The Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) seeks to improve K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in Houston-area school districts by offering summer programs, including the Schlumberger Energy Explorations Academy.
This program exposes rising 10th-graders to the field of energy through exciting laboratory experiences, energetic hands-on activities and various tours. During two weeks on campus, students gain an understanding of energy transformations as well as valuable experience in basic laboratory skills. From designing and building solar ovens and roller coasters, to operating fuel cell cars and making microrockets, students engage with energy on many different levels. They also get to tour Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, the Thomann research labs, the 3-D Visualization Lab and the BioScience Research Collaborative.
Throughout the program, speakers discuss science, engineering, and the integral role of energy in society, as well as their paths in education. Students also go on docent-led tours and scavenger hunts at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum in Galveston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The program, offered free of charge, hopes to encourage and enable students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM. All Houston-area ninth-grade students are eligible to apply to this program; however, priority is given to students from Milby, Westside, Energy Institute, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy high schools.
Feedback from previous years shows that students increased their interest in careers in science, engineering, or energy. Students also expressed more interest in attending college, especially Rice University. One student said, "This program has affected me because the interactive activities have made me more interested in science. Pursuing science or engineering in the future is something I will strongly consider because of this program. The partnership between Schlumberger and R-STEM has provided an exciting education opportunity for students since 2008.