Support for Education

The Gulf Coast Section has a long history of supporting education.  Perhaps the program that stands out the most is our scholarship program.  Last year the Board voted to increase our scholarship program to up to $110,000 a year by increasing the number of deserving students we help.  Over the years the Section, along with the SPE Auxiliary, has given over a million dollars in scholarships.  This is an accomplishment we can indeed be proud of. 


Actually, the Section supports education at all three levels – K-12, university and post-graduate.

Elementary through high school.  Our support for K-12 education includes several programs.  We provide funding to Community in Schools Houston, which is a nonprofit, Houston-area dropout prevention program based in the Heights.  Sid Smith, Sr. is our contact.  We support the Science and Engineering Fair Houston (, which is sponsored by UH Downtown, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Engineering, Science and Technology Council of Houston.  Our coordinator is Vincent Fannin.  Our support for Recruiting Fairs at local high schools is through a committee chaired by Jocelyn McCormack.  We provide support for Junior Achievement and find volunteers to lead student tours at the OTC.  The latter is coordinated by a committee chaired by Tim Fahler.  Altogether, our financial support for K-12 education totals around $9000. 

University.  As mentioned above, our largest program is for scholarships, coordinated by Rey Saludares.  We also support the Student SPE chapters at TAMU, Rice and of There is an active program to find internships for college students led by Rey Saludares.  Total financial support for University programs is around $116,000.

Post-Graduate.  The Section has two committees which focus on the professional engineer and scientist.  The Continuing Education Committee is responsible for providing ongoing educational opportunities for professional development.  This augments and is in addition to the 14 Study Groups, which meet each month, and multiple conferences and workshops organized by various groups throughout the year.  Continuing Education is led by Diego Narvaez.  The Career Management Committee focuses on softer skills, providing behavioral and business skill development and career information.  This is training which all of us need to advance our careers, making us more valuable to ourselves and to our employers.  Claude Thorp leads our Career Management Committee.


In addition to direct support for education, the Section maintains a Magic Suitcase.  The mission of the Magic Suitcase Program is to enable and encourage SPE members to speak to groups of students and adults about the oil business, thereby increasing public understanding of the science and engineering involved in our industry. The Magic Suitcase was developed to be a useful tool for speakers at career day, scouting, National Engineers Week, or civic club presentations.  Our Magic Suitcase coordinator is Robert Bruant, Jr.


This year we are looking carefully at how we can further improve our support for education.  Your ideas and suggestions will be welcome.  Also, if you would like to volunteer to help with one of these valuable programs, please let us know.