Last year, SPE GCS Chair Roger Hite introduced you briefly to the Houston Community College Energy Institute’s Petroleum Engineering Technology (PET) program. The program was in its infancy with initial meetings being held by an industry steering committee. The goal of the program is to provide in-depth education and training and award two-year Associate of Applied Science degrees or Certificates in Applied Science for field and office technicians for the E&P industry. In addition, it is expected some of these students may also matriculate into a four-year university engineering program. Either way, it is hoped the graduates will be well-trained individuals for our industry.

In May 2007, the SPE Gulf Coast Section board of directors, upon the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc Education Committee, approved $20,000 in pilot scholarship funding to the HCC System Foundation for award to students enrolling in the PET program. This funding is a maximum of $1,000 per student per year for two years with the awards based on student qualification and financial need. I am pleased announce that this pilot program has burgeoned into a very viable and successful program in a very short time. John Galiotos, professor and Energy Institute chair, and Katy Butterwick, director of development for the HCC System Foundation, presented the status of the PET initiative to our board in February.

The PET program now offers seven different courses at two locations (HCC northeast campus and BP Westlake campus). Enrollment for the spring 2008 stands at a very impressive 136 students, double the 57 in its initial fall 2007 semester. All students enrolled in the fall have continued into the spring. Spring courses include Petroleum Industry Overview, Geology, Natural Gas Production, E&P I, Petroleum Data Management, and Safety, Health, and Environment. A student organization, the Petroleum Engineering Technology Student Association (PETSA), has been formed and is very active with industry trips and other industry interaction.

Your Gulf Coast Section scholarships for 2007–08 were awarded to 13 students—students who might otherwise be unable to afford this advanced education and training, or be steered towards our industry and profession. Please spread the word about the PET program to your family and friends who may know someone looking for direction in a technology field. The full report to the board by Professor Galiotos may be found on our web site at You can find more information on the HCC Energy Institute and its PET program by contacting Professor Galiotos at or on the school web site

The SPE GCS board and our Ad-Hoc Education Committee continue to research new educationrelated initiatives to further accomplish the Gulf Coast Section’s mission statement components of supporting math and science programs in primary and secondary schools, supporting programs at the university level, and sponsoring community service programs. Please contact me if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions related to our current or possible future education initiatives.