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Approximately 40 students took part in the GE Summer Science Academy sponsored by the GE Foundation, where future scientists meet challenges at summer science camp.

Soft SkillsThe Summer Science Academy was held at Oklahoma School of Science & Math. High school students from across the state transformed the science laboratory into a field for oil extraction.

The contraptions they built were made from red Solo Cups, syringes, plastic tubing, and other simple materials, as they designed a way to lift oil out of the ground and to the surface.

The team building effort was part of the engineering challenge in the  annual GE Summer Science Academy sponsored by the GE Foundation. Students who attended the residential camp attended classes, tackled the engineering challenge, and took field trips throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

The simulation of oil extraction using vegetable oil and coffee grounds was similar to the challenge faced by the oil industry on a daily basis, according to Nicholas Drenzek, a senior geochemist at Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in Oklahoma City.

“The purpose of the engineering challenge is to get the students engaged in a practical problem that is central to our industry,” Drenzek said. “This is an exercise in artificial lift. We’ve taught them in generalities what types of techniques we use in industry and allowed them to innovate on their own to see what solutions they come up with.”

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