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Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Presents E-Week at Gentry
 Engineers at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., measure the marshmallow tower constructed by Gentry Junior School 7th-graders, during E-Week.
Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman
Danielle Gore (middle) and Dani Johnson (second from right), engineers at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., measure the marshmallow tower constructed by (from left) Madeleine Broussard, Olivia Adolph and Nataly Galvan, Gentry Junior School 7th-graders, during E-Week.  

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Presents E-Week at Gentry

By: Susan Passmore

Promoting interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), engineers from Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. recently worked with 7th-grade science classes at Gentry Junior School during Engineering Week (E-Week).

The group from Chevron Phillips Chemical discussed the different types of engineers that work in design, production and maintenance in laboratories, industrial plants, offices and around the world. They described the products the Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown manufactures, such as ethylene, polyethylene, propylene, alpha olefins, and what they are used to produce. The junior scientists found out that many of the unfamiliar-sounding products are used to make items they use every day.

Small groups of students competed against each other to build marshmallow towers using only marshmallows and toothpicks. The goal was to build the highest tower with the least number of marshmallows, figuring out the ratio of height to number of marshmallows. Using teamwork and problem-solving skills, the groups created their towers during the timed exercise, measuring them with a ruler.

“They are using teamwork, and that’s important. I also think that this helps them to plan for the future now that they’re really thinking about careers. They are saying, ‘Wait, I want to be an engineer – maybe I do need to start planning.’” said Diana Sosa, 7th-grade science teacher.

The educational partnership benefits the Chevron Phillips employees as well as the students.

Danielle Gore, a chemical engineer who hired on full time in June 2016 after participating in an internship at Chevron Phillips Chemical, enjoys going into the schools to work with students.

“I want to be a teacher. I teach on weekends and whenever I can. It makes you step back and look at everything from a different perspective,” Gore said.

Engineers Week is an annual event, and this is the fourth year Chevron Phillips Chemical has taken the event to Gentry Junior School. The purpose of Engineers Week, founded by the DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation), is to celebrate how engineers make a difference in the world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and to bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.

“We hope by bringing our young, just-out-off-college engineers to middle schools we can inspire students to see themselves as future engineers,” said Heather Betancourth, community relations representative for Chevron Phillips Chemical in Baytown. “Many of the professionals who work at our company experienced some moment or were inspired by some person to be who they are today. If one of our engineers can do that for just one student, then E-Week was successful.”


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