Submitted by Marathon Petroleum Corp.
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is helping a non-profit science center introduce more youth across North Dakota to the knowledge and skills needed in the state’s growing career fields. A $250,000 MPC grant to North Dakota’s Gateway to Science (NDGTS) will go toward completing construction of a new, 43,700-square-foot complex that will substantially enhance the organization’s capacity to provide hands-on engagement with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for students from pre-school through high school.
Expanding with demand
The number of visitors to NDGTS’s current, leased space just north of Bismarck State College has more than tripled in the past decade. The new facility, being built across the Missouri River from MPC’s Mandan refinery, will have more than five times the gallery exhibit space to better accommodate as many as 90,000 visitors per year who are expected to be served at the science center and through its statewide outreach programs.
“This grant goes hand-in-hand with MPC’s broader commitment to help create thriving communities where we live and work by supporting initiatives such as youth development programs,” Mandan Refinery General Manager Rick Hastings said. “North Dakota’s increasing career opportunities in agriculture, energy, health care and related industries make STEM education especially important to the state.”
The larger building will allow staff educators to expand successful existing programs, such as STEM Zone, Girls Engineering Week, Preschool Discovery Hour and Girls Who Code, as well as introduce new programs to reach groups that are underrepresented in technically oriented job fields. NDGTS will also have the capacity to offer multiple field trip workshops, after-school clubs or summer camps concurrently and utilize new technology to connect with outlying communities.
A roadmap to the future
The building’s hands-on exhibit gallery will showcase STEM-related jobs in high demand across North Dakota’s major industries, including positions that require two-year degrees, four-year degrees and graduate education. The aim is to help students, parents and educators better understand the required paths that lead to employment. MPC’s grant will make it possible to add a 3,500-square-foot, wraparound deck to the gallery’s south exhibits section. The new science center is expected to open by the end of 2022.
“The deck will look to the west toward our refinery, which provides a visual link, but we have deeper ties to this project,” said Mandan Refinery HR Manager Cam Thoroughman, who is also on the NDGTS board. “Our community roots as a long-time employer and the technical nature of our industry give us a special appreciation of the need for this facility and its potential to have a lasting impact on our state.”
MPC is the nation's second-largest refiner, with a crude oil refining capacity of approximately 1.9 million barrels per calendar day in its six-refinery system. Marathon brand gasoline is sold through approximately 5,600 independently owned retail outlets across 20 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, Speedway LLC, an MPC subsidiary, owns and operates the nation's second-largest convenience store chain, with approximately 2,730 convenience stores in 21 states. Through subsidiaries, MPC owns the general partner of MPLX LP, a midstream master limited partnership. Primarily through MPLX, MPC owns, leases or has ownership interests in approximately 10,800 miles of crude oil and light product pipelines. Also through MPLX, MPC has ownership interests in gathering and processing facilities with approximately 5.9 billion cubic feet per day of gathering capacity, 8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas processing capacity and 610,000 barrels per day of fractionation capacity. MPC's fully integrated system provides operational flexibility to move crude oil, NGLs, feedstocks and petroleum-related products efficiently through the company's distribution network and midstream service businesses in the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Southeast and Gulf Coast regions.
More from Marathon Petroleum Corp.