After more than two years of being unable to conduct in-person activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, six Torrance Refining Company (TORC) employees joined excited students and went back to elementary school in February – but this time to judge the Fern Elementary School Science Fair in Torrance.

Refinery Process Engineer Andrew Tadlock recounted, “Being out in the community volunteering again was a welcome break, especially for a science fair. I vividly remember my own experience, and although I didn’t win, the competition contributed to my career choice. I love seeing how the student’s dynamic minds work, and I’m happy to join our volunteer team in supporting their education and creativity.”

Students at all grade levels entered projects as experiments, inventions or counting categories that helped demonstrate their knowledge of the scientific process and principles. This initiative also gave them an opportunity to demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness. Mostly using products found at home, the students made unique items such as natural glue using rice and flour, a cake cutter using foam board and sticks, and a homemade projector for phones made from cardboard and magnifying glass.

Fifth grade science teacher Susanne Ahola shared, “I was very pleased that the Torrance Refinery quickly responded when I reached out asking for judges. Having people from the science field evaluate our projects really meant a lot to our students. When the refinery volunteers came to our site, they were very enthusiastic about the students’ projects. They were impressed with the projects and provided positive feedback while collaborating with each other to determine the winners. We are excited to collaborate on more projects with Torrance Refinery!”