Congratulations to our scholarship recipients!

Read on for their personal testimonials about the individual journeys and experiences that brought them professional success.


 Haley Cole

Haley Cole – Engineer I, EOG Resources

  • Colorado School of Mines, BS, Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memories from college include taking a rock properties class with Dr. Ramona Graves and being inducted into Pi Epsilon Tau. Rock properties was challenging, but Dr. Graves is well-respected in the industry and taught me the fundamentals of petroleum engineering. Pi Epsilon Tau is a prestigious society with selection based on character, merit, GPA and interviews. Being inducted was a privilege and an honor. I joined EOG Resources almost two years ago, and I’ve rotated through the different engineering disciplines to learn the importance of each group and the impact they have on each other. It’s been a great experience filled with a variety of field work experiences, varied responsibilities and opportunities to expand my learning on valuable technical topics.

The SPE scholarship provided me with financial peace in college so I didn’t have to work or worry about finances. It presented me with the opportunity for a pre-college internship with Anadarko, which was a good introduction to the oil and gas industry. I also worked in summer internships for Alta Mesa in completions, and for EOG in production and completions engineering internships.

My advice to today’s SPE-GCS scholarship students is that internships are key! They allow you to apply the knowledge you learn in school and give you context on which topics are most important and how they apply in the real world. Also, find a mentor who is technical, honest with you and who pushes you to your highest potential. The mentors I’ve had throughout my journey have been integral to my success thus far.

 Miranda Jones

Miranda Jones – Technical Development Engineer, SM Energy

  • Texas A&M University, BS, Petroleum Engineering
  • Texas A&M University, MS Candidate, Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memories of my petroleum engineering education are the relationships that I built with the faculty at Texas A&M. They provided resources for my education, encouraged my love of learning and held me to a high standard. I have been mentored by the finest professionals in our industry and I'll value these relationships throughout my career.  

I completed three summer internships and started full time with SM Energy. Recognizing my broad interests, SM Energy allowed me to gain experience on their business development and completions design teams. I was responsible for evaluating and presenting acreage trades and acquisition opportunities, and providing engineering support to the exploration team. I served as completions engineer on a multi-disciplinary team with reservoir engineers and geoscientists to build integrated hydraulic fracture and reservoir simulation models, and had hands-on time in drilling and completions field operations. All of this has been invaluable at this stage of my career.  

I placed first in the Texas A&M and SPE-GCS student paper contests, presenting at the 2018 ATCE. I served as the Texas A&M SPE student chapter internal vice president and I'm also involved in the Permian Basin SPE section. The SPE-GCS scholarship provided me with a network of industry professionals who could answer my early career questions, and I would tell today’s scholarship students to remember that SPE-GCS is invested in you. It's your responsibility to pursue your academic education with vigor for a cause greater than yourself; treat this scholarship as a challenge to become an engineer worthy of their investment. Contact me at

 Hank Higginson

Hank Higginson – Production Engineer, Endeavor Energy Resources, LP

  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering - 2018

When I first started at Endeavor Energy Resources, I worked as a production engineer in our non-core asset team. My main tasks were to evaluate properties our company was interested in potentially divesting and to assist other teams with special projects, such as new software rollouts. Following a number of months of field training, I became part of the core production team, where I monitor and improve wells to maintain high production rates, as well as work to reduce our total expenditure to do so. Since transitioning, my day-to-day has become much busier, but it's a welcome challenge.

Receiving the SPE scholarship played a key role in driving me toward petroleum engineering. I was initially not sure in what area of engineering I was interested, but after being contacted by Anadarko, and due to having been awarded the scholarship, I was offered an internship. Thanks to the experience I gained that summer, I was subsequently hired as an intern by Endeavor, where I was later brought on full time.

My advice for SPE-GCS scholarship recipients is to appreciate the opportunities you are given. Almost no one’s career goes as planned; there are always circumstances that can cause complete shifts in a career path. Take these shifts as learning experiences, because even if they don't come with the pay or title you always dreamed of, they provide unparalleled exposure to work you may never get the chance to experience again – exposure that can make a lasting impression on your long-term career.

