USING ART TO FOCUS ON MATH AND SCIENCE CAREERS
Julio Gonzalez and members of Latinos Energizing Diversity (LED), an employee resource group at Duke Energy, wanted to do something different for an educational outreach program in Charlotte-area schools.
“We thought, ‘What if we engage students more and combine left-brain, right-brain concepts together on a project?’” said Gonzalez. The group envisioned a collaboration that involved students in a hands-on STEM art project that would have a lasting impact on the students.
LED members subsequently visited three schools – Charlotte’s Morehead STEM Academy, Mallard Creek High School and Vance High School – where they talked with students about various career paths at the company and in the energy industry.
What followed was the creation of large murals by the students demonstrating various aspects of STEM.
With the help of a Duke Energy Foundation grant, 30 enthusiastic students from each school – chosen by principals and teachers – worked independently to illustrate an aspect of STEM on 8.5-by-11-inch pieces of paper. The illustrations were then put on large vinyl stickers and assembled into three large murals – one at each school.
The finished pieces show a wide range of topics related to energy, from battery storage to renewable power.
“The project helps further STEM education, but it goes well beyond that,” said Gonzalez. “It gives students an opportunity to solve real-life problems and helps to build pride in their school.”
- Black Enterprise Magazine named Duke Energy to its 40 Best Companies for Diversity.
- Expanded our Quick Fit program – getting more employees moving across the company.
Challenges and Opportunities
- Ensure knowledge transfer as our baby boomers retire.
- Increase our bench strength by continuing to focus on diversity in the workplace.