Bringing STEM to the Classes

By Gary Hyde, Business Unit Leader/ Packaging Operations

I have two different roles at the Clorox manufacturing plant in Forest Park, Georgia.

One, my “day job,” is working on a team to ensure our plant delivers what our retail customers need in a timely, cost-effective manner.

The other, which I’m equally passionate about, is leading our plant’s efforts to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) education in Metro Atlanta.

ga-career-day-2

Gary Hyde of Clorox talks about STEM subjects and gives a science demonstration with Fresh Step cat litter at an Atlanta-area career day.

Between our volunteers in Forest Park and others based in Alpharetta and Kennesaw, Georgia, Clorox employees have brought the wonders of science and STEM to over 100,000 Atlanta-area youth since May 2013.

Making STEM accessible and fun

We reach young people with our pro-STEM message in many different ways. I’ve volunteered in classrooms, attended career fairs and hosted tours of our manufacturing process in Forest Park.

When I go to schools, I use Clorox products for STEM demonstrations, like building a lava lamp with a Pine-Sol® bottle or adding water to Fresh Step® cat litter to show mass and density. Kids see that science is cool.

When we host plant tours, I show how STEM subjects are used in manufacturing. We start by asking kids to design how they believe a production line runs. After touring the actual production line, we field student questions. Often, coworkers join a panel to show kids the breadth of roles in a plant.

ga-career-day-5

Gary Hyde gives students a science demonstration using everyday cleaning items.

A STEM-filled Fall

We’ve already had a busy fall in the Atlanta area.

On October 13, I led a career fair and spent the morning talking about Clorox and manufacturing with approximately 1,000 middle school kids. Other groups in attendance were so impressed with our STEM-positive message, we agreed to host two plant tours later this year.

In late October, our Clorox team will attend the Girl Scouts’ Super STEM Expo, which is focused on inspiring young females. Over 3,000 girl scouts are expected to attend. 

Clorox volunteers also participate in the annual Atlanta Science Festival. We visit classrooms, assist with events and have an amazing Clorox booth at the Exploration Expo each year. 

In 2017, the Forest Park plant plans to invite families to join the manufacturing tour to showcase our support of the Metro Atlanta community.

ga-career-day-1_crop

Showing students at a career fair how STEM subjects are used on the job.

A labor of love

Forest Park was the last of the three Clorox locations in the Atlanta area to get involved with youth and STEM. But from the time the Clorox Science Education Team approached me about volunteering, plant leadership has been incredibly supportive of our efforts to bring STEM to the local community.

I love sharing a message with kids that it’s important to continue learning no matter your age. And I love sharing with them what Clorox is all about and the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from many years of work.

gary-danielle

Gary Hyde with Danielle Freeman, who founded the Clorox Southeast Science Education Team in 2013. In addition to her role at Clorox, Danielle is the Volunteer Leader for the Atlanta Science Fair, responsible for 100 volunteer events (and 450 volunteers) over 10 days all over the Atlanta Metro area.

Comments are closed.