 Renee Omsberg Rosener

Renee Omsberg Rosener – Planning & Base Reservoir Engineering Supervisor, Eagle Ford, ConocoPhillips

  • Austin High School
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Chemical Engineering

I have been with ConocoPhillips for my entire career. I worked in the US, the UK and at our central engineering group as a production engineer and production engineering supervisor. I served as project manager for a company-developed digital well file and production optimization tool. I became the director of Strategy & Portfolio Management, developing our first analyst and investor presentation as an E&P company following the company’s spin of our downstream assets.

I later became an implementation supervisor in our Delaware Basin unconventional asset. My next role was as a planning and integration supervisor for the Mid-Continent business unit. In both roles, our remit was to maximize the net present value of our Permian asset development plan without increasing cost of supply.

In 2017, I became director of investor relations, participating in analyst and investor meetings. I worked with multidisciplined teams for deep-dive investor field tour and information sessions that highlighted the operations and future development plans of our flagship assets. In 2019, I moved to a position as planning and base reservoir engineering supervisor of our Eagle Ford asset.

The SPE scholarship started me on my way to becoming an engineer in the oilfield. I’m grateful for the assistance it provided to offset the costs of university.  

I would tell today’s SPE-GCS scholarship students that the world needs energy and that innovation and new ideas are key to a sustainable future in our industry. Throughout your college career, continue to develop a love of learning and venture outside your discipline and your comfort zone for inspiration. We’ll need bright new minds to solve future energy challenges.

 Lauren McGovern

Lauren McGovern – Engineering Supervisor, Global Well Management, ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions

  • The Woodlands High School
  • The University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Since joining ExxonMobil, I’ve had several unique and challenging global opportunities. I rotated to Angola as a drilling engineer, gaining exposure to offshore drilling and completion operations. I lived in Calgary, Alberta, supporting unconventional completion operations and infill drilling. I lived in Anchorage, Alaska, supporting arctic, cased hole frac pack completion operations. I also supported complex multi-zone completions in the Gulf of Mexico and reporting processes in a planning role. Most recently, I transitioned to an engineering supervisor role supporting abandonment operations in the Gulf of Mexico and California.  

Aside from the notable financial assistance afforded as an SPE scholarship recipient, the opportunity to be paired with an operator for an initial pre-college internship was invaluable. I was able to validate my degree choice before beginning my freshman year and establish an initial network of industry contacts.  My advice to current students is two-fold: First, use internship opportunities to determine which function you like best – and in which you may want to pursue a full-time career – by interning in a variety of functions (i.e., reservoir, production, drilling). Second, establish a network. Leverage SPE events, study groups and internships to build a diverse network.

Contact me at if you have questions.

 Gracey Howley

Grace Howley – Petroleum Engineer, Noble Energy

  • Kingwood High School
  • The University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

During college, I enjoyed the late nights I spent studying with my friends. We always found a way to make it fun, and it made us a family. I held the roles of president and treasurer of the UT SPE student chapter. My first internship was for Anadarko in Gulf of Mexico (GoM) business development. I interned at Linn Energy as a field intern in Brea, CA, and at Noble Energy in GoM completions and subsea engineering in 2015, followed by a 2016 internship at Noble in GoM reservoir engineering. 

I’m now in Noble Energy’s rotational engineering program. I started in 2017 in the Operations Excellence group, then worked as a field engineer in Pecos, Texas. In 2019, I moved into global deepwater completions in Equatorial Guinea.  

Receiving the SPE scholarship impacted my path in many ways. Through the scholarship, I was offered the incredible opportunity to work as a pre-college intern. That internship convinced me that I wanted to be a petroleum engineer. My manager gave me a lot of advice that helped me succeed as a PE student that still helps me today. I got to start college ahead of the game knowing that I was in the right place.  My advice to students is to be active in SPE in college. It’s a great community of people you will know for your whole career, and it provides a connection to the industry that you won’t get from only going to class.

