UTSA, Valero Energy team to educate PREP students
(July 16, 2004)--The University of Texas at San Antonio has teamed with Valero Energy Corp. to produce programs for UTSA's Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP), which primarily targets minority boys and girls in grades 9-11.
Approximately 300 future engineering students received hands-on refining industry experience in an innovative public and private sector initiative July 13-15.
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Pictured are ninth graders and PREP participants Wanda Vogt (left) and Armando Lara mixing liquid gas.
To enhance the educational experience for aspiring engineers, Valero sponsored classroom exercises July 13-14 at St. Mary's University and a July 15 bus trip to the company's 98,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Three Rivers, Texas.
"Our surveys show that exposure to caring professionals and real-life experience fosters an enthusiasm for higher education in engineering," said PREP program director Raul "Rudy" Reyna.
PREP students attended classes discussing the value of on-the-job training and graduate school. Other classes enabled participants to experience laboratory work, mixing feedstocks and crude oil in flasks including creating gas like that bought at the pump.
In Three Rivers, the students donned hard hats and goggles, a keepsake from Valero and like those worn by refinery employees.
In its 26th year, PREP offers field trips with a focus on science and engineering as part of an eight-week curriculum at a variety of private-sector and educational institutions.
More than 10,000 students have completed the first summer phase of the three-summer program. The 2004 curriculum began June 7 and concludes July 29.
Valero Energy is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio with approximately 20,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $38 billion. The company owns and operates 15 refineries throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Valero is one of the nation's largest retail operators with more than 4,500 retail outlets in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean under brand names including Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, Valero and Beacon.