Students at Robinson High School (RHS) received some help from resident experts—engineers from Marathon Petroleum's Robinson, Illinois, refinery—during their annual TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science) competition.
For more than a decade, engineers from multiple departments at the nearby refinery, including graduates from RHS, have participated in the theme-based competition that provides middle and high school students across the country with the opportunity to discover their potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
"The opportunity for our RHS students to work with professional engineers from Marathon provides them with a unique experience that prepares them for university and careers in STEM,” said David Forbes, a Teacher at RHS and co-sponsor of the event. “In addition, we appreciate the partnership with Marathon as we prepare students for a possible career at Marathon following college.”
The competition traditionally features five teams of four students who work together over the course of ten weeks to complete three phases of the competition: an essay on a relevant real-world engineering problem; a 90-minute, 40-question multiple choice math and science exam; and a building competition, that this year challenged students to build a simulated rollercoaster with just a marble as the car and various other materials to construct the track.
“This is a great opportunity for these students to gain interest in STEM,” Taylor Bartram-Haislip, Reliability Maintenance Engineer at the Robinson refinery. “They spend a lot of time preparing for this competition and we really enjoy watching their creativity come alive in the final challenge.”
Marathon’s engineers volunteer their time by helping to tutor the students and support them throughout each phase of the competition.