HOUSTON – May 11, 2017 – For the fourth consecutive year, CITGO Petroleum Corporation has teamed up with the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to provide select educators the opportunity to explore the ocean and share that experience with students back home. This year, three teachers from CITGO operational areas have been selected as OET Science Communication Fellows. As part of this Fellowship, these educators have been invited to board the 64-meter Exploration Vessel Nautilus for at-sea expeditions in the eastern Pacific Ocean this summer to learn more about ocean science and interact with onshore audiences via audio commentary and question-and-answer opportunities.
The educators selected to take part in this year’s Science Communication Fellowship aboard the Nautilus include Julie Johnson, a mathematics teacher at Illinois’ Lemont High School, and Kaitlyn Lowen, a Corpus Christi, Texas-based educator currently pursuing her master’s in education from University of St. Thomas-Houston.
Lowen has previously participated in OET programming as a Nautilus Ambassador, which gave her the opportunity to learn about deep-sea exploration firsthand. “Through the Science Communication Fellowship program, the Ocean Exploration Trust and CITGO are helping me explore my passion for understanding the natural world,” said Lowen. “I am so thankful to experience the Nautilus’ innovative approach to ocean science yet again, and I am looking forward to sharing my experience as a Science Communication Fellow with students around the country.”
Lowen will join the Nautilus in June, where she will study the ocean offshore Vancouver Island, and Johnson will explore the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in mid-July. Following her term as a CITGO ambassador last year, OET funded the return of McNeese State University’s Amber Hale to the Nautilus to mentor two fellows during an August exploration of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Northern California. Hale is an assistant professor of biology at the Lake Charles, Louisiana university. All will participate in live ship-to-shore interactions that will be broadcast at www.NautilusLive.org.
CITGO support for the Ocean Exploration Trust is an example of its strong commitment to furthering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curiosity among people of all ages through its STEM Talent Pipeline program.
“Inspiring students to pursue STEM careers is important to CITGO, and our partnership with the Ocean Exploration Trust is instrumental in sharing the wonders of ocean science with educators and students throughout the country,” said Rafael Gomez, CITGO vice president of strategic shareholder relations, government and public affairs. “Science Communication Fellows not only further their own education through firsthand ocean exploration, but they’re also trained in how to take what they’ve learned and apply it to classroom lessons.”
The CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline program partners with educational organizations near the company's operational areas to increase access to STEM educational opportunities, including those associated with the Ocean Exploration Trust. The program promotes the importance of STEM education in the socioeconomic development of our communities and highlights the numerous pathways to rewarding careers, including those in the energy industry. It provides grants to schools and educational organizations to support programs that increase student interest, retention and graduation rates – particularly at the high school and post-secondary levels – and those that prepare students for STEM technical and university level curriculum. The program also provides scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. In 2016, the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline benefited 3,000 students and 300 educators across the CITGO operational footprint, strengthening the communities where the company has a presence.
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.