- Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles refinery wrapped its 32nd Summer Youth Program that taught 33 student interns about career opportunities at the refinery.
- The student interns took part in a variety of team-building activities throughout the summer, including a large-scale beautification project at a local middle school.
- The project at Wilmington Middle School STEAM Magnet included multiple murals featuring local and national heroes.
Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles refinery hosted 33 students from nine nearby high schools for its 32nd annual Summer Youth Program. The six-week internship program teaches students what it takes to safely operate a refinery while exposing them to careers in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as other departments at the refinery, including human resources, safety and operations excellence. During their internship, students participated in large team-building exercises, toured two local community colleges and visited the Port of Los Angeles on a sailboat from the Los Angeles Maritime Institute.
The summer program includes at least one community-based service project. This year, in coordination with Sharefest, a longtime partner of the refinery and local nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower underserved youth, students chose Wilmington Middle School STEAM Magnet as the location for a beautification project, helping to paint nine inspirational murals throughout the school’s sprawling campus.
“This project made a big difference on our campus by creating an inviting environment that our students and staff can be proud of.”
“By investing in projects that inspire and uplift, Marathon Petroleum helps break down barriers and instill hope in a community that is often overlooked,” Chad Mayer, Executive Director at Sharefest, noted. “The partnership with Marathon has not only revitalized physical spaces but also ignited a spirit of unity and empowerment among the community. The murals at Wilmington Middle School stand as a vivid reminder that positive change begins when we come together with a shared vision.”
Those murals include local and national role models such as Jackie Robinson, who became the first Black player in Major League Baseball when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
“The role models on these walls epitomize the core values that we want our students to have,” said Wilmington Middle School Principal Jorge Olmos. “This project made a big difference on our campus by creating an inviting environment that our students and staff can be proud of.”
Other murals completed by the students included Dr. Mae Jemison, who became the first Black woman to travel to space; Los Angeles Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela, whose number 34 jersey was retired in August; Misty Copeland, who made history in 2015 by becoming the first Black female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre; American civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, who continues her work today at 93 years old; and John Wooden, the
“Through our partnership with Sharefest, we have completed many beautification projects over the years. Each one is special in its own way,” said Luisa Wiggins, a refining engineer and one of the program coordinators for the refinery’s Summer Youth Program. “This year’s project felt even bigger and seeing the pride on the faces of our student volunteers, in addition to members of the school and larger community, is hard to put into words.”
Olga Chavez, Senior ESG & Stakeholder Engagement Representative with Marathon echoed the sentiment.
“Our team members are the heart of this effort and their unwavering dedication to the Wilmington community is truly inspiring,” said Chavez. “Partnering with Sharefest for the vibrant murals at Wilmington Middle School demonstrates how much our team cares about making a real impact.”
Later in the summer, over 100 employee volunteers from Marathon Petroleum returned to the school to complete additional projects over two days of service, including updating the school’s landscaping at its front entrance, as well as refurbishing its outdoor athletic courts.