The Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery presented a $20,000 check to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Phillips 66 is sponsoring SIUE’s Engineering Summer Camp by providing support for equipment, activities and 10 scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need.
The scholarships cover the $400 cost of attendance, including housing, food and field trip transportation, along with materials and supplies. Equipment sponsorship will enable the School to update the robotics technology utilized in the camp. Activity sponsorship enables the School to lower costs to attend the camp, while providing campers access to campus amenities and enlightening field trip opportunities.
“The Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery has an emphasis on outreach, particularly in education that betters our community,” said Melissa Erker, director of government and community affairs for Phillips 66. “With this partnership, we have the ability to enhance the community by supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at SIUE.
“As an industry, we need strong students from all backgrounds. So, the earlier we can provide this type of educational experience for students, the better it is for us in the long term.”
The camp is designed to introduce participants to various areas of engineering, computer science and construction. Campers design and program a video game, build robots, bridges, rockets and hydro-powered vehicles. They also get to see environmental engineering in action.
“We are extremely appreciative of this partnership, because the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery is such a good neighbor, so warm and welcoming,” said Hasan Sevim, dean of the School. “We appreciate their support of STEM programs, not just engineering.
“This is a wonderful collaboration for both entities as we are able to deliver quality programs to our constituencies. We are doing something valuable here. It is so rewarding when a student tells us that they attended our summer camp.”
“The refinery has benefitted greatly from SIUE alums, and we want to continue to build relationships with SIUE,” said Chris Johnson, Phillips 66 human resources manager. “It is beneficial to all as we need individuals with these critical skills going forward. Having young people attain these skills at an early age is important to the growth of our business.”
“This collaboration comes at a great time in our camp’s development,” said Chris Gordon, associate dean and chair of the Department of Construction. “The camp has grown 40 percent in the past two years as interest has increased in all engineering fields. We now have had students from all over the country with applications from 10 different states and as far away as California and Alaska. It is a transformative moment in students’ preparations for college.
“Additionally, our campers have a great opportunity to learn about the career opportunities in engineering, computer science and construction management at a company like Phillips 66 during the camp and get a better sense of where they might specialize.”
Erker also looked to the future. “This forges new opportunities for partnerships as we offer refinery tours, topical speakers, mentoring for students and the ability to utilize our refinery team’s talent to synergize with SIUE.”
The Engineering Summer Camp has three weeklong residential sessions beginning Sunday, June 7 and concluding the week of July 5. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors interested in science, technology and engineering are encouraged to apply.
The SIUE School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and a cooperative doctoral program, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research, and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. All undergraduate programs are accredited by their respective accreditation agencies.