LAKE CHARLES, La., June 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CITGO Petroleum Corporation hosted a group of more than 20 area educators as they participated in the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy held on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19, at the CITGO Park. The continuing education program for teachers is a part of the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative dedicated to coastal restoration and long-term recovery in the Gulf Coast region.
The free two-day Academy was an opportunity for local educators to work with the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals to engage in STEM-related educational activities and role-modeling of professional deep-sea exploration that can then be taught in their classrooms. The program was an intensive professional development workshop that also leveraged telepresence technology – allowing educators to join the Exploration Vessel Nautilus and its remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) live on the seafloor.
Participating educators also interacted with members of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration and received OET's newly developed STEM Learning Modules – a unique educational resource designed to match the excitement of live exploration with inquiry-based lessons and classroom activities. In addition, teachers were given a behind-the-scenes look at STEM facilities in Lake Charles, including the CITGO refinery and McNeese University engineering lab as well as opportunities to network with STEM professionals and other educators and the chance to learn about the education programs available aboard E/V Nautilus for professionals and students.
"CITGO has always been an advocate for STEM education, because of its importance to society as a whole and its particular role in preparing the new generations of professionals that our industry will need into the future," said Tomeu Vadell, vice president and general manager of the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. "The CITGO STEM Academy and our partnership with OET allow teachers to positively shape the next generation of engineers; scientists and environmentalists and provide them with the skillset needed to protect our coasts, help prevent future damage caused by extreme weather and become more well-rounded professionals."
CITGO first partnered with OET in 2014 at the launch of the Caring for our Coast initiative, a year-long series of programs designed to extend the company's ongoing commitment to environmental protection and restoration leading into the 10th anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September of 2015. As a result of the storms, a significant portion of beaches, dunes and wetlands surrounding the Gulf of Mexico were damaged by erosion – areas where CITGO employees and refineries are largely based.
CITGO has played an integral role in the Gulf Coast community for more than 80 years. After the storms, CITGO provided funding and fuel to non-governmental organizations and first responders and assisted in evacuating citizens out of harm's way. The operations at the CITGO Lake Charles refinery were brought back online in record time so that fuel and other desperately-needed products could be provided to the region. This level of effort continues today, as Caring for Our Coast supports coastal restoration projects in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas; STEM education programs; and environmental research.
The public can follow the 2015 Nautilus expedition 24 hours a day on social media at NautilusLive on Facebook and Instagram, @EVNautilus on Twitter and online via www.nautiluslive.org.
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.
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 the Exploration Vessel (E/V) 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. The 2015 expedition sponsors are the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bechtel, the Viola and Panthers Foundations, Office of Naval Research, the National Geographic Society, University of Rhode Island and additional private donors.
SOURCE CITGO Corporation