Encouraging the Next Generation of Engineers in Oklahoma

Mark Derowitsch, Communications

August 12, 2021

More than 200 third- and fourth-grade students from Oklahoma spent a recent Saturday morning learning how asphalt roads are designed and made, trying to find the “sweet spot” of a wooden baseball bat, and discovering facts about space travel, energy, robotics, and so much more.

Hardly a typical, lazy summer Saturday in Oklahoma City.

But these aren’t your typical students. The students who gathered at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in downtown Oklahoma City were there to celebrate their completion of the Oklahoma City Dodgers MVP STEM Program and participate in the MVP Field Day.

MVP Field Day celebrates student achievements in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and rewards students and teachers for participating during the school year. The MVP STEM Program is sponsored by Olsson and Devon Energy, and this sponsorship provides teachers with the resources they need at no cost to them or the school.

A team of Olsson employees from the firm’s offices in Oklahoma joined in the festivities. Our booth at the MVP Field Day included a lesson on how asphalt roads are designed, mixed, and laid with math conversion facts considered for procurement. The lesson was a hands-on demonstration so students could understand the materials that make up asphalt and explore how engineers determine the mix needed to design this type of roadway.

Students who visited the Olsson booth also received a take-home activity to build a bridge out of blocks and craft sticks.

“Our goal is to provide students with opportunities to learn more about STEM subjects and to give them a small sample of the type of work engineers do every day,” said Mandy Hodges, Oklahoma marketing leader. “We approached our STEM booth with something tangible, so kids could see something they use probably every day. STEM isn’t always futuristic. It is most often applicable to our everyday lives. We need these kids in our industry as soon as they are eligible.”  

Mandy was joined by Elyssa Mann, Amanda Ritchey, Mark Derowitsch, Jasmine Roe, Jimmy Sparks, Kevin Bloss, Kristie Drury, and Buck Ray in Olsson’s booth.  

Several Oklahoma-based businesses or nonprofit organizations are invited to participate in the MVP Field Day by organizing hands-on STEM activities during the two-hour-long event held in the stadium’s concourse. The program included more than 10,000 Oklahoma third- and fourth-grade students during the 2020 and 2021 school years. Those who completed the program were rewarded with a ticket to the field day and an Oklahoma City Dodgers baseball game. More than 1,000 people attended Field Day, including friends and family of the students.

Olsson has sponsored the MVP STEM Program since 2020.

“Our involvement in the MVP Program is just one way Olsson is a good neighbor in the Oklahoma City area,” said Jimmy Sparks, Olsson’s Oklahoma regional leader. “What a rewarding morning it was being able to meet and greet students and see how excited they were to learn about STEM subjects. We’re thrilled to partner with the Oklahoma City Dodgers to provide quality educational opportunities to so many students throughout this great state.”

“MVP Field Day allows us to reward MVP Program students, teachers, and their families with a day filled with fun STEM activities and learning opportunities at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark,” Oklahoma City Dodgers President and General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “STEM education is so important for our youth and we thank all who participated this school year for their hard work and efforts throughout Oklahoma.”

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