Louisiana donation supports STEM careers
Pictured above: MPC HR Manager Megan Hudson (center), accompanied by HR Consultant Erika Bruce, present a $53,000 donation to (left to right) St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District Superintendent Kevin George; Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School Principal Terran Perry; and School Board President Albert 'Ali' Burl III.
MPC’s Garyville, Louisiana, refinery recently took steps to help ensure the future success of St. John Parish, its people and the refinery with a $53,000 donation to Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School.
“As one of the refinery’s four adopted schools, Garyville/Mt. Airy annually receives $15,000 in support of various education-related initiatives,” notes Garyville HR Manager Megan Hudson. “The additional funding is earmarked for the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Learning Program.”
Unlike traditional public schools, magnet schools typically focus on specific areas of education. One magnet school may target the performing arts; another may concentrate on world languages; and yet another, such as Garyville/Mt. Airy, may specialize in math and science.
“Many refinery positions are grounded in STEM training and education,” notes Community Relations Representative Aspen Murphy. “Although we have supported such initiatives at the high-school level, Garyville/Mt. Airy is comprised of kindergarten through eighth-grade students. As a result, the donation helps spark an interest in STEM education at a much younger age.”
The funds will be used to purchase laptop computers, carts and software, along with Discovery Center and Science Lab resources. Refinery volunteers also will meet with middle school engineering students and their parents each month.
“We want to hire people from the parish, and in order to ensure they are qualified, we have to start them on a STEM-related career track as early as possible,” notes Refining General Manager Tracy Case. “Not everyone is going to a four-year college, and we don’t want to dissuade those who are. But we want others to know there are rewarding, fulfilling career opportunities here and at other companies in the parish. We want to show them those options.”
The MPC-supported Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School’s STEM Learning Program is projected to achieve a number of short- and long-term results, according to school officials. These include increases/enhancements in:
• overall science and math standardized test scores;
• the number of students earning high-school credit hours;
• the School Performance Score/letter grade; and
• relationships between the school and local companies.
• student enrollment;
• socioeconomic/racial diversity;
• number of students eligible for Louisiana’s TOPS Program;
• number of high school students taking advanced math courses;
• ACT scores by Garyville students; and
• percentage of students choosing to enter STEM fields.
In the long-term, dropout rates among Garyville students are also expected to decrease.