November 2020—DENVER, CO
Great Western helps shape brilliant young minds in a partnership with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES), a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging African Americans and other underrepresented youth to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The partnership with CABPES became a perfect opportunity to advance Great Western’s dedication to inclusivity and partnerships that support the communities in which we work and live. With our donation, young, aspiring scientists and engineers were able to continue their tutoring without interruption.
“CABPES is a remarkable organization highlighting career paths and industries with minority underrepresentation that will ultimately shape the innovators and stewards of our energy future,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs at Great Western. “It’s exciting to see students get involved in the STEM field as it’s important to the innovation and transformation of various industries – including energy.”
Great Western’s donation has directly impacted CABPES’ work with students and structure. Due to COVID-19, CABPES had to navigate the execution of a virtual programming platform. With the help of Great Western, the nonprofit was able to resume several programs such as the Junior Engineers Tomorrow’s Scientists (JETS) program, Math Enrichment Program (MEP), SAT/ACT college preparatory program, and individual and group tutoring through subscriptions to applications like Moodle, IXL, and other communication platforms, without interruption to the students.
“We are in the business of developing future scientists and engineers,” said Dewey F. Brigham, Jr., Ph.D., president and executive director of CABPES. “Our outreach and operational efforts can reach more students with the help and generosity of organizations like Great Western. We are fortunate to continue supporting students in the program during COVID-19.”
A portion of the donation went to CABPES marketing and strategy efforts for intentional recruitment and volunteer appreciation.
“Many of our volunteers have been with us for nearly 30 years, and we were happy to show our appreciation and the students’ appreciation, to these volunteers, especially during the pandemic,” Brigham said. “We are intentional when recruiting volunteers to support future STEM professionals, and providing incentives allows us to continue retaining volunteers for many years.”
There are around 150 students in grades 5-12 participating in the CABPES program, depending on the time of year and type of program, and the organization continues to grow. The 2020 summer enrollment numbers reached ten states. Participating students can work with real, industry professionals through CABPES; nearly all teachers and volunteers are current or retired scientists and engineers, creating role models and allowing students to learn real-world applications.
“These students get to see professionals who resemble themselves working in technology and scientific areas,” Brigham said. “This helps inspire what and who they will become.”
“In the energy industry, we understand how diversity, inclusion, and representation are important to our operations and our work environment,” Fakharzadeh said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to support an organization that’s vital to the growth and development of future generations and a staple to minority representation in the STEM industry as part of Great Western’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.”
Great Western continues to make a difference in various communities in which our employees live and work and looks forward to the progress and impacts of CABPES in our communities.