I grew up in Richland in the 60s and 70s on Cottonwood Drive; my dad worked for G. E. and Battelle. In the 1980s I came back to work as an engineer in the Hydrogeology Unit where I stayed for three years before moving to Seattle to start my family. I switched gears completely—and now I’m a writer. My work includes a new book of poems about Hanford called Plume, published by U. W. Press.

My connections to the plant were originally social/economic/inherited—I was a child growing up in a company town. In early adulthood my connections became technical and I was suddenly working in the Area after a lifetime of imagining it. I’m still interested in ground water issues, especially below the 200 areas (my old stomping ground) and at the river. But I am even more interested in the idea of institutional memory, and wonder how that can be preserved and passed on to the next generation of workers and citizens. After decades of secret-keeping at the site, the biggest worry now seems to be the world forgetting Hanford’s story and Hanford’s waste. I want to do what I can to make sure that never happens.

To connect with Kathleen Flenniken or another mentor, please click here.

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