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Girls in STEM Day: El Paso ISD high school students tour Marathon El Paso Refinery

(MARATHON EL PASO REFINERY – Nov. 8, 2022) – Marathon El Paso Refinery’s women engineers took 40 high school students on a tour of the plant and offered them a glimpse into their refinery’s careers Tuesday at the inaugural Girls in STEM Day.

The 19 El Paso ISD students participating represented Jefferson, El Paso, Franklin, Chapin and Burges high schoosl, and the Young Women’s STEM Prep. The day-long event featured a refinery tour, a discussion of the various types of engineers on-site, a demonstration of plant processes and other hands-on and discussion-based sessions.

“We’ve learned there’s such a disparity of women in STEM fields,” said environmental engineer Rebecca Ayala, who led the event for Marathon. “We wanted to give these girls role models and help them understand that women do these things and succeed in engineering and other STEM fields.”

The team of female engineers, scientists and technicians talked about the various roles and jobs available to mechanical, electrical, computer, environmental, industrial, chemical, civil, and health and safety engineers. The students donned safety gloves and goggles for the more hands-on activities.

“It has been a good opportunity to explore the different fields of engineering and see what happens at refineries. I wasn’t really interested in refinery before but there are a lot of cool processes and a lot more to it than I thought before,” said Chapin junior Ciara Winder, who aspires to be an engineer. “As they were presenting information about the kinds of degrees you could get, your degree in engineering could be open to a lot more broader career fields.”

Burges junior Mary Milliron, who wants to be a civil engineer, signed up for the event to learn more about the process of getting a good STEM job after college.

“The Marathon refinery engineers have helped me see how far I can go because they represent a goal I want to attain,” Milliron said. “It makes it easier to believe we can do it and it motivates me to work harder.”

The students also met Andrea Martinez, a Chapin graduate, and Olivia Fino, a Coronado graduate, who spoke about their experience as mechanical engineers and offered a hands-on demonstration.

“Events like this help us to encourage girls to see what’s achievable,” said Michael Rodriguez, El Paso ISD CTE coordinator. “To see other women in positions they aspire to, helps them dig in and pursue something they are interested in. The interest is definitely there.”