Lake Charles, LA ― Oct. 24, 2017 ― Katherine Gertz, a fourth-grade science teacher at E. K. Key Elementary in Sulphur, Louisiana, was selected to be a 2017 CITGO Nautilus Ambassador. In August, she joined fellow Ambassadors aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus to study the central California coast alongside scientists and engineers as part of the Ocean Exploration Trust’s (OET) Community STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Program. During the weeklong expedition, the Ambassadors and OET STEM Program Coordinator Megan Cook participated in a live ship-to-shore interaction via Nautilus Live where they answered questions from students, CITGO employees and community members.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with OET and give these outstanding teachers the chance to explore the ocean and learn from some of the best scientists and engineers in the industry,” said Art Klein, CITGO Interim Vice President and General Manager, CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. “We hope the experience helps create a more enriching classroom environment where students can explore the benefits and dynamic opportunities in STEM.”
For the past four years, CITGO and OET have worked together to provide 18 educators new ways to teach children about STEM in the classroom. This year, the expedition took place over one week and focused on testing tools NASA developed for space exploration. As a Nautilus Ambassador, Gertz spent most of her time in the wet lab, a room where the Remote Operated Vehicle named Hercules collects samples from the ocean floor that are then sent for analysis to Harvard University.
“I am grateful for the support of CITGO and OET, who help teachers like me work alongside elite scientists and take this hands-on experience back with us to the classroom,” said Gertz. “It is rewarding to think that we are inspiring students to pursue a career in the field one day by showing them the profound impact STEM professionals have on the environment through our live satellite interactions.”
In addition to its work with OET, CITGO supports STEM education in Louisiana and across the country through the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline Program. As part of the program, the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery recently awarded collegiate scholarships to refinery employees, demonstrating its commitment to enhancing STEM education in the areas where it operates. By providing local communities the resources they need, CITGO hopes to help build the next generation of STEM professionals.
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.