 Tim Davis

Tim Davis – Reservoir Engineer at Hilcorp Energy Company

  • Memorial High School - 2013
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I graduated in 2013 from Memorial High School and was fortunate enough to receive the SPE-GCS scholarship to support my pursuit of a BS in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. The scholarship opened up doors for me in building a network within the SPE community and provided a jump start on my search for summer internships. It also gave me some perspective on the career paths I could take. The oil and gas industry is a small world. I would encourage new scholarship winners to make friends and connections within SPE with the understanding that, as in most of life, you get out of it what you put into it.

In 2017, I graduated from UT and began my career at Hilcorp Energy Company based in Houston. I have enjoyed working in the early-career rotational program in reservoir and operations engineering roles, both of which support the San Juan Basin asset. My favorite college memories are of hearing Dr. Sharma’s own stories of his entrepreneurial ventures – in between his petrophysics lectures, and forming lasting friendships with classmates as we spent endless hours doing homework in the basement of Duren. My advice to current students is to enjoy those times, get to know your professors, and work hard in school and internships.

Contact me via email at

 Devon Sills

Devon Sills – Reservoir Engineer at Chevron

  • Houston Christian High School - 2012
  • University of Tulsa, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was when I was given the opportunity to sit in on a Two Phase Flow Modeling graduate course as an independent study my senior year of college. In my four years at the University of Tulsa, this was my favorite experience—not only was the material fascinating and challenging, but also I was able to take a course from one of my favorite professors before I graduated, Dr. Shoham. Between high school and college, I worked for Worley Parsons researching and looking at country entry evaluations. After that I spent two summers with Newfield Exploration, one as a production engineering intern in Elk City, OK and the other as a completions engineering intern in Myton, UT. During my Sophomore and part of my Junior year of college, I was working part time as a reservoir engineer for Newfield Exploration while I was attending school. The summer before my senior year I was offered the opportunity to work for Chevron as a reservoir engineer in the New Ventures team and was able to gain a lot of experience and knowledge during that time. In regards to school, I earned the Thomas C. Frick Award for Outstanding Achievement in Petroleum Engineering and also the Robert H Parks, Sr. Petroleum Engineering Outstanding Senior Endowed Award, which was only given to one senior per graduating class for all of the University of Tulsa. I was surrounded by a lot of amazing and intelligent individuals, so it was quite the honor to be even considered.

Now I am working at Chevron in Houston as a reservoir engineer in the reserves team and I am very excited to take all the knowledge that I've learned from the University of Tulsa, previous internships and Chevron to apply it to my new job. As an SPE volunteer, I updated and maintained the website for the University of Tulsa Student Chapter for SPE for one year and attended many meetings every year. The SPE Gulf Coast Section scholarship helped with my college tuition and allowed me to focus on my schoolwork. The connection with SPE allowed me to learn about various opportunities and connect with different types of people in the industry. My advice to students is that while you’re in school, it is extremely important to complete as many internships as possible and learn as much as you can. Maintaining a high GPA is the first stepping-stone to get opportunities for valuable internships as it will always set you apart. Ask lots of questions and make an effort to take advantage of all the knowledge that people in the industry have so they can continue to pass it on. Contact me at

 Katrina Schilling

Katrina Schilling – Decision Analyst at Chevron

  • Katy High School - 2012
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

One of the highlights of my time in Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M was my senior design project. The class was a culmination of the 4 years of petroleum engineering that we had learned and it walked us through a development of a natural gas play in Canada; from acquiring land to constructing a rig schedule. I liked collaborating with a team of fellow engineers and working together on a project, something that is very common in industry. The analysis was based off of work that had been done by my professor and it felt realistic. Using tools acquired from several different classes helped connect the different aspects of Petroleum engineering and give me a big picture overview of the oil and gas industry. Upon graduation in May 2016, I began working for Chevron in August 2016.

