On Tuesday, November 11th, our scholars invested their day off from school exploring careers in the energy industry. We visited Enbridge Inc.’s northwest Indiana offices and pipeline operations facilities. Scholars learned about specific job opportunities in the energy sector, while also grappling with broader questions about the role of energy in our environment and our lives. Scholars left with a more nuanced understanding of the energy-related issues our world and nation have only begun to address.
Reflections below are submitted by Nate, 2015 IIT Boeing Scholar senior.
When you think of crude oil, what first comes to mind? Global Warming? Smog? Sadness? I entered Enbridge with a negative image of the industry, as all I really knew was that, on multiple occasions, oil has damaged our beautiful planet.
After spending the day with engineers and other staff at Enbridge, my opinion on the matter has changed. I can wholeheartedly say that a global shift away from fossil fuels is going to be necessary soon, but oil is a bigger part of our lives than many may think. Oil is in nearly everything we use—from cars to shampoo to computers— and is vital to our modern lifestyles.
Enbridge and I share the vision of implementing alternative energy sources ASAP, shown through their massive solar and wind power generation programs in Canada. Until an unlimited sustainable energy source is found, oil will remain necessary.
As always, the wonderful staff of the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy has provided my fellow scholars and me an amazing opportunity to explore the vast world of STEM careers, and for that I thank them.
So next time you are watching the news and hear something along the lines of “ALL THE POLAR BEARS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF FOSSIL FUELS,” try to remember what’s keeping your home warm, what your remote control is made of, and what keeps your hair smelling fresh!
Second reflection: Hernan, 2015 IIT Boeing Scholar senior.
I have never put much attention to the fact that there are miles upon miles of pipeline underneath our feet. My trip to Enbridge has changed that. They showed us that the pipelines they install carry petroleum from as far away as Northern Canada. Enbridge helps distribute a large quantity of the oil in the Midwest. They also have pipe connections that distribute oil throughout the country.
It’s easy to take for granted petroleum’s many useful purposes that make all our lives much easier. From cooking ingredients to plastic bags, Enbridge’s services help our society function. The presentation at Enbridge’s offices taught us about the safety requirements, employment opportunities, and daily maintenance tasks that come with the oil industry. We also learned about the science behind the technology surrounding the transport of oil and how oil behaves while in the process of distribution. After the presentation, we toured the actual facilities. We got to see the large tanks where they store oil and the vast pipelines that are used to send the oil out across the country. We also got to meet engineers and faculty members ensure safety around the facilities.
We learned how Enbridge has worked to improve the reputation of their industry. Examples of that include maintaining record of all leaks, providing scholarship opportunities to students, and offering tours of their facilities to students such as myself. Opportunities like this will not only give the oil industry a better name, but it also gives students a glimpse at a career in this industry.
My experience at Enbridge has given me a perspective of what a career in the energy industry. Getting to see an oil company’s facilities was a wonderful experience, especially since many people rarely get to see the pipelines hidden underneath the ground. I have definitely learned many new things about oil and how it makes life as we know it possible.