Our company, communities and industry need an educated and innovative workforce to grow and thrive. That’s why we work to interest students in STEM courses and careers.
Funding with impact
Today, about 20% of jobs in the U.S. require STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills and training, and that number is growing. Through 2035, nearly 1.9 million direct job opportunities will be available in the oil and gas industry, more than a third of which are expected to be filled by minorities and at least 15% by women, according to information published by API (American Petroleum Institute).
To support our technology leadership goals and our inclusion and diversity vision, Devon is strengthening our STEM philanthropic investments for underserved populations. We partner with qualified organizations that have a track record in STEM to identify community needs and solutions. Organizations we work with include the Oklahoma City STEM Collaborative, STEM Ecosystems/STEM Funders Network and Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, as well as teachers and administrators across several school districts. Based on our assessment of needs, Devon provides resources and materials, and implements programs to empower women, rural communities and minorities. In 2018, our STEM funding impacted 336 schools, 780 classrooms and 875 teachers.
A bold new STEM education and social services model
Devon has partnered for almost 20 years with an inner-city school in Oklahoma City, Mark Twain Elementary School, by providing mentors and other traditional support. In 2019, we committed to a bold new vision for a birth-to-fourth-grade education model that changes how students and their families are exposed to STEM.
We convened a wide variety of local and national nonprofits, private foundations and corporations to this unique venture, including the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Kiwanis, Smart Start Central Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation and others. The group revived rundown facilities near Mark Twain Elementary and placed a suite of new equipment, programs and resources at the school. The partnership includes a STEM center, MakerSpace and a new community center providing wraparound education and social services for the entire neighborhood.
STEM education will increasingly be integrated into the children’s education beginning as early as three years old. STEM professionals will be on hand to help teachers integrate STEM throughout the school. Before- and after-school programs are planned to further engage students and families in engineering challenges and other programming. Through enhanced support, resources and education, particularly in the area of STEM, we hope to show a measured impact against a similar school without added resources.
In the 2019-20 school year, we expect the program to impact about 400 children. In addition, this community partnership – which we believe will be one of the first of its kind in the U.S. – will immediately boost an underserved community and be a model for broad, holistic engagement others can follow.
Mark Twain Elementary School Partners
Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
Teacher training, afterschool programs and MakerSpace STEM lab staffing
Devon STEM Buddies program
Employees volunteering to work with students
Downtown Kiwanis Community Center
Early Head Start
Smart Start Central Oklahoma
Parent resource room staffing/early child education support
OKC Kiwanis Club
The Home Depot Foundation
Building materials, volunteers for school improvement projects
Funding partner/program coordinator position
Through our signature STEM grant program, Devon has made more than $1 million in grants to educators in our U.S. operating areas in the past eight years, including grants to 15 schools in 2018. Devon is committed to helping communities inspire young people to pursue an interest in the STEM subjects by working together with schools and community organizations to enhance access to STEM education. In the Oklahoma City area, Devon’s investments in STEM education have provided more than 88,000 K-12 students better access to educational opportunities. In addition, Oklahoma teachers have been able to enhance their instructional time with students through more than 30 Devon grant programs. We support a variety of STEM programs in our operating areas, including:
- Design + Do
- Girl Scouts Terra Troopers
- FFA & Agriscience
- FIRST Robotics
- Devon Thunder Explorers
- SAGE STEM Camp
- Oklahoma City Dodgers MVP Program
- Devon Energy Teacher of the Match
Our Design + Do challenge, introduced in 2018, gave children a hands-on opportunity to have fun while solving a problem and building STEM skills. Design + Do allows kids to design the playground equipment of the future and get help from Devon employees to build prototypes. In 2018, fifth-graders from eight elementary schools came together at the University of Oklahoma om Love Innovation Hub to create their own scale models using 3D printers, laser cutters and other materials, and then present their creations to a panel of judges. Design + Do encourages the students’ creativity and teamwork, and exposes them to real world technology and innovation challenges.
Female geologists at Devon developed Girl Scouts Terra Trooper activity kits and leader guides to engage girls in topics like geology and topography, with the intention of interesting them in careers in the oil and gas industry. After girls complete each hands-on, age-level kit series, they receive a Terra Trooper patch illustrating the geosciences program. Since we started sponsoring the Terra Trooper program in 2015, individual Girl Scouts have earned 819 patches, 358 of them in 2018.
Devon has partnered with the Oklahoma FFA in an agriscience initiative to encourage students to consider the ways the two industries intersect. As part of that program, students are including oil- and gas-related projects in the annual FFA AgriScience Fair.
In 2018, Devon sponsored the Oklahoma First Robotics regional finals for the second consecutive year. The 2018 competition paired 63 teams of young people from across the state with local engineers, professors and business professionals to solve an engineering design problem over a six-week period. FIRST (which stands for “For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) is a nonprofit founded in 1989 to inspire young people to join the field of science and technology.
Devon and the Oklahoma City Thunder have partnered to offer a program to encourage young people to engage in STEM activities that explore the science behind basketball. Students complete science experiments and other challenges to receive special recognition by the Thunder.
SAGE is a week-long STEM camp designed to create interest, excitement and self-confidence in young women entering eighth grade. The camp empowers girls to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians and computer specialists. Devon’s partnership offers campers interactive field trips exploring various departments within the company, learning what geologists do and getting hands-on experience with rocks.
This program recognizes and rewards outstanding students for their achievements in science and math in more than 400 classrooms across Oklahoma City. Third- and fourth-grade students are selected to receive tickets to a game and the opportunity to attend the MVP Field Day featuring STEM activities. The program is free to teachers, who also receive tickets to an Oklahoma City Dodgers game – where MVPs are honored – and the field day. The Dodgers are a Minor League Baseball Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Devon Energy STEM Teacher of the Match honors an elementary teacher nominated for their hard work in the STEM education field. Teachers are recognized during an on-field presentation and receive $1,000 for their classroom.