The Project HOPE, Inc., working in partnership with the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, the Hamilton County School District / Food Services, and a growing number of caring volunteers and donors concerned about opportunities for youth in the tri-county region.

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