Students Thrive Amidst Virtual Learning Environment Due to COVID-19
Today, the inaugural TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy at the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics came to a close. The program, which supported 50 high school students interested in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) majors with the transition to college, was touted a success amidst the challenges of hosting it virtually for the first time due to COVID-19.
“Programs like the TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy highlight TC Energy’s commitment to supporting students interested in STEM while ensuring that we are building a network of diverse talent ready to enter the workforce,” said Melanie Collins, TC Energy U.S. Student Programs Lead. “Through virtual workshops and career panels, the students were given the opportunity to develop skills beyond those learned in the classroom.”
Tynecia Davis is preparing to enter her freshman year at the University of Houston, where she plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry. The TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy enabled Tynecia to gain more confidence in her abilities.
“There are so many influential people that I have met during the program that have inspired me to take my own journey into the STEM field,” said Tynecia. “It’s also amazing to see people who believe in us; it feels nice to have the support whenever we need it.”
In addition to the calculus and chemistry course-work, the program also offered workshops and panel discussions to help the students learn soft skills and answer career and industry questions. Due to COVID-19, the program was conducted virtually; however, that didn’t prevent the students from reaping all of the benefits from the program.
“It was very rewarding having the program moved onto a virtual platform,” said Ethan Arriola, TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy participant who is pursuing a degree in civil engineering. “I, along with many students, was skeptical about learning online and whether it could provide me with the same learning advantages as a class that is face-to-face. This experience helped me realize that I actually enjoy online courses and believe they come with their own great benefits.”
The impact of the TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy isn’t just classroom-based. The program was also intended to empower students and provide them with a community of support as they pursue degrees in STEM.
“I think the key learning that I’ve gained from this experience is how to be more proactive when it comes to my future and how to network for my career,” said Tynecia. “Not only did I learn more about calculus and chemistry but I also gained so much advice about how to survive college and earn a job in my field.”
Ethan’s experience in the program was also very fulfilling. “Being part of the Summer Scholars Academy has greatly shown me how to take my future success into my own hands. Along with the program teaching me independence, it has also taught me self-discipline and responsibility; three characteristics that are vital when transitioning from high school to college.”
The TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy was made possible by a US$50,000 donation from TC Energy and the TC Energy Foundation to the University of Houston. This supports TC Energy’s investment into creating a diverse pipeline of talent in the STEM field, as 86% of participants identified as a visible minority.
Given the success of the TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy, TC Energy plans to continue to pursue partnerships with colleges and universities to better build stronger communities where we work, live and operate.
- Article by TC Energy