My first role here at Chevron is a Decision Analysis role in the Deepwater Exploration and Projects Business Unit. I have really enjoyed learning the science behind making complex, strategic decisions and the economic analysis and modeling necessary when exploring new areas in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Receiving the SPE GCS scholarship was not only a major help financially but it also gave me added confidence as I went into my freshman year of college. I knew that a committee had chosen to support me financially and believed that I could succeed. It was a great honor to have received this scholarship and it gave me increased motivation to do well in my classes. My advice to current students is to make the most of the opportunity afforded you by this scholarship. Through the help of this scholarship, you will have access to so many educational resources in university. Take advantage of these resources and sincerely try and learn as much as you can and form meaningful networks and connections. Also, don’t be afraid to venture out and try new things; join a new club or take up a new hobby. Contact me at


 Matthew Steven Tomberlin – Reservoir Engineer at Chevron

  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2011
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was the opportunity to learn from world class professors and researchers as well as collaborate and network with classmates. I have an internship with Hilcorp after freshman year, internships with Chevron after sophomore and junior years, and am now a full time reservoir engineer with Chevron. I have a 4.0 GPA and received the Faculty Excellence Award from the TAMU PETE Department. The SPE scholarship helped to inspire me to pursue a degree in Petroleum Engineering and obviously helped financially to do so. It is one of the reasons I am a Reservoir Engineer for Chevron today. My advice to students is to work hard, apply for any and all jobs/internships (even unpaid), and network, network, network. Contact me at


 Alexandria Kathleen Truby – Production Engineer at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2011
  • Colorado School of Mines, BS in Petroleum Engineering

During my four years at Mines, I would say that my three summer internships were the best thing I did to get my foot in the door with the industry. Because of these summer internships, I had a good idea of what to expect when I entered the work force. I was able to gain experience in three different states and in three very different roles, which exposed me to different aspects of the industry. The SPE scholarship aided me in these endeavors by allowing me to attend an out of state school. Moving from Texas to attend Colorado School of Mines would have been much more of a struggle had I not received a scholarship from SPE.

After graduation I began working as a Production Engineer for Anadarko Petroleum in August of 2015 in Vernal, UT. And I recently transferred to another field location in Colorado last April. I have been able to make the most of my field experience by spending as much time as I can out in the field. I am seeing and learning things that I will take with me through the rest of my career. My advice to students is to make the most of your opportunities and to immerse yourself in the industry as soon as possible. Network, volunteer, attend industry events and apply for internships. 

Jennifer Wisler

 Jennifer Wisler Stewart – Production Engineer at Chevron

  • Klein Oak High School - 2011
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering - 2015

My favorite college memory was working on group projects in my petroleum engineering classes. I have always been interested in team dynamics, so it was fun to work through problems and grow together. You can really feel the energy when everyone is focused on accomplishing the same goal. I was honored to receive the Robert L. Whiting Award, which is given by the department to the most outstanding graduating senior. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the support I received from the SPE Gulf Coast Section, both financially and experientially. I had a pre-college internship with Anadarko in 2011 as an additional benefit to my SPE-GCS scholarship. I worked in The Woodlands in Delaware Basin Completions, where I got to map and present trends to the Bone Spring asset team. This helped me gain confidence going into school and looking for jobs. I subsequently held 3 summer internships with Chevron in Midland, Bakersfield, and Houston. I am now 10 months into my full-time job with Chevron as a production engineer in Midland. I have written several workovers and proactively monitored production, while completing a field training assignment. The field is such a great place to learn, as it reinforces the concept that what we do at our desk has a direct impact on our operations. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me to realize that there is great power in being a part of the global petroleum engineering network, which is made available through SPE. With SPE's support, I continued to stay involved in college and eventually became a Petrobowl competitor, Student Summit Co-Chair, and TAMU-SPE Chapter President. Each of these were great learning experiences in leadership and responsibility. During my presidency, my extended leadership team was very proud to have been named the Most Outstanding Student Chapter by SPE International in 2015. The SPE-GCS staff and volunteers were invaluable to my success, both as the head of my chapter and as a young scholar. My advice to students is to stay involved and make connections with your classmates, professors, and industry professionals. Treating people with respect and displaying hard work will get you through any industry downturn. Keep your chin up and remember you are changing the world! 

