fueling the future
Projects like Big Foot need highly qualified personnel and their special "human energy" to keep operations running smoothly and safely. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, and Chevron encourages them to build their future success on a foundation that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
In Louisiana, future engineers are found in the robotics classroom at the New Orleans, Louisiana, ReNEW SciTech Academy. As the flagship facility for STEM programs of ReNEW Schools, SciTech has hands-on activities in specialized labs and provides robotics curriculum for its elementary and middle school students. Through a pilot program with Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the world’s leading provider of K–12 STEM curriculum, students are introduced to concepts of robotics integrated with key science and math principles.
In 2014, SciTech’s all-girl robotics team was provided with robotics kits and entries to the VEX Robotics Competition – the largest and fastest-growing middle and high school robotics competition in the world. The fifth-grade girls won the Innovative Solutions Award for Best Research Project at the Louisiana state finals and traveled to California to participate in the International Robotics Competition.
According to SciTech robotics team teacher Ralph Alvarado, the curriculum and competition have built confidence and improved students’ grades in other subjects. He said, “As our students engage with robotics and find that they enjoy it, they begin to believe they can excel in any subject they put their minds to. We are very grateful for the support of Chevron. Together we are making a difference in the lives of Louisiana students.”
Since 2011, Chevron’s collaboration with PLTW has provided 29 Louisiana elementary, middle and high schools in four parishes with curriculum. Robotics curriculum and competitions have generated excitement and confidence, making students more likely to stay in STEM disciplines as they get older.
“Building an actual robot and traveling to competitions has been really exciting. While lessons from a textbook are great, having hands-on experience takes those lessons to another level. I can't wait until the next competition!”
Student and robotics team captain, ReNEW SciTech Academy
STEM-related careers are growing at nearly twice the pace of all other fields combined. For students trained in STEM, this means more job openings and opportunities to earn a premium wage. People working in this field consistently make up to 26 percent more than non-STEM workers. For the SciTech robotics team, this means the tools and resources they receive now will equip them to succeed in the future. Chevron believes the girls from the SciTech robotics team can one day help fuel the world.
Published: January 2016