LEMONT, Ill., Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 30 Chicago-area educators recently gathered at the CITGO Petroleum Corp. Lemont Refinery to take part in the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy. Funded by CITGO, the free, day-long program provided a unique opportunity for local educators to learn more about deep-ocean exploration, network with their peers and partake in a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related activities.

The STEM Academy represents a cooperative effort between CITGO and the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), a leader in deep-sea exploration. Founded in 2008 and operated by OET, the Nautilus Exploration Program conducts scientific research on the ocean floor using the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel. Through the CITGO-OET partnership, teachers and students on shore can get an up-close look at E/V Nautilus via live video, audio and data feeds from the ship.

Teachers who attended the STEM Academy received OET's new STEM Learning Modules, a set of resources designed to infuse the experience of live deep-sea exploration into classroom lessons and activities. Each lesson examines an aspect of the Nautilus Exploration Program, including sonar mapping, oceanography and marine archaeology. While the modules are designed for a sixth-grade audience, they can be customized to fit a wide variety of grade levels and student needs. Additionally, STEM Academy attendees had the chance to meet with deep-sea exploration experts from the Nautilus Corps of Exploration to learn more about the work they are doing to explore never-before-seen places on the ocean floor. 

"Encouraging a sense of curiosity and discovery in students is our main goal, and our partnership with CITGO is helping us to bring the excitement of deep-sea exploration to even more teachers and students," said Allison Fundis, vice president of education, outreach & communications for the Ocean Exploration Trust. "We are very proud to work alongside CITGO to bring our programs to educators in the Chicago area."

The CITGO-OET partnership is part of the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative, a series of programs and projects boosting environmental restoration, conservation and education efforts. Under the auspices of Caring for Our Coast, CITGO has also hosted educators in Lake Charles and Corpus Christi to participate in the STEM Academy, giving teachers in those areas the opportunity to work with OET and local STEM professionals.

"An education in science helps children explore the world around them. For many students, a STEM education provides a strong foundation for their future careers – as engineers, technicians, environmentalists or even teachers," said Jim Cristman, vice president and general manager for the CITGO Lemont Refinery. "The Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy provides the latest STEM tools and resources to local teachers so they can give their students the strongest start possible."

The public can follow Nautilus expeditions at NautilusLive on Facebook and Instagram, @EVNautilus on Twitter and online via www.nautiluslive.org.

About the Ocean Exploration Trust
The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard. Our international program centers on scientific exploration of the seafloor launched from aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel. In addition to conducting scientific exploration, the Nautilus Exploration Program offers telepresence to explorers on shore and the public via live video, audio and data feeds. The program also includes an education component that brings educators and students on oceanographic expeditions.

About the CITGO Lemont Refinery
The CITGO Lemont Refinery employs more than 800 local residents on a full-time and contract basis in support of the local economy. In addition to producing high quality fuels for a large portion of the network of nearly 6,000 locally-owned CITGO stations across the country, Lemont refinery employees also make a major positive impact on the community. Each year, more than 2,500 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars are given in support of community programs such as Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way and a variety of environmental and preservation programs. For more information on the CITGO Lemont Refinery, visit www.citgorefining.com/Lemont.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.


SOURCE CITGO Petroleum Corporation