Although women make up almost have the nation's workforce they hold less than 25 percent of science, tech, engineering and math jobs. ExxonMobil's program seeks to change that.
"They take big sheets of this polypropylene, they put it in that and just skim it, right across the top of the water. It sucks up the oil, leaves the water behind," said a demonstrator. If you're trying to capture the attention of a large group of teenage girls...
"Keep your eyes right on that center layer that's where the polymer is being made. That's where polymerization is taking place."
You have to show them. Experts know this is one of the best ways to get them excited about science, technology, engineering and math.
"They caught my eye and it caught my interest," said student Liliani Gomez.
It's ExxonMobil's 'Introduce a girl to engineering program.' Close to a hundred HISD middle school girls attended the event. They could be the next generation of engineers.
"So they're looking for you, they are looking for you," said one ExxonMobil employee.
This kind of hands on exposure helps make the possibilities real for the girls... You could tell they were getting excited about it.
"I'm a hands-on learner so I like to build things and I like to learn how things work," said student Grace Gabriel.
One of the exercises today involved teams of girls building a simulated deep sea oil platform, using just newspaper, duct tape, and a whole lot of team work.
"We are just gonna try to make this one more stable," said student Genesis Santillan.
The teams had to be done in less than 15 minutes.
The rig that was the highest in the end, would have to hold enough rolls of pennies, would win the lesson.
Some fared better than others. But what the girls realized after is that it's the trial and error here from which they learn.
The National Science Foundation estimates 80 percent of jobs in the next decade will require advanced math and science skills. Those are expected to be some of the best paying jobs as well.
Find Kevin on Facebook at ABC13KevinQuinn or on Twitter at @kquinn001
Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices