Local students learn about oil and gas industry

T-L Photo/GAGE VOTA Sixth grade students of Bellaire Middle School learn some lessons at the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit stations set up this past week in the gymnasium.

BELLAIRE — The Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Ascent Resources and Energy Transfer teamed up to educate local students about the oil and gas industry last week.

A Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit traveled among several area schools throughout the week, using oil and gas concepts to provide lessons in STEM fields, or science, technology, engineering and math.

The MOLU made its way to Bellaire Middle School on Wednesday afternoon for an educational assembly. It is a portable version of a fixture in the Ocean Star Museum, which is provided by the Energy Education Foundation in Texas.

“It’s a chance to show the kids about the industry more, and to show not just about oil and gas but there is also STEM involved and all that cool stuff,” MOLU facilitator C.J. Cisheck said.

The Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit showcases six individually contained stations that feature hands-on activities centered around the oil and gas industry.

“Each station is designed with curriculum-based content aimed at engaging students in grades 5 through 8,” the Energy Education Foundation’s website states.

Transported by truck and trailer, the mobile units are set up in a school’s gymnasium or common area and can accommodate up to 48 students at a time with four sessions conducted per day.

“Each session lasts an hour and a half, allowing a total of 192 students to participate each day,” according to the site.

Cisheck, who’s normally a water truck driver for Holcomb Energy in Central Pennsylvania, was in the Ohio Valley all week traveling to several local schools doing assemblies to inform the students about what goes into making energy. The Ohio Valley schedule for the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit included stops at St. Clairsville Middle School on Monday, Shenandoah Middle School on Tuesday, Bellaire Middle School on Wednesday, Union Local Middle School on Thursday and Harrison Central Middle School on Friday.

Mike Chadsey, director of External Affairs for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, was present for most of the visits across Eastern Ohio last week.

“These visits allow us to engage, educate and inspire the next generation of our workforce by showing the various aspects of the industry through STEM activities,” Chadsey said. “Our message to the students is the gas and oil industry is not just surviving, we are thriving, and you can find a great career in the industry.”

Five years ago Holcomb Energy was contacted by the Energy Education Foundation, asking the company to do assemblies in the Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio tri-state area. This led to Cisheck being the facilitator for the events for the past three years.

The Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit is presented by Ascent Resources, Energy Transfer and the Ohio Oil & Gas Association. Thanks to such sponsors, schools can typically receive a MELU visit free of charge. To obtain a specific quote, make a reservation or for more details, call 713-840-1753 or email meligon@energyeducation.org.

“As the energy industry continues to transform itself in a time of widespread technological advances, we need to make sure the next generation of workers have the imagination and skills necessary to thrive in a world of new challenges and opportunities,” George Stark of Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. said.


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