LIT showcases HOT JOBS during free high school science technology camp; applications accepted through July 11

As a young girl, Vicki Rowlett had three dreams: to grow to 6-foot four-inches tall; play professional football for the NFL; and go to Harvard and teach college. She achieved one of her childhood goals; Rowlett has been teaching at Lamar Institute of Technology for 17 years.

Although she never played for the NFL, didn’t study at Harvard and only grew to 5-foot 4-inches tall, she did regain her passion for teaching.

As a child, she believed, there was nothing she couldn’t achieve. Rowlett, assistant professor of chemistry and physiology, is sharing that sentiment with high school boys and girls this summer through a science and technology camp offered at Lamar LIT. The course, which runs July 21 to 25, at LIT is conducted at no cost for students. Classes are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at LIT, with breakfast and lunch provided at no charge.

SteP, also known as Science and Technology Preview, teaches students what types of jobs are available within refineries, specifically in the area of process operating and instrumentation. Funded by the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology, through a National Science Foundation Grant, the camp is free for high school students.

Originally, the camp was set up to introduce females to careers in science and technology, which have been more traditionally filled by male workers. LIT opened the camp to both male and female teens.

The course will showcase science and technology in and out of the classroom. Students will do experiments in the chemistry lab and see the role science and technology plays within the refinery setting, Rowlett said. Students will dress in Nomex, hard hats and safety glasses while touring area plants and LIT’s distillation unit. They will learn how LIT’s three-story distillation unit works and also will tour a local refinery and chemical plant. “This will offer student information and give them insight into what types of jobs are available at area refineries,” she said.

Starting salary average at about $50,000 annually, with some employees taking home $100,000 within two years, she said. “We will talk about career choices and financial gains, regardless of their job goals,” Rowlett. “We also will discuss how much money they can make at these jobs.”

At LIT’s distillation unit, high school students will learn the basics about how a plant works, they will open and close valves and get hands-on training working at the LIT unit.

In addition, students will investigate what life would be like without crude oil. Crude is not only used to process gasoline, but it is used to produce plastics and many other products. Rowlett said they will learn about sources of crude oil, including the use of offshore drilling.

For more information call Vicki Rowlett at (409) 880-2175 or via email at The registration deadline is July 11, and the class is limited to 20 students.