Linsly Students Learn The Drill on the Oil and Gas Industry in Wheeling

Savannah Adams worked at a station set up in her school’s gymnasium that was designed to teach her about safety and hazards in the oil and gas industry.

“It’s fun to learn about,” said Adams, a sixth-grader at The Linsly School.

Adams and her classmate, sixth-grader Kaitlin Ortiz, were working at Station 1 that was set up on the basketball court of Linsly’s Stifel Field House. They were among 176 Linsly students in grades 5 through 8 who participated Monday in the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit. The interactive unit is a traveling exhibition run by the Oilfield Energy Center. It teaches students about science, technology and other topics related to the oil and natural gas industry.

Linsly is the first school in West Virginia to have a visit from the unit. Students in seventh and eighth grade spent time working in the unit during the morning, while fifth- and sixth-graders spent time on it in the afternoon.

Called the MOLU, the hands-on educational system is made up of six mobile units that are comprised of four stations each. Students travel around in pairs and spend a few minutes at each station learning, filling out accompanying worksheets and exploring materials.

The goal is provide an interactive approach to learning science, technology, engineering and math while also allowing students to learn about a a industry in the Ohio Valley.

“We’re hoping to get kids excited so they might be interested in joining the industry for a career someday,” said Kelsey Mulac, external affairs coordinator for Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.’s northern region.

It costs about $2,000 to bring to the students, Mulac said. Cabot sponsored the unit’s visit to Linsly in part because sophomore Sophia Stark is a student there. She’s the daughter of George Stark, Cabot’s director of external affairs. Another daughter, Emma, is a Linsly graduate.

Cabot is one of five MOLU sponsors. The other companies are Southwestern Energy Co., Shell, Williams Companies and Schlumberger.

The unit that visited Linsly is new. Although the MOLU has been around for about 10 years, it previously visited schools mostly in Texas and Louisiana, Mulac said. The new unit built for the northeast was at its first school in Pennsylvania last week.

Linsly Director of Public Relations Stacey Creely said the unit is meaningful to some students whose parents work in the region’s natural gas industry.

“They are able to see the science and technology of the oil and gas industry, so it’s not such a mystery to them,” Creely said.

Neither Ortiz nor Adams have parents who work in oil and gas. However, the math and science components of the interactive display appealed to them.

“I like math,” Adams said.

“I like both,” Ortiz said as she chimed in.

Meanwhile, sixth-graders Dylan Lucas and Caleb Dodd learned about hydrocarbons at Station 6. They placed their hands on part of the station that changed color to measure the amount of heat present.

“We both like science,” Lucas said of he and Dodd.

But his classmate said he wasn’t convinced the oil and gas industry was for him when asked if he thought he might join it some day.

“Probably not,” Dodd said.

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