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SPE Student Chapter Earns Honors

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Erin D. McKenzie
Members from the University of Houston-Rice University student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers at the Oceanstar Drilling Rig Museum. Contributed Photo.
Members from the University of Houston-Rice University student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers at the Oceanstar Drilling Rig Museum. Contributed Photo.

The University of Houston-Rice University student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) was named Chapter of the Month for April. The international SPE office chose the group for their achievements from 190 chapters worldwide.

The organization’s drive to be more active helped earn them the honor, according to Philip John, vice president of SPE and a graduate student in UH’s petroleum engineering program.

“Many of our chapter members work part-time while they are earning their master’s degrees, which can make it a challenge to have enough volunteers to organize events,” said John. “This year, we have really tried to overcome this and make a push for more events. The award is great recognition of our chapter's achievements.”

Throughout the year, the group hosted a seminar on Globalization as well as several technical speakers on subjects ranging from offshore drilling to enhanced oil recovery. There were also social events and field trips to Weiss Energy Hall at the Houston Museum of National Sciences, Oceanstar Drilling Rig Museum, Schlumberger’s Sugarland product center and San-Felipe Research Center.

The increase in activities, along with a push for more membership, helped exceed goals chapter officers set for the group.

“At Rice University, which doesn’t have a separate petroleum engineering program, we have been able to involve students from material sciences, computational math, earth sciences, mechanical engineering, chemistry and even MBA programs,” said Sumedh Warudkar, the organization’s president and graduate student in chemical engineering. “Our total enrollment for the chapter stands at close to 200 as of January 2010 as compared to 130 in May 2009.”

It was the first time the organization has received the honor, since being established.

“The honor of SPE student Chapter of the Month for April is just one more indicator of the high quality of students at UH and Rice,” said Thomas K. Holley, the petroleum program director for UH. “We in UH petroleum engineering are justifiably proud of them. The SPE student chapter is an excellent resource of which all students in petroleum engineering should take advantage. The current membership has set a fine example.”

Petroleum engineers work with geologists to search the world for reservoirs containing oil or natural gas and later designing methods and equipment to effectively extract these resources. At UH, student’s can pursue both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering.

Visit the UH-Rice SPE student chapter for membership and upcoming activities.

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