When Sharon Rankin joined the Houston Society of Petroleum Engineers Auxiliary in 1990, it was a godsend because she did not just sit back and enjoy the fruits of the labor of others. In 1992–93, she took a special interest in a cook book project that included recipes from SPE members and Houston celebrities. Possibly this fund-raising project sparked Sharon’s interest in the scholarship goals of the SPE Auxiliary. (If you are fortunate enough to have one of these books, look for Sharon’s unparalleled Sweetheart Strawberry Pie recipe.) The following year, Sharon, a Ways and Means Committee member, sold more cook books than anyone else and, in May 1994, a check for $10,000 was presented to the SPE Auxiliary from the cook book project. In addition, Sharon headed up the Reservations Committee in 1993–94.
As first vice-president in charge of programs in 1994–95, Sharon contracted Mrs. Nellie Connally (“In History’s Shadow”), local news anchor Dave Ward, Judge Eric Andell, Mickey Herskowitz, and Houston Post columnist Macie Colley. Obviously, attendance at monthly luncheons was very high during this period. More importantly, though, during this year Sharon seemed to find her niche—namely the Engineers for Tomorrow Committee. The tasks of reading the many applications,interviewing the finalists, and arranging the yearly banquet became very meaningful to her.
As Auxiliary president in 1995–96, Sharon was particularly dedicated to fulfilling the purpose of the SPE Auxiliary: “The main emphasis ofthe Houston SPE Auxiliary is scholarship. Monies earned each year are given as scholarship grants to outstanding high school seniors planning to major in engineering or science and work in the petroleum industry.”
Later, in 1996–97, Sharon co-chaired the Engineers for Tomorrow Committee and originated the Internship Program, through which scholarship winners could apply for summer internship jobs in the industry. This time-consuming task served to acquaint scholarship recipients with the job of the engineer in the petroleum industry.Sharon was tireless at the job of establishing the industry contacts to get the ball rolling. This project has proved to be as beneficial to the industry as it was to the interns. Today, the Internship Program is managed directly by the SPE.
A recipient of an SPE scholarship and internship said,
The internship that I received through the SPE scholarship was the most influential component in my preparation of becoming a petroleum engineer. It laid the foundation for attending college and studying petroleum engineering,graduating, and entering the industry. It provided me with a first hand perspective of what an engineer does on a day today basis and that propelled my interest in the field to the point where I knew this career choice was perfect for me.
Sharon has continued her dedication to the scholarship and internship programs in the intervening years. For this, and for her dedication to the SPE, the SPE Auxiliary, and the industry, we all thank you, Sharon!