Girls in Engineering Academy tours Detroit refinery

Community News

Detroit, Foundation
 Dynita McCaskill (far right) talks to the girls about what she loves about her job as a Refinery Operator. 

Rising 7th graders from the Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) in Detroit have first-hand knowledge of the energy industry after touring Marathon Petroleum’s Detroit refinery and meeting with some of the women who work there.

The Women’s employee network chapter at the Detroit refinery hosted the field trip in July for students participating in the GEA summer program, created by the Engineering Society of Detroit. GEA was developed to prepare and encourage middle school girls, particularly students from Detroit, to enter college and study engineering. Every week, the girls take field trips to local companies to get exposure to different industries. This was the academy’s second time visiting the Detroit refinery.

The girls learned about the refinery and saw samples of crude oil, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and asphalt. Refinery leaders took the students on a driving tour of the plant while they completed a scavenger hunt. They heard about different jobs at the refinery during a career panel with women working in those roles at the facility. Volunteers coached the girls through an activity building model molecules using marshmallows and toothpicks.

“In the tour group I was with, the girls seemed most excited about seeing where the trucks come to load up the [petroleum coke], Marathon staff working on one of the pipes and learning that people were out there working on even the hottest and coldest days,” said Alexandra Lofton, Program Coordinator, Girls in Engineering Academy. “They also loved the marshmallow activity even though they haven't taken chemistry yet. They will be taking that class with us next year, and we will be sure to remind them of that activity!”

Student Survey: What was your favorite part of the field trip?

"My favorite part was exploring the places and … [the] marshmallows [activity]."

"Getting to see different types of Engineers and what they do."

"I loved the drive [tour] and learning about the oil process and coke."

"Getting to see jobs I could maybe do in the future."

Did you know?

The Detroit refinery is home to a world-class Petroleum Coke Processing unit that allows for safe, efficient and clean production during the refining process. Learn More