Chevron announced a $450,000 donation to Fresno State on Oct. 30 in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

“Chevron is committed to STEM education in Fresno County, and we’re excited to see the positive impact our investment will have on students and the community,” said Al Williams, vice president for the Chevron San Joaquin Valley Business Unit.

The manufacturing industry relies heavily on continuous process improvement and advanced technologies in the industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, food production and agriculture production industries. To help Fresno State produce qualified graduates who meet the needs of industry companies, Chevron dedicated part of the gift to develop a Process and Control Automation Academy at the University.

“We’re extremely grateful to Chevron for their support in STEM education at Fresno State,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “The academy will enable students majoring in engineering and industrial technology the opportunity to advance their skillset and be ready for careers in the manufacturing industry.”

The academy will be led by a multi-disciplinary team of industry experienced engineering faculty from the Lyles College and industrial technology faculty from the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

The Process Control and Automation Academy will provide:

  • Experiential Fresno State student learning opportunities, including theories, best practices and technologies relevant to the Central Valley manufacturing industries.
  • Graduates whose skills are greater aligned with regional industry needs.
  • Research and development opportunities for Valley companies.
  • Hardware and software upgrades to classroom laboratories directly related to process and control automation.
  • Professional development opportunities in process control, automation and related areas — increasing the number of qualified employees in the Valley.

Chevron dedicated the second part of the gift to Fresno State’s College of Science and Mathematics’ Physics Outreach program — a service-learning course that gives Fresno State students who are pursuing a career in K-12 education the opportunity to enhance their skills and build greater confidence by teaching science in an actual classroom. In return, K-12 students are exposed to STEM through creative hands-on demonstrations. Fresno State students also pass-on their knowledge of the current teaching trends in STEM education to the K-12 teachers while in the classroom, so they can then educate the next generation of students.

  • Provide new science demonstrations to help keep students, teachers and the community engaged – generating excitement for science and inspiring community members to get involved with the College of Science and Mathematics.
  • A new demonstration trailer or “mobile unit” for underserved schools to experience and teach science with demonstration kits developed to teach scientific concepts by means of “hands-on” demonstrations in a fun, interactive way. The demonstration kits are in alignment with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, and Math as advised by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the Fresno State Kremen School of Education.
  • Better community visibility by featuring Physics Outreach program graphics on the van and trailer.

 “Fresno State is committed to its role as a collaborative leader in STEM education,” Castro said. “This gift will allow us to introduce science to more young minds and to teachers in our community who might not have the resources to develop and implement on their own. Through STEM education partnerships like Chevron’s, we’re able to develop leaders who will not only enhance our local and national economies, but also address global challenges.”

After the announcement, Chevron’s Al Williams and additional Chevron staff joined Physics Outreach program adviser and lecturer Don Williams in a series of demonstrations, including:

  • A gravity defying demonstration by lying on a bed of nails.
  • Making liquid nitrogen ice cream.
  • Freezing an onion with liquid nitrogen and then breaking it into pieces, sounding similar to the noise of a shattered glass chandelier.

These are just a few of the type of demonstrations the Physics Outreach program brings to the classroom.

“Such a thrilling opportunity to see how our donation will be implemented,” Williams said. “These are certainly the type of demonstrations that bring excitement to the classroom and will expose many more students to the world of STEM.”

For more information, contact Tom Uribes at or 559.246.1717.


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