The Women’s Energy Network of Greater Oklahoma announced completion if its pilot STEM program and will graduate 14 eighth-grade students this month.
The female students attend Kerr Middle School in Del City and took part in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics program. They will be graduated at 4:30 p.m. on March 13 at the school.
WENOK’s STEM program offers energy-based curriculum to students in grades six through eight to promote STEM learning and confidence during these critical ages through fun, hands-on activities and friendly competition.
The program is a collaboration between the Department of Defense’s STARBASE Oklahoma after-school program, which fosters STEM education in communities that are historically under-represented in STEM-related opportunities, targeting schools with high percentages of at-risk students.
The STEM program represents WENOK’s commitment to helping young women in its communities gain confidence in STEM areas, which are critical elements for so many jobs in the energy industry, and raise awareness to the variety of career opportunities available to women who have these interests and skills.
“Keeping students in the STEM talent pipeline is essential for meeting Oklahoma STEM job demands for the future. Statistics show that girls tend to lose interest in STEM-based curriculum during middle school,” said Jim Kiser, Oklahoma managing director, Deloitte LLP, and WENOK executive advisor. “WENOK is helping counteract that by engaging girls in these hands-on experiential STEM learning opportunities, and now 14 girls have a new-found knowledge of the energy industry and increased confidence in their STEM skills.”
Kerr Middle School in Del City was selected to pilot this new STEM curriculum. Consisting of 12 modules, the curriculum follows the lifecycle of the oil and gas industry and was developed by WENOK members from a variety of sources, including information generously provided by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB). The program helps young girls understand how the energy industry operates, how it impacts their daily lives and how the industry remains focused on safety, environmental concerns and supporting local communities.
“STARBASE Oklahoma 2.0 has been very pleased to partner with WENOK on this program, and the quality presentations and engaging activities from the WENOK facilitators have far exceeded our expectations,” said Sharon Brooks, Deputy Director, STARBASE Oklahoma. “This has provided a valuable education to these girls as well as sparked an interest in STEM and the energy industry.”
Sponsored in part by OneGas, the program has been successful with 11 of the 12 modules delivered to date by WENOK members and other volunteers from the Oklahoma oil and gas community. WENOK plans to expand this initiative, in conjunction with STARBASE Oklahoma, to offer this new curriculum to additional schools across the state for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Women’s Energy Network (WEN) is an international organization of professionals who work across the energy value chain. Their mission is to develop programs to provide networking opportunities and foster career and leadership development of women who work in the energy industries.
DoD STARBASE focuses on motivating elementary, middle school and high school students to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as they continue their education. Locations across North America serve students who are historically underrepresented in STEM: those who live in inner cities or rural locations, are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance, or have a disability.