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JOHN LYCAN — BASF partners with community to promote next generation of petrochemical professionals

Annually, BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals makes educational grants available to area schools to promote and improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in the classrooms.

Teachers submit their innovative grant requests in the fall, detailing how they will use funds to enrich and enliven science instruction and create positive impacts on student learning.

This year, BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals distributed more than $40,000 for STEM education to schools in neighboring districts.

STEM skills are used to solve the world’s major problems and are key to more careers than you might think. Did you know STEM graduates can find work as health care practitioners, teachers, farmers, top-level managers in the private or government sector and even writers or artists?

And careers can be found in in many fields, including Petrochemicals, Agriculture, Maritime, Logistics, Transportation, Construction, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics.

Most STEM careers require years of education, but students can get ahead of the game by taking high school or vocational courses in science and math. This will improve the chances of finding work in a wide variety of industries.

BASF’s award-winning science education programs and funding for schools across the United States stimulate STEM learning and support workforce development. Since 2010, more than 520,000 school children in pre-K – 12th grade have participated in a variety of our STEM education programs in North America.

These include Kids’ Lab, Teens’ Lab, Science Academy, TECH Academy and national sponsorship of the Chemical Educational Foundation’s You Be The Chemist® programs.

Kids’ Lab is tailored to engage students (ages 4 – 12) in hands-on science at an early age when they are most curious about the workings of the world. Teens’ Lab is a hands-on chemistry program geared towards students learning about college and careers in (STEM).

Science Academy, hosted at the Farleigh Dickinson University in Florham Park annually in July, provides an intensive, college level chemistry and business experience for outstanding high school seniors to prepare them for higher education and potential future careers at BASF.

TECH Academy offers 11th and 12th grade students hands-on activities that reinforce the skills needed in technical disciplines. Participants interact with industry professionals and BASF employees who provide insight into potential careers.

BASF is a national sponsor of the Chemical Educational Foundation and its You Be The Chemist® (YBTC) Programs. The YBTC programs are designed to enhance K-8 science education by introducing the central role of chemistry in all the sciences and in our everyday lives.

BASF contributes approximately $5 million annually throughout the communities where we work and live in North America. Our employees volunteer their time, energy and passion to help these communities thrive.

Locally, BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals partners with the Beaumont Children’s Museum to bring Kids’ Lab to area children and regional school districts. There have been several students from Golden Triangle high schools who have participated in the Science Academy program, and our employee volunteers have brought You Be The Chemist® to students in our community.

Like so many of us have had to do in 2020, the challenges of the pandemic have required us to pause our in-person educational programs. However, we continue reaching the needs of our students, teachers and families virtually via BASF’s STEM Education Facebook page and through BASF’s Virtual Lab.

We encourage you to join us on our virtual and social media platforms for fun and engaging programming.

BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals appreciates the work teachers are doing to stimulate interest in STEM subjects and help students understand how these courses relate to future careers.

We look forward to continuing to offer STEM education programs and STEM grants to benefit local students and schools for many years to come.

John Lycan is Vice President of Operations Port Arthur — Site General Manager for BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals. For more information, email carol.hebert@basf.com.