- An employee working group at Marathon Petroleum’s El Paso, Texas, refinery is focusing refinery volunteers and resources on initiatives that help local students better understand potential career paths.
- The group’s members visit schools to share their expertise in a wide range of professional disciplines, including everything from engineering and IT to welding and lab work.
- The effort seeks to inspire students to explore career opportunities they might not have otherwise envisioned for themselves.
They come from many different professional disciplines across Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s (MPC) El Paso, Texas, refinery, but they are all linked by a common desire to enhance education and expand career possibilities for local students. These employees are members of the refinery’s Education and Outreach Working Group (E&O), which is focusing refinery volunteers and resources on educational initiatives to further strengthen the site’s extensive involvement with local school districts.
By showing students connections between classroom learning and potential career opportunities, we hope to inspire them to explore career paths they might not ever have envisioned for themselves.
E&O is working to enrich classroom education while laying a foundation for future career exploration. Its members are looking to inspire students to learn about career fields that involve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as other professions related to the refining industry. According to Co-E&O Team Lead and Refining Engineer Lauren Pugh, E&O benefits from a high level of volunteer enthusiasm at the site.
“Here in El Paso, the refinery exists in the heart of the community. There are many employees who have a passion for giving back, especially to schools,” she said. “We want to harness this passion to further amplify Marathon’s classroom enrichment support.”
Making stronger connections
Pugh is among a dozen core E&O members from across several departments, including Maintenance Crafts, Engineering, Laboratory, HR, Operations, IT, Administrative Support and Environment, Safety and Security. This blend of knowledge and experience helped the working group support a packed schedule of initiatives over the past few months to end the recent school year:
- touring two MPC-funded classroom STEM labs and observing students showcase their work
- participating in five school career days where employees shared insights with students about MPC career paths and opportunities
- attending two elementary school STEM showcases that highlighted student classroom projects and accomplishments
- supporting a high school welding competition series where MPC refinery welders guided students through events
Working group members are also involved in a partnership with the University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering to create a refining-focused learning module for an MPC-funded mobile STEM trailer. This traveling classroom will visit local schools to introduce K-12 students to energy and engineering concepts while helping them discover STEM-related careers.
For the coming school year, E&O’s plans include partnering with local back-to-school events to support their activities and creating fun, interactive classroom demonstrations to further support enrichment opportunities.
“We hope to educate the El Paso community about the operations of our refinery and the importance of what we do,” said Co-E&O Team Lead and Refining Engineer Katlyn Porter. “By showing students connections between classroom learning and potential career opportunities, we hope to inspire them to explore career paths they might not ever have envisioned for themselves.”