HOUSTON, Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Girls in elementary schools in Houston's Alief Independent School District (ISD) will now have more opportunities to access afterschool programming that will expand their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and career opportunities, thanks to a new partnership between CITGO Petroleum Corporation and the nonprofit organization Girlstart, which is part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline initiative. CITGO is providing support for programming for elementary school girls in the Alief ISD to boost their interest in STEM careers.

The Girlstart After School program is designed to increase students' understanding of STEM-related subjects through experiments that delve into concepts such as buoyancy, energy and propulsion. Through these interactive experiments, the program allows participants to explore opportunities in STEM careers including aerospace, electrical, marine and mechanical engineering.

"As partners committed to expanding interest in STEM in the classroom and beyond, CITGO and Girlstart have worked to build a hands-on program that gets 4th and 5th grade students excited about studying STEM subjects and pursuing STEM careers," said CITGO Vice President of Strategic Shareholder Relations, Government & Public Affairs, Rafael Gómez. "This programming is part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program, a new initiative to increase access to STEM educational opportunities for students at all levels, and we hope it will encourage many young girls in the Alief ISD to cultivate a lifelong passion for STEM discovery."

CITGO launched its STEM Talent Pipeline program this past October, with the goal of furthering STEM education and career opportunities for students in Houston, near its corporate headquarters, as well as around its three refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lake Charles, Louisiana and Lemont, Illinois. The program supports organizations that give students the tools and educational background they need to understand STEM concepts and provides scholarships that allow many students to work toward establishing their own STEM careers.

"With the support of partners like CITGO, Girlstart initiatives – from afterschool programs to summer camps and community outreach programs – have served more than 75,000 students and more than 10,000 educators and families to date," said Girlstart Executive Director Tamara Hudgins. "Recent research shows that Girlstart participants outperform their peers on state-mandated math and science tests and enroll in advanced math and science courses and STEM electives at a higher rate than non-participants. CITGO support will help address the gender gap and provide even more young girls with confidence and skills to make an impact on the STEM workforce in the future."

Through the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, CITGO works with schools, clubs and organizations to enhance students' STEM education and help build the next generation of STEM innovators. In Texas, CITGO will reach 200 high-risk students through the University of Houston Downtown STEM summer camp this year. CITGO support has also made it possible for 150 students in the Alief ISD of West Houston to build remotely operated vehicles through an underwater robotics club. For those students looking to take the next step in their own STEM careers, CITGO has supported scholarships for 50 graduating Houston-area high school seniors planning on enrolling in a STEM degree program. In Corpus Christi, CITGO has created the CITGO Innovation Academy for Engineering, Environmental & Marine Science at Moody High School, providing students with STEM technology, education tools and the opportunity to participate in field trips and academic competitions and conferences. Additionally, the CITGO Innovation Academy offers professional development training for educators.

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