In partnership with Devon Energy, the Ripken Foundation has brought mobile STEM labs to two fifth grade Centers and all 13 of Oklahoma City’s middle schools, making the grand total 15 brand new STEM Centers.
The Foundation and Devon Energy celebrated these new STEM Centers with a grand opening at Wheeler Middle School. School officials and students joined the Foundation and Devon Energy’s President and CEO Rick Muncrief.
Every middle school student in the Oklahoma City Public School (OKCPS) system will now have access to important STEM technology that will help to advance their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills in a fun learning environment. Teachers in the OKCPS system will be trained to teach the CRSF STEM curriculum and how to use their new educational products, like Bee-Bots, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, and 3D printers.
Superintendent Sean McDaniel was in attendance and expressed just how thankful they are for these new Ripken Foundation STEM Centers. He said, “Today is a monumental day in the history of OKCPS. Now, students graduating from elementary school will be able to extend their STEM education and have access to new tools designed for their growing minds. The district is truly grateful for the continued support and generosity from Devon and the Ripken Foundation.”
Andrea Corral, an eighth grader from Wheeler Middle School, is a great example of why the Ripken Foundation STEM Centers are having a transformational impact. Corral wants to be an architect when she grows up, and she is excited that now she will be able to get hands-on experience in the new Center. "This is a really big privilege for us, having this, experiencing this, for stuff like this to be brought to our school, especially once this program gets to high school, I think it will really benefit many students reaching to their career," said Corral.
Getting students like Andrea interested in STEM fields early is significant because of how in-demand STEM careers are in the current job market. Foundation President & CEO, Steve Salem, spoke about this during the celebration, stating, “Our mobile STEM labs will give middle school students the equipment they need to explore different scientific areas and achieve their full potential.” OKCPS Foundation President Mary Mélon-Tully echoed this sentiment. “We know getting kids involved in STEM education early and often positively impacts their professional success and our future workforce needs,” said Mélon-Tully.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has been partnering with Devon Energy since 2019, and in that time, we have installed over 100 STEM centers at schools in Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Rick Muncrief and Devon Energy share our passion for providing necessary STEM education to youth and continue to team up with us to make it happen. “Devon wants to inspire future STEM leaders to build confidence and expand their creativity throughout their academic careers. By continuing to invest in these children as they move from elementary school to middle school, we’re helping them further develop their critical thinking skills and instill a lifelong love of scientific learning,” Muncrief said.