Imaginations are soaring at Jefferson and Sanger Elementary Schools thanks to the combined efforts of Devon Energy, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, EOG Resources and Nuclear Waste Partnership. The four organizations teamed up to bring innovative mobile science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) centers to the two schools.
Community leaders celebrated the unveilings with a ribbon-cutting and assembly atJefferson Elementary School and a demonstration of the high-tech equipment. Students’ faces lit up when tinkering with the tools, which included a 3D printer, Bee Bots, Code Hoppers, Snap Circuits and Ozobots.
“Introducing children to scientific principles and exciting technology from a young age helps them develop critical thinking skills and discover career possibilities,” said Gene Strickland, superintendent of Hobbs Municipal Schools. “The students, teachers and administrators of Hobbs are extremely grateful to these organizations for their role in creating bright futures in southeastern New Mexico.”
Shannon Johnson, senior community relations specialist for Devon, said the company is committed to strengthening educational opportunities in its operating areas.
“Devon wants to inspire upcoming STEM leaders to build confidence and expand their creative minds,” Johnson said. “Through this collaboration with the Ripken Foundation, EOG Resources and Nuclear Waste Partnership, we’re helping students think outside the box and encourage them to follow their dreams.”
Keith Trasko, vice president & general manager, Midland, from EOG Resources said supporting education, science and technology programs align with company values.
“As an energy company, we understand how important it is to introduce kids to the wonders of science and engineering and show them what’s possible through hard work and dedication,” Trasko said. “We can’t wait to see how these new STEM centers benefit Hobbs students for generations.”
Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) President and Project Manager Sean Dunagan said supporting the community and building relationships is a major priority for the group.
“NWP and its heritage companies have given several million dollars to the community in southeastern New Mexico, encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM. We believe that introducing students to the possibilities at an early age allows them to learn through the process of enjoying what they do,” said Dunagan. “Joining with Devon Energy, EOG Resources and the Ripken Foundation on this project makes perfect sense. It allows us to combine resources and benefit the children of Hobbs.”
The Ripken Foundation provides training, a curriculum guidebook and activity kits to enhance the use of technology tools in the centers. The organization has opened 78 STEM centers nationwide, encouraging minority and at-risk youth to pursue higher education and careers in STEM-related fields. In 2020, more than 32,000 children were impacted through the foundation’s STEM initiative.
Steve Salem, Ripken Foundation president and CEO, said the organization’s goal is to help children build positive relationships and discover important life lessons like teamwork, respect and resilience.
“By collaborating with Devon, EOG Resources and Nuclear Waste Partnership, we’re bringing dynamic experiences and new learning opportunities to youth in Hobbs,” Salem said. “These STEM centers will give students the equipment they need to explore different scientific areas and achieve their full potential.”
Devon and the Ripken Foundation have previously partnered in southeastern New Mexico to open 17 STEM centers, including at Broadmoor and College Lane elementaries in Hobbs and the Boys & Girls Club of Hobbs.
About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
For the last 19 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs and create parks that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed activities to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 – 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.
The Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has 99 completed parks across the country in 26 states and Washington, D.C. In 2019, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.5 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit www.RipkenFoundation.org. Follow @CalRipkenSrFdn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Nuclear Waste Partnership
NWP is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. WIPP, the nation’s first permanent geologic repository for defense transuranic nuclear waste, began disposal operations in 1999. NWP is an AMENTUM-led partnership with BWXT Technologies and ORANO.