Junior Achievement inspires with STEM-focused career fair

Staff Reports
Williams employee and student standing in front of monitors reviewing technology we use to build pipelines.

Mike Pool, a Williams design lead, shows student Deborah Haney some of the technology we use while building pipelines.

Wide-eyed and enamored with an interactive digital presentation of pipeline design, student Deborah Haney watched closely as she navigated scans of existing pipeline facilities with Mike Pool, a Williams design lead.

Pool and other Williams employees spent the day volunteering with students like Haney at a hands-on career fair. The event brought in more than a thousand middle school students to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. on May 14.

The Junior Achievement (JA) Inspire event was hosted by JA of Oklahoma, which focuses on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness for students from elementary to high school. JA Inspire invited industry leaders and educators to participate with information booths and hands-on displays that introduced students to the diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as entrepreneurial careers.

Deborah Haney, an eighth grader interested in engineering, said, “I want to learn how things work and why.”

With our 3D printed pipeline models and engineers on hand to explain how we design them—the Williams booth was the perfect place for her to start.

“Investing in communities is one of Williams’ core values,” said Duane Chalmers, Williams director of financial planning and analysis and member of the JA of Oklahoma board of directors. “Promoting STEM education in our communities generates a pipeline for our workforce.”

Chalmers participated in JA activities as a student in 1987. He started volunteering with JA in 1996, then joined the Tulsa board in 2012. He joined the state board and became treasurer of JA of Oklahoma in 2016.

JA is a key organization for Williams. CEO and president, Alan Armstrong, currently serves as a board member for Junior Achievement USA, the national organization.

Investing in STEM education plays a vital role in building a strong economy fueled by career-ready young adults. JA Inspires’ efforts to expose a diverse career set to middle school students is just one step toward ensuring that kids like Deborah Haney become what they aspire to be. Williams hopes to pave the way.