Methanex supports next generation of STEM careers

Methanex is proud to have several talented women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) positions working at our company and in January they shared their knowledge and experience with female students from the Medicine Hat area.

The opportunity was possible because of Operation Minerva, an initiative by Praxis SE Alberta Science Outreach Network, which pairs junior-high girls with female mentors in a range of STEM careers in the community.  

“We want to help students recognize their abilities and the career opportunities in our own community, which is thriving in many areas,” said Patty Rooks, senior scientific consultant at Praxis. “In Grade 9, students are picking their classes and we want to be able to help point them in the right direction so they do not have to do upgrading or miss out on valuable opportunities by limiting their options early in their academic career. We also want to show girls that scientists are not the stereotypical nerd with goggles and a lab coat—there is a range of career opportunities in the STEM fields.  So often we hear, ‘I did not realize that career had science in it!’”

This year’s Operation Minerva saw nearly 40 girls from across school districts in southeastern Alberta placed with local businesses and organizations including Methanex. This visit marked the third year Methanex has participated.

“I think it’s important to support the next generation,” said mentor Heather Kempthorne, a junior process engineer at Methanex. “As an engineer, I know this career can be daunting for a student. By participating in Operation Minerva, I’m able to expose students to engineering and help them understand what it really is.” 

The girls were engaged and curious as they met with their mentors and listened to the paths their careers have taken. In addition to learning about Methanex and methanol, this year’s Operation Minerva students were able to put on personal protective equipment for a personalized tour of our plant with their mentors.

“The girls were in awe of the plant,” said mentor Michelle Benson, quality assurance advisor at Methanex. “You could see the intrigue on their faces as they looked around and took in the sounds and the sights: they were amazed.”