September 25, 2014
The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) will impact more students across the state through their STEM-focused educational programs thanks in part to a recent donation from Flint Hills Resources. The donation will help fund three separate initiatives including Science @ Your Site, Girls in Science and Meals with Mentors, each focused on expanding STEM education for Iowa’s youth.
“Science is at the heart of what we do at Flint Hills Resources, and that’s why promoting STEM education is a high priority for our company,” said Todd Svihovec, director of operations at Flint Hills Resources. “We are pleased to support the Science Center of Iowa in their efforts to educate and engage the next generation of scientists and engineers.”
As part of the Science @ Your Site program, SCI will travel to select elementary and middle schools in communities near Flint Hills Resources’ Iowa ethanol plants to present interactive science experiments to students to help educate them on various scientific and engineering concepts.
In addition to the school visits, Flint Hills Resources’ donation supports SCI’s Girls in Science initiative. Girls in Science encourages students, especially young women, to learn more about STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – careers through a variety of events and activities.
SCI will host its annual Girls in Science Festival on February 7, 2015, in Des Moines. The festival brings together companies and organizations from around Iowa that are committed to helping educate and encourage young people to pursue STEM education. The festival will also feature workshops dedicated to different scientific concepts. Flint Hills Resources will host a booth at the festival as well as sponsor the Women in Engineering workshop, which includes hands-on engineering activities.
“The Girls in Science initiative has really taken off over the last few years, and the demand for these programs is high,” said Leisha Barcus, vice president community engagement at the Science Center of Iowa. “As an organization, Flint Hills Resources really understands the importance of engaging girls in STEM, and their continued support of this program and others allows us to reach even more young students.”
In addition to the Girls in Science Festival, middle and high school students are invited to participate in the Meals with Mentors dinner, held twice each year. As part of the company’s donation, space is reserved for young women from Flint Hills Resources’ Iowa communities to attend the dinner and interact with high school and undergraduate students as well as professional female scientists and engineers working in a STEM-related field.
This is the second year Flint Hills Resources has sponsored the Science Center of Iowa in its mission to engage and inspire Iowans on their journey of lifelong science learning.