SULPHUR, LA, – June 9, 2017 – As part of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline Program, CITGO has partnered with the Calcasieu Parish School Board (CPSB) and McNeese State University to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to young minds through a hands-on learning experience called Engineering is Elementary (EiE).


This spring, several local elementary schools participated in the program and hosted showcase events for students to demonstrate their projects to teachers, parents, CITGO representatives and school board members. CITGO is proud to be a part of this program and looks forward to more culminating projects next school year.


Tomeu Vadell, CITGO Vice President and General Manager Lake Charles Refinery and Interim Vice President Refining, said EiE is a great program that practically introduces students to the world of engineering. “Education is the beginning of knowledge and Engineering is Elementary is a great STEM Education tool to inspire students to pursue careers in industry. This program is leading the workforce of the future,” he said.


CPSB Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus said the school board values EiE and the partnership of CITGO. “We are very grateful for the Engineering is Elementary program and for the relationships that this partnership has established. This program provides opportunities for students to learn concepts, generate ideas, and solve problems that are very relevant in our own working community. We thank CITGO and McNeese State University for helping us foster a spirit of excitement in our students as they look towards their futures,” Bruchhaus said.


The participating elementary schools with funding by CITGO for their EiE programs are: DeQuincy, Gillis Elementary, Dolby, W.T. Henning, M.J. Kaufman, Moss Bluff, Nelson, Prien Lake, St. John, Vincent Settlement, Vinton and Western Heights. Elementary schools participating with funding by the Calcasieu Parish School Board include: Barbe, Brentwood, College Oaks, Combre/Fondel, E.K. Key, Fairview, Henry Heights, J.F. Kennedy, Oak Park, Pearl Watson, Ralph Wilson and T.H. Watkins. The following schools hosted culminating events this spring:


E.K. Key Elementary Engineering Is Elementary Showcase

Third, fourth, and fifth graders at E.K. Key Elementary school showcased their projects at their EiE culminating event on March 27. The third grade EiE project was Bubble Bonanza. During this learning experience, students created a stage show about bubbles for an amusement park. The students explored how bubbles behave and investigated the properties of different materials while building bubble wands. The fourth graders learned that monsoon rains can cause severe flooding that cut people off from important supplies. Students engineered “Aid Drop Packages” for their project that can be dropped from an aircraft, protect the items inside, and are easy to find once they reach the ground. Fifth graders participated in a project called The Sky’s the Limit where students learned that scientists and engineers often study harsh environments on Earth to understand environments they might encounter in space. Students explored aeronautical engineering by designing models of flying technologies that help NASA collect aerial photographs.


T.H. Watkins Engineering Is Elementary Showcase

The Engineering Club at T.H. Watkins Elementary showed off their projects to proud parents and faculty at their Engineering is Elementary Showcase on April 3. Fifth graders made rockets and launchers. They demonstrated the construction and flying power of the rockets and competed in which rockets flew the farthest. Fourth graders created earthquake-proof buildings out of construction paper, rubber bands and plastic rollers. The third graders demonstrated bubble blowers. They determined that no matter what shape the blower was or the materials used, the bubbles were always round.


Western Heights Elementary Engineering Is Elementary Showcase

The third grade Engineering Club at Western Heights Elementary had a Bubble Bonanza on April 5 where they showed off their student-constructed bubble blowers. Each student explained what materials were used to create their blowers and demonstrated their bubble-blowing abilities as part of the showcase.


Moss Bluff Elementary Engineering Is Elementary

Students in the Engineering Club at Moss Bluff Elementary presented their engineering skills at a Bubble Bonanza on April 24. First, the students engineered a tower while being introduced to the Engineering Design Process as a problem solving tool. Students then experimented with different materials to find out which materials created the best bubble wand. At the end of the unit, each student demonstrated their bubble wand and explained what they learned about the Engineering Design Process.


About EiE

Engineering is Elementary (EiE) is provided by the National Center for Technological Literacy (NCTL) and the Museum of Science in Boston and “increases students” technological literacy and the educator’s ability to teach engineering and technology related subjects while providing age-appropriate, engaging and thought-provoking challenges to the participants” (Museum of Science in Boston).


About the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery

CITGO has been part of the Louisiana community for 73 years. Our operations in the state include a refinery, products terminal and several miles of pipeline. Built in 1944, our Lake Charles Refinery is the sixth-largest refining facility in the United States. Strategically located on 2,000 acres along the banks of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, the complex is recognized as a leading manufacturer of high-quality transportation fuels and petrochemicals. As the largest of the three CITGO refineries, the Lake Charles Refinery consists of a modern, deep-conversion facility with a crude oil refining capacity of 425,000 barrels per day (bpd). Our facility employs approximately 1,100 regular full-time employees in Southwest Louisiana. In addition, we employ on average more than 800 contractors and contribute to the employment of nearly 8,000 people through our procurement activities in the area.



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