Chevron donates $125,000 to Grand Junction center for youth program

Chevron has announced it will donate $125,000 to a math and science center based in Grand Junction to help high school students explore topics related to energy.

The John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado plans to launch a youth policy program in partnership with local high schools and state institutions of higher learning as well as tap other regional and national resources.

“The Chevron grant is one of the largest ever received by the center and will allow us to work with young adults on current science-based issues that enlist and build their critical thinking skills,” said Teresa Coons, executive director of the center.

Michael DeBerry, Rocky Mountain area manager for Chevron, said: “The mission of the center and this new program directly align with Chevron’s interest in improving our youth’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Equally important is developing their capabilities in critical thinking, evaluation, negotiation and conflict resolution — all of which are essential to making informed decisions about critical issues of our time.”

The Chevron grant is part of a company effort dubbed “Initiative Triple E” for engage, execute empower. Chevron awarded a total of more than $1.8 million to 18 organizations around the globe. The John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado was one of only two North American organizations to receive grants.

The center expects to recruit its first youth policy class this fall and begin the program early next year.  Junior and senior high school students living in Mesa County are eligible for the program whether they’re attending public schools, private and charter schools or home school programs. Interested students will be asked to fill out and submit applications available from the center or its website Applicants will be interviewed by center staff and a community advisory committee. Students will be selected for the program based on their interest, current academic status and willingness to make a significant commitment of time to the program.

Students in the program will hear speakers on energy topics, conduct their own research, take field trips, debate with one another and make presentations on the topic.  Coons plans to open some of the presentations by experts and students to the public. The final product will be a group consensus paper that represents a policy position from the group.

Located at 2660 Unaweep Ave., the John McConnell Math and Science Center offers displays, lessons and demonstrations on a wide range of math and science subjects. The Center also assists teachers develop classroom instruction and conducts a classroom outreach program around the Western Slope.