CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 30 local educators participated in the inaugural Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy held on Monday, June 22 and Tuesday, June 23, at the CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery.  The continuing education program for area educators is part of the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative dedicated to natural habitat and coastal restoration along the Gulf Coast region.

The two-day Academy, offered free of charge, served as 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 be incorporated in their classrooms.  The program is an immersive, activity-filled, professional development workshop that also utilized the technology of telepresence – allowing program participants to join OET's Exploration Vessel Nautilus and its remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) live on the seafloor.

Participating educators received OET's newly developed STEM Learning Modules – an educational resource designed to match the excitement of live exploration with inquiry-based lessons and classroom activities. In addition, the program furnished participants  a behind-the-scenes look at STEM facilities in Corpus Christi such as the CITGO refinery and Texas A&M Corpus Christi campus engineering labs as well as  opportunities to network with STEM professionals and other educators and gave them the chance to learn about the education programs available aboard the Nautilus for professionals and students.

"As an advocate of STEM education and proud member of this community for the last 80 years, CITGO is honored to host the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy in Corpus Christi. These educators have a passion for STEM education and we appreciate their commitment to shaping young minds and opening doors for these students to pursue careers in disciplines so important to our industry," said CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery Vice President and General Manager Doyle Dommert.

CITGO first partnered with OET in 2014 at the launch of the Caring for our Coast initiative, a series of programs designed to extend the company's ongoing commitment to environmental protection and restoration leading up to the 10th anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September of 2015. The storms devastated areas  in the Gulf Coast, where CITGO employees and refineries are largely based. 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

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 Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit

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 Petroleum Corporation