Jackson State University Hosts Award-Winning STEM Camp Focused on Carbon Capture and Storage

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 6/4/2024, 1:46 p.m.
Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi’s only urban research institution, has partnered with Rice University, a leading national research university, to …
JSU President Marcus Thompson, Ph.D. “ (Charles A. Smith/University Communications) Charles A. Smith

Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi’s only urban research institution, has partnered with Rice University, a leading national research university, to encourage students from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The joint initiative, aimed at fostering STEM excellence and equity, is highlighted by the university’s dynamic 2024 summer camp program, in collaboration with Rice’s Tapia STEM Camp and sponsored by ExxonMobil.

Empowering Future Generations

Hosted by JSU’s Office of the President and the university’s TRIO programs led by Mitchell Shears, Ed.D., Associate Vice President of Student Success and Executive Director of Title III, the camp seeks to inspire future generations to follow their STEM passions. “I am proud of our dedicated staff for providing the highest quality education not only for our college students but for the youth in our community through this camp,” said JSU President Marcus Thompson, Ph.D. “The skills that will be developed over the summer will leave a lasting impression on these campers, and I hope it will inspire them to continue their STEM education so they can make a lasting impression on the world someday.”

Hands-On Learning Experience

From June 3-7, 2024, 60 high school students (rising ninth to twelfth graders) will engage in hands-on projects and presentations focused on carbon capture and storage. This immersive learning experience will help students understand the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and its transportation to specially designated sites with the right geological properties for permanent, underground storage. Activities include building a model of an underground reservoir using household items like Play-Doh™, pasta, and beans to simulate porous and impermeable rock layers, and using water and vegetable oil to demonstrate carbon injection and storage.

photo  ExxonMobil Pipeline Company President Steve Yatauro

Enhancing Communication and Collaboration Skills

An integral part of the Tapia STEM Camp curriculum is developing effective communication and teamwork skills, which are essential for a successful STEM career. Students will work together on projects and present their findings, learning valuable public speaking and collaboration techniques in the process. The camp also provides opportunities for ExxonMobil employees to engage with students, offering insights into the practical applications of STEM education in the energy sector.

Promoting STEM Excellence and Equity

Named after Richard Tapia, Ph.D., an acclaimed mathematician and educator at Rice University, the Tapia STEM Camps aim to promote STEM excellence and inclusivity among middle and high school students. “Education is the cornerstone of individual opportunity and economic growth, with STEM skills being especially crucial,” said ExxonMobil Pipeline Company President Steve Yatauro. “ExxonMobil is proud to champion this initiative to engage and support the education of future energy and community leaders.”

A Collaborative Effort for Lasting Impact

Designed by a team led by Professor Paul Hand, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director of Rice University’s Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, the camp curriculum focuses on teaching both technical and soft skills necessary for a successful STEM career. Earlier this year, Rice University’s Tapia STEM Camp team conducted professional development sessions with JSU camp teachers, sharing tools and techniques for delivering the Tapia course curriculum.

Looking to the Future

“As educators, we want to help open students’ eyes to areas of study and future job opportunities that are important, in demand, and rewarding,” said JSU Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development Almesha L. Campbell, Ph.D. “I am grateful to ExxonMobil and The Tapia Center for helping us teach these students about the incredible possibilities of pursuing STEM education and careers.”

For more information on Jackson State University’s initiatives and the Tapia STEM Camp, visit www.jsums.edu or www.tapiacenter.rice.edu.