PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of South Mississippi students got a different view Tuesday of what goes on behind-the-scenes at one of the largest industries in Jackson County. They took part in an interactive event that could spark an interest in working at the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula.
At one station, students used their bicycle peddling power to pump pretend crude oil from a tank to a reactor.
"I thought it was pretty neat. I didn't do too good at it. My legs were a little bit too long for the bike," said George County High Senior Kolton Hyatt.
In another challenge, students put their pipe fitting skills to the test by using only a blueprint as a guide. About 400-high school juniors and seniors from across Jackson, George and Greene Counties participated in a Career Fair at Pelican Landing, hosted by Chevron.
"Many of the job opportunities they hear about today, hopefully, will make them think about what it is that they may want to do in the future, and link it up with those skills that they get really excited about," said Chevron Community Affairs Representative Amy Brandenstein.
The students took turns at eight interactive stations to try out the tools of the trade and the gear. Chevron employees explained what they do every day and the education and training required for each job.
"The process of making gasoline and oil, there's a lot of stuff about it that I didn't know before. It was really eye opening," said Pascagoula High Senior Katelyn Gonzalez.
"It's opened up a lot of opportunities for me to realize what kinds of jobs I can get out there and the kind of schooling I need," said Kolton. "It's been a great experience."
The experience could point the students on a career path that leads to Chevron's largest refinery.
"I haven't decided. Going to this has really opened up my possibility of being an engineer at Chevron," said St. Martin High Senior Jakob Simmons.
The students also took a driving tour of the refinery. On Wednesday, another group of about 200-students will get to experience the Career Fair. Those students are enrolled in "Project Lead the Way", a program that promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields.