BASF TECH Academy introduces high school students to science and technology career

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

A group of Ascension Parish high school students recently attended BASF TECH Academy – a newly-launched, four-day program hosted at River Parishes Community College (RPCC) in Burnside – to learn about technical careers.

"Through our partnership with River Parishes Community College, BASF is introducing students to industries in our community that rely on science and technology in their daily operations," said Tom Yura, Senior Vice President and Manager of the BASF site in Geismar. "We plan to offer BASF TECH Academy annually to help students make the connection between their coursework in high school and how they can begin preparing now for future careers."

Thirteen 11th and 12th grade students completed hands-on activities that reinforced skills needed in technical disciplines and met industry professionals who provided insights into potential careers. The students also toured facilities with a technology-rich focus, including BASF's site in Geismar, the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Regional Airport and the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

“[It] was a great experience,” said Lawrence Brown, from Donaldsonville High School. “I gained exposure to careers within the technology field and had the chance to network with other students interested in similar areas. I could see myself working in a technical role in my future thanks to this experience.”

The Academy is part of BASF’s workforce development efforts in North America to support recent growth and investment in the regions. Its manufacturing operations require a skilled workforce to construct, operate and maintain chemical production facilities across the region.

"The program help expose them to technical career opportunities that will help each of them determine a pathway to economic and career success,” said Dr. Dale Doty, Chancellor of RPCC. “[We] appreciate BASF’s contributions to the community and continued support of local workforce development efforts."

BASF TECH Academy was free for participants and all activities were funded by the corporation. The following students completed the program: Blake Accardo, Blake Delatte, Daniel Dixon and Julian Guerrero of St. Amant High School; Wallace Baker and Lawrence Brown of Donaldsonville High School; and Kyle Arant, Madeline Cernich, Bryce Crochet, Christian Diez, Fernando Garcia, Mason Gonzales and Roberlynn Murray of East Ascension High School.