feature

we’re at south by southwest – and it’s fab

As a participating sponsor of the 2017 Expo at SXSWedu, our partnership with the Fab Foundation and our commitment to STEM education take center stage

We are showcasing Chevron’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through our role as a presenting sponsor at this month’s Education Expo at the South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) Conference in Austin, Texas. By providing access to one of our mobile fabrication labs (Fab Labs), we will enable students and other visitors to experience the excitement of hands-on STEM learning.

The mobile lab is part of our Fab Lab Permian Basin located at Odessa College in Odessa, Texas, where we celebrated the grand opening last month. The grand opening featured a series of stakeholder events, including a tour that attracted over 1,000 community members. Developed in partnership with Odessa College and the Fab Foundation, the facility is called the Fab Lab Permian Basin in recognition of our major investments in the region.

“Creating effective and sustainable partnerships is key to our business success and the success of our communities. And our partnership with the Fab Foundation and Odessa College to open both a stationary Fab Lab and mobile Fab Lab is no exception.”

Bruce Niemeyer
Mid-Continent business unit vice president

Like the more than 1,000 facilities in the Fab Lab Network around the world, Fab Lab Permian Basin is centered around a suite of digital fabrication tools and prototyping machines such as laser cutters, 3D Printers, vinyl cutters and milling machines, used for making and designing. It is one of the Fab Labs that Chevron is bringing to areas where the company operates as a result of our strong commitment to communities and STEM education.

We have been active with the Fab Foundation since 2014, when we made a $10 million commitment during the White House Maker Fare to bring Fab Labs to areas where we operate. The Maker Movement is committed to empowering students and adults to create, innovate, tinker and make their ideas into reality.

Through our partnership, the Fab Foundation provides access to tools and technology in order to educate, innovate and invent. In the past 2 ½ years, we have made major steps toward that commitment, opening seven Chevron-sponsored Fab Labs from Bakersfield, Calif., to Washington, D.C. The labs are open both to students and to the community.

SXSW edu logo

Chevron at South by Southwest Education Conference

Chevron is a presenting sponsor at this month’s Education Expo at the South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) Conference in Austin, Texas.

An Ideal Venue for Focusing on STEM
As one of the nation’s largest educational conferences, SXSWedu provides Chevron with an opportunity to collaborate with educators and our partners. Blair Blackwell, manager of Corporate and Education Programs, and Sherry Lassiter, CEO of the Fab Foundation, will bring our commitment full-circle by discussing progress to date in funding and building Fab Labs in a panel discussion at the conference.

"We’re excited by the progress we’ve made in partnership with the Fab Foundation. This work is vital to our larger goal of empowering students to pursue STEM subjects through hands-on learning. The partnership is one of several STEM programs to inspire and equip the next generation of innovators.” 

Blair Blackwell
Manager of corporate and education programs

By focusing on improving instruction in STEM education, Chevron is helping to provide the technical training and career support that can lead to well-paying STEM jobs. A workforce equipped with the critical skills needed to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow is important not only to the success of our business, but also to the country’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Working with our partners, we take a comprehensive approach to investments in education by getting students excited about STEM and encouraging them to pursue STEM courses and, ultimately, STEM careers. We also support teacher training, provide classroom resources, fund extracurricular activities, and develop partnerships with universities designed to strengthen faculty, curricula and student development.

Fab Lab students

Fab Lab students

Left: Odessa High students demonstrate the operation of LittleBits at the Fab Lab Permian Basin. LittleBits are easy-to-use electronic building blocks that snap together using magnets and require no soldering, wiring or programming. Right: Permian High School students demonstrate how to operate a 3D printer at the Fab Lab Permian Basin grand opening at Odessa College.

Our support for STEM education is broad-based and capable of expanding as individual programs merit additional investment. One such case involves our partnership with Project Lead The Way (PTLW), which has brought rigorous, project-based engineering curricula to more than 100 schools in 10 states, reaching more than 100,000 students. In 2013, we were the first corporation to support PLTW’s National Grow Campaign, pledging $6 million in funding to PLTW.

And, in an outgrowth of our commitment to the 2014 White House Maker Fare, we also have begun partnering with Maker Ed and Digital Promise. In December 2016, Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating innovation in education, announced the launch of the filmMAKER™ Challenge, an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn about and engage in product design and filmmaking. Through this Chevron-supported challenge, students will use design strategies to solve real-world problems and share their solutions broadly.

“Fewer things are more important to our nation’s future than student interest and proficiency in STEM,” said Blackwell. “As a company, we recognize the important role that the Maker Movement is playing in creating more opportunities in education, entrepreneurship and workforce development, local and advanced manufacturing and making our communities even better places to live, work and play.”

To follow Chevron at SXSWedu, please visit the Chevron Corporate Responsibility Twitter @ChevronCR

Updated: March 2017