It’s not unusual in the US for 130 students from five different schools to gather for a sports competition. What is different is when those students are building working model cranes from PVC pipe. Welcome to the Shell STEM Showdown, held this fall at the University of Houston.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, all key areas of study for future workers in the energy industry. The middle and high school students who participated in Shell STEM Showdown currently attend “energy academies” founded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and PESA (Petroleum Equipment & Services Association) to address the worker shortage in the energy industry. These schools give students a solid basis in computer science, chemistry, math and physics to prepare them for post-secondary studies and eventually careers in energy.

At the event, students were put into teams and tasked with building a working model crane from PVC pipe. The cranes were judged on the amount of weight they could lift and quality of construction.

The Shell STEM Showdown was in partnership with non-profit group Great Minds in STEM, whose Viva Technology program has been generating interest in science careers for over ten years, impacting over 110,000 students, parents and teachers.

Many jobs at Shell require post-secondary education, and studies have proven that it is critical to energize youth at an early age to pursue STEM careers. The company’s dedication to science education will provide a pipeline of technical talent to Shell and the energy industry, helping meet the energy challenges of the future. Learn more about Shell educational programs, including free teacher resources, at Energize Your Future with Shell.

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