Science Technology Engineering and Math
At bp we are committed to equipping future talent pipelines to participate in a low-carbon energy system and to deliver a net zero world. With that in mind, we’ve contributed to science technology engineering and math (STEM) programs across America, donating more than $18 million over the past five years alone.
Why STEM matters to bp
A fundamentally new set of skills are needed to get to net zero and deliver a just transition. This challenge calls on us to invest earlier in the education system and to help inspire the next generation of diverse thinkers, builders and innovators — the people who can help us achieve net zero emissions while continuing to provide the energy society needs. By cultivating a passion for STEM and developing key skills among K–12 students, we strengthen the talent pipeline that produces new ideas, business models and technologies.
STEM Ambassadors Program
Our flagship initiative is the bp STEM Ambassadors program, through which our employees volunteer their time and experience to help bring the STEM fields to life for students of all backgrounds, with a focus on underrepresented groups.
The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for this program in 2020. Nevertheless, bp STEM ambassadors still managed to reach more than 7,000 students — mainly virtually — while compiling more than 1,000 volunteer hours. Last summer, for example, more than 100 of our STEM ambassadors provided virtual career mentoring in partnership with CoLabL, an organization that connects employers with diverse young talent.
I enjoyed this year’s SEEK camp, especially the Drone and Microbit weeks. The projects helped me better understand the engineering design process and better understand what my Mom does as an engineer. When I grow up, I definitely want to be an engineer, although I am still trying to decide what kind.
Meanwhile, through the Sister Circles program, bp employees provide academic guidance and mentoring to female students at the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy in Houston. In January 2020, bp volunteers also hosted an event for Houston-area Girl Scouts at our US headquarters, giving them a firsthand look at what engineers and geologists do in the energy industry. When everyone began working from home a few months later, we developed a series of online sessions for the Girl Scouts to further explore STEM career opportunities.
In Chicago, bp is working with community and educational partners like the National Energy Education Development Project’s Energizing Student Potential program, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy and the Museum of Science and Industry to help close the STEM skills gap.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards
At the national level, we sponsor the engineering prize given by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards. This prize — honoring a Latino student who has excelled in both the classroom and his or her community — comes with an educational grant to help pay for higher education or a community-based project.
Global STEM Academies
Since 2012, we have also partnered with AFS (originally the American Field Service) Intercultural Programs to provide study abroad scholarships for students in the United States and other countries. In 2018, we reimagined and relaunched this partnership as the bp Global STEM Academies. In 2020, the pandemic forced us to reimagine it once again, this time as a virtual program with an increased focus on net zero.
It has been a great learning journey that has allowed me to broaden my global perspective. I have been able to meet so many amazing individuals around the world who I can call my good friends. The combination of our varied experiences to develop solutions has truly excited me.