LOS ANGELES, Nov. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- To interest students from underserved neighborhoods in STEM subjects, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Great Minds in STEM leaders spent today with about 100 fourth graders at Sunny Brae Avenue Elementary School in Winnetka, where Great Minds in STEM team members, SoCalGas engineers, and college students engaged students in hands-on STEM challenges related to natural gas pipeline safety and renewable natural gas. Photos of the event are available here.
SoCalGas sponsored the program, "Viva Technology Student Day," created by Great Minds in STEM, a Los Angeles County-based national non-profit that focuses on student populations underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
"These experiences show students that we need cutting-edge science to meet California's energy needs in the future," said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity. "We want to get students excited about the science of capturing renewable methane from sources like farm operations, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. Using that biogas both reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and creates additional renewable energy."
"Creating innovative hands-on activities engaged the students while highlighting that STEM is all around us and has important real-life applications," said Rene Amel Peralta, education programs coordinator for Great Minds in STEM. "Students gained new experiences that show how civil engineering and physics concepts keep the natural gas distribution system safe, and how we can use the methane created in normal biodegradation for our everyday energy needs."
SoCalGas engineers and students from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and College of the Canyons (COC), who serve as role models, motivated the fourth-grade students through the STEM challenges.
The elementary students learned how renewable natural gas can be produced from waste like lawn clippings and unused food. They extracted and purified compounds from strawberries to help them visualize how various components are created when organic material biodegrades. To demonstrate some of the civil and mechanical engineering principles needed for natural gas pipeline integrity, the students learned how to build a dome with everyday materials.
The program included the selection of activity winners, and raffles awarding educational incentives to the students.
About Great Minds in STEM
Great Minds in STEM™ is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles County with a 29-year history of keeping America technologically strong through the delivery of national STEM awareness programs for students, parents and teachers in underserved communities. Through the GMiS network, academic, career development and mentoring opportunities are offered to students who are underrepresented in STEM fields. The organization is focused on working to build a diverse 21st Century STEM workforce in which all citizens contribute to innovation and experience prosperity
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, providing clean, safe, affordable and reliable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers in Central and Southern California. Its service territory spans 22,000 square miles from Fresno to the Mexican border, reaching more than 550 communities through 5.9 million meters and 101,000 miles of pipeline. More than 90 percent of Southern California single-family home residents use natural gas for home heat and hot water. In addition, natural gas plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
SoCalGas has served communities in California for 150 years and is committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future. The company has committed to spending $6 billion over the next five years to modernize and upgrade its gas infrastructure, while also reducing methane emissions. SoCalGas is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas, a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative fuel created by capturing and conditioning greenhouse gas emissions from farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
SoCalGas is Committed to Renewable Gas
Just like electricity, natural gas can be made from renewable sources. California produces a great deal of renewable forms of methane (natural gas) from farm operations, landfills and wastewater treatment plants that could be harnessed to reduce GHG emissions and create additional renewable energy. California could produce enough renewable gas each year to replace 75 percent of the smog-producing diesel fuel used by vehicles in our state or power 2 to 3 million homes. And because renewable gas can be stored and delivered through existing infrastructure, it can help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the state's renewable energy goals without waiting for new infrastructure or new technology.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company