May 16, 2017
CITGO and the Ocean Exploration Trust Award Mini-Grants to Fund STEM Education Efforts in Houston
News Source: MilTech
Author: Maciej Heyman
As part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is partnering with the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to award science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mini-grants to educators dedicated to sharing ocean exploration with students. Two Houston-area schools, Olle Middle School and South Early College High School, are receiving funding through the OET Community STEM Mini-grant program to help engage and excite students through unique STEM experiences and encourage them to seek STEM careers.
“Thanks to our multi-year partnership, CITGO and the Ocean Exploration Trust have been able to reach many educators and their students, providing hands-on programming at sea and live ship-to-shore interactions to enhance understanding of deep-sea exploration,” said Rafael Gomez, CITGO vice president of strategic shareholder relations, government and public affairs. “With the announcement of this year’s mini-grant awards, we hope to take the excitement of ocean research and discovery to even more teachers and students in the Houston area.”
A mini-grant will support Olle Middle School in hosting a STEM conference this May to increase students’ STEM literacy and encourage more women and minorities to seek STEM degrees and careers. Approximately 200 elementary, intermediate and middle school girls and their guardians will have the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions and engineering activities, as well as hear directly from STEM role models.
In June, South Early High School will host a one-week camp for high school students, imparting the skills to build fully functional underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Through the camp, students will take part in various real world-inspired missions with their ROVs such as the disabling of underwater “mines,” and at the end of the camp, participants will demonstrate their robots at a STEM community program.
“The Ocean Exploration Trust’s partnership with CITGO has enabled thousands of teachers to learn more about science in the real world, and the Community STEM Mini-grant program is helping to expand the reach of OET resources,” said Allison Fundis, OET vice president of education, outreach and communications. “Through the CITGO partnership, we have helped provide educators the resources they need to show students that they can achieve their dreams in STEM. These grants will empower them to take steps toward pursuing those goals.”
In addition to its support for the mini-grant program, CITGO is also sponsoring participants in this summer’s OET Science Communication Fellowship. This year, two educators from CITGO operational areas will board the 64-meter Exploration Vessel Nautilus to learn more about ocean science in the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and share their findings with students across the country via live ship-to-shore interactions broadcast at www.NautilusLive.org.
The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program partners with educational organizations near the company’s operational areas to increase access to STEM educational opportunities, including those associated with the Ocean Exploration Trust. The program promotes the importance of STEM education in the socioeconomic development of our communities and highlights the numerous pathways to rewarding careers, including those in the energy industry. It provides grants to schools and educational organizations to support programs that increase student interest, retention and graduation rates – particularly at the high school and post-secondary levels – and those that prepare students for STEM technical and university level curriculum. The program also provides scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. In 2016, the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline benefited 3,000 students and 300 educators across the CITGO operational footprint, strengthening the communities where the company has a presence.