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Marathon Petroleum Corporation gift puts more students on path to success

Students in the college's PREFACE (Pre-First-Year Academic and Career Engagement) program had the opportunity to tour one of Marathon’s refineries during the summer.Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the nation’s third-largest crude oil refiner, pledged $150,000 to The Ohio State University College of Engineering to support diversity and student success initiatives.

The donation will support the PREFACE Marathon Petroleum Scholars cohort and provide $1,000 scholarships to 15 students who complete the college’s Pre-First-Year Academic and Career Engagement (PREFACE) Program. It will also enable the College of Engineering to expand enrollment in its PREFACE program by 25 percent, to 30 students per year.

Open to all new, first-year Buckeye engineering students, PREFACE specifically targets underrepresented and underserved populations to increase both the diversity of the college and the number of graduating engineers.

“Marathon Petroleum Corporation is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce and this donation to The Ohio State University’s PREFACE Program is an investment in that commitment,” said Rod Nichols, MPC’s executive vice president of Human Resources, Health and Administrative Services. “We’re proud to contribute to the careers of so many promising engineers as well as an excellent engineering college.”

PREFACE begins with a four-week summer-enrichment and engineering-exposure experience that shows students the pace and rigor of the college curriculum firsthand, introduces them to faculty as well as university and college resources, and helps students form a peer community. Students attend 32 hours of classes each week in chemistry, physics, engineering problem solving and visualization, math, technical communication and professional development, including labs.

“The goal of the four-week bridge program is to get students connected to each other, our engineering faculty and staff, basically creating an ecosystem that will allow students to have a sense of community and thrive in engineering at Ohio State,” said Lisa Barclay, senior director of the college’s Office of Diversity, Outreach and Inclusion.

Established in 1977, Ohio State’s PREFACE program was one of the first in the country and served as a model for the hundreds of bridge programs across colleges and universities as well as the National Science Foundation. Since its inception, the program has had more than 500 graduates. 

“Our student success model is built on sound research that shows facilitating meaningful connections between students and their career interests, peers and faculty has a positive impact on student self-efficacy and persistence, particularly for students who have been historically underrepresented or marginalized in engineering,” Barclay said. “The generous three-year gift from Marathon Petroleum allows us to put these theories into practice for real outcomes.”

As part of the relationship with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, PREFACE students also had the opportunity to tour one of Marathon’s refineries during the summer and will work on a related case study competition during the academic year.