Maintaining STEAM During the Global Pandemic and Beyond: Laying the Foundation Today to Create Tomorrow’s Industry Leaders

Events and STEAM-focused internships are typically based on face-to-face, hands-on teaching and learning, but this year’s programs have been challenged with schools and businesses operating in mostly virtual environments. Our member companies have stepped up to this challenge to offer excellent experiences through collaborative virtual platforms and valuable learning opportunities for students of all ages.

For example, for the first time ever, California Resources Corporation (CRC) switched to a Virtual Summer Internship Program format this year to ensure continued support to provide interns with an immersive and valuable experience during COVID-19. The program, aimed at talented college students, provides the opportunity to learn about the petroleum industry while allowing them to develop and hone their professional and hands-on technical work field skills.

CRC employees found innovative ways to communicate and collaborate with interns and assimilate them into the company culture and virtual workplace. Using online platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, the Virtual Internship Program engaged interns through daily check-ins and virtual “Intern Learning Series” meetings.

Similarly, Marathon Petroleum offered a virtual experience to continue valuable learning experiences for Summer Internships. Click here to view their efforts.

Valero continued its support and sponsorship of Benicia’s STEAM ‘Rotational Wheel’ program to fund science tools, such as needed microscopes, magnifying glasses, measuring tools and other experiments. In a virtual environment, technology projects are all still thriving, including coding with ‘ozo’ and ‘bee’ bots, Google ‘Virtual Reality’ expeditions, and Lexia Core 5 & programming. Last year, the company provided $30,000 to assist in financing subject matter experts in STEAM at all four Benicia elementary schools.

The ability to stay nimble is the key to success in today’s challenging environment. We applaud the work being done by our member companies to keep the momentum going for STEAM education. Not only is the work important for our industry today, it is critical to laying a foundation that empowers students to become tomorrow’s future leaders.

Learn more about our work in STEM/STEAM, click here.

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