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Teachers get education on oil, gas industry

MARIETTA – The 17th educational program sponsored by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program for Ohio science teachers was held in Marietta.

At the two-day event held at both the Lafayette Hotel and at surrounding businesses, teachers from middle and high schools and instructors from various career centers across the state learned about the oil and gas industry from several guest speakers. They’re also learned how to teach experiments easily implemented into their science curriculum. The program was paid for entirely through funds donated by companies in the industry at no cost to those in attendance.

The program began Thursday and concluded Friday, with 40 teachers from across Ohio participating.

“This curriculum was developed for teachers by teachers,” said Executive Director of OOGEEP Rhonda Reda. “We as an industry have to support the educators of our future workforce.”

Reda said the reason their curriculum is a cut above others is because it sets up teachers to not only explain different processes in scientific study but also to direct their students to the job application of each lesson.

“There is a tremendous need for much more energy education for our future workforce, and that’s not just the engineers that come out of a four-year college, it’s our surrounding jobs as well,” said Tyra Metoyer, manager of external mobilization for the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“Students can see the practical application for being good at science and math,” said Metoyer. “It’s about their future career and success in life. There’s more between the gap from working at Burger King or having a degree.”

Because of the success of the OOGEEP program in Ohio’s schools, API plans to expand its curriculum in the coming year to Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas and Louisiana.

“OOGEEP did all of the work to put this together and we want it in the schools in states where we can show that staying in the sciences can keep jobs at home for those who already live there,” said Metoyer.

For Crystal Barnett, a seventh-grade science teacher at Marietta Middle School, having this opportunity right in her backyard was a chance she could not let pass her by.

“It was local and anything that brings opportunities to learn what I can bring back to the classroom, I go for it,” she said.

John Vining, a science teacher from Mount Vernon, said this was his second time attending the workshop in five years.

“A lot of it I can take back to my classroom and I use their experiments and supplies to get my kids interested in the industries early on,” he said.

Also offered with the workshop were both continuing education credits and the option to gain graduate credit through Ashland University. Vining said he took advantage of the graduate credit opportunity because of its affordability.

“It’s a great deal not only to continue my education but it’s a really cheap credit,” he said.

Field trips to Ken Miller Supply on Ohio 7 in Marietta demonstrated pipe testing and threading to the teachers. At Ergon Trucking they learned how crude oil is transported and refined for commercial use. They were introduced to how natural gas is moved through pipelines and they visited a horizontal well site of Triad Hunter’s to learn about horizontal wells.