A signature afterschool program sponsored by Marathon Petroleum’s Martinez Renewable Fuels facility is changing the future career paths for students at the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD). School administrators and teachers say the continued financial support is making a difference for their students.
In September, Marathon Petroleum donated a total of $105,000 in grants to support Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) education at MDUSD. The district received a $60,000 grant for its Marathon Middle School Afterschool STEM Clubs, a program in its seventh year serving approximately 250 students at nine middle school campuses. The FIRST® Robotics teams at three high schools also received a grant totaling $45,000 to support competition activities, training and teacher coverage.
“With Marathon Petroleum’s support, we can offer these unique programs to students throughout this district,” said MDUSD Schools Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark. “Our students are benefiting from the additional exposure, opportunities and experience of STEM education. By learning STEM concepts, they’re better prepared for college and careers of the future. It’s exciting to see the students’ progress through the years.”
Valley View Middle School computer science teacher Shauna Hawes said Marathon Petroleum’s sponsorship of STEM programs gives students exposure to different, innovative opportunities as they grow.
“Students who had never thought about STEM fields go on to participate in the College Now program at Diablo Valley College and often enroll in college-level STEM classes, such as robotics, programming and cyber security,” she said. “Students are inspired toward higher education with a number of them being first-generation college students. Watching my students achieve their goals and build confidence is amazing.”
Hawes said one student’s mother was worried that her daughter didn’t like math. But after three years in the middle school program, the student realized she was actually very good at math. Through the program, students are learning creative problem-solving and communication skills, how to give and ask for suggestions, and to collaborate and be vulnerable.
“We are proud to help local students and provide them with exposure to careers in engineering and technology,” said Nichol Carranza, Marathon’s Community Relations Representative. “STEM and vocational education are a priority for Marathon. We believe that by supporting our schools and students, we are investing in thriving communities and helping to build the future workforce.”
The goal of these STEM programs is to expose middle school youth to engaging, hands-on and challenging STEM activities that develop skills, connect to STEM pathways in high schools and spark interest in these fields and employment opportunities in Contra Costa County. Hawes says Marathon is a strong community partner that provides vital support for successful enrichment programs.
Marathon Petroleum’s Martinez site is currently being converted to a renewable fuels facility. To learn more about this project, visit marathonmartinezrenewables.com.