Rising 7th graders from the Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) in Detroit have first-hand knowledge of the energy industry after a tour of Marathon Petroleum’s Detroit refinery and met with some of the women who work there.
The Women’s employee network chapter at the Detroit refinery hosted the field trip in July for students participating in the GEA summer program, created by the Engineering Society of Detroit. GEA was developed to prepare and encourage middle school girls, particularly students from Detroit, to enter college and study engineering. Every week, the girls take field trips to local companies to get exposure to different industries. This was the academy’s first time visiting the Detroit refinery.
The girls learned about the refinery and saw samples of crude oil, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and asphalt. Refinery leaders took the students on a driving tour of the plant while they completed a scavenger hunt. They heard about different jobs held by women working at the refinery during a career panel. Volunteers coached the girls through an activity building molecules using marshmallows and toothpicks.
“On the tour group I was with, the girls seemed most excited about the salt mine, seeing where the trucks come to load up the charcoal, Marathon staff working on one of the pipes and learning that people were out there working on even the hottest and coldest days,” said Alexandra Lofton, Program Coordinator, Girls in Engineering Academy. “They also loved the marshmallow activity of course even though they haven’t taken chemistry yet. They will be taking that class with us next year, and we will be sure to remind them of that activity!”