Contact me at



  • James E. Taylor High School - 2011
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

There is not one favorite memory with regards to my education. However, my favorite part of my education was being surrounded by people from many different backgrounds and places. It gave me appreciation for different mindsets, and taught me how to work with people from all over the world. I am currently about 6 months out of college, and I am working for Devon Energy in the Delaware Basin. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me be able to spend more time on school because it helped me not have to work during the school year. My advice to students is to get involved in your campus's SPE chapter as a freshman. Attend every lecture or seminar with an industry guest lecturer. If you want to work for a company stay current with their operations by reading their quarterly reports. Read SPE papers on topics you find interesting in your free time. 

Kevin Austin Mize – Petroleum Engineer

  • The Woodlands High School - 2011
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite class in college was the senior project during my final semester. It was rewarding to see how all the different pieces of geologic and lab data could be put together in a computer in order to run a reservoir simulation. I also loved the "Wellbore Mechanics and Managed Pressure Drilling" class I took as a technical elective. It goes in-depth into the latest drilling techniques created to target previously undrillable formations. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped my financial situation immensely. Also, the fact that it is spread over 4 years and requires you to get above a 3.0 each semester is a great motivator to work hard and get good grades. I always knew I wanted to do Petroleum Engineering, so I wouldn't really say that the SPE scholarship helped to shape my career choice, it just made it easier to achieve my degree. My advice to students is to make sure you approach college with the right mindset. You are there to get an education. SPE-GCS is giving you a golden opportunity to help better yourself - don't waste it by getting poor grades or getting caught up in partying. There are extensive resources on campus, and the greatest skill you can learn in college is to become reliant on yourself for your learning and ultimate success. Whether that means putting in long hours at the library by yourself during the weekend, attending office hours, going to tutoring, making a group of friends to study with, or a combination of all of them; success or failure depends on your level of discipline and willingness to grind through the hard work. And there will be hard work - tons of it. Don't overload yourself either. It is better to take fewer classes if it means getting better grades. You will have a lot of freedom in college, but that is also freedom to mess up. Don't skip classes. Make school a priority, and all the freedom of college will be more enjoyable knowing you have your act together. I am currently still looking for a full-time position as a petroleum engineer. Contact me at

Matthew Sasso

Matthew Sasso – Reservoir Engineer at Matador Resources Company

  • Strake Jesuit High School - 2011
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

During my time spent at Texas A&M, my favorite courses were Petroleum Economics and Reservoir Simulation. I began my career in June of 2015 as a Reservoir Engineer with Matador Resources. This SPE-GCS scholarship helped me pay for my tuition and assisted me financially during my college years. The application process and interviews also gave me insight into the industry before I attended Texas A&M. Receiving this scholarship brought me closer to reaching my goal of becoming a Reservoir Engineer and I'm very thankful for the opportunity SPE provided me. My advice to students is that the career at the end of all your hard work in college is worth it! Contact me at

Yogashri Umesh Pradhan

Yogashri Umesh Pradhan – Production Engineer at Devon Energy

  • Clements High School - 2011
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I enjoyed working with my peers on challenging projects in our reservoir simulation course. Through collaboration and perseverance, we were able to display our understanding of concepts while developing relationships conducive to our careers. I graduated with my BS in Petroleum Engineering in May 2015. I had the privilege to work with peers and professors in the UT PGE department. For leadership, I served as a student engineering council representative for UT SPE, the president of Women in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, and the captain of UT's Petrobowl team in 2014. For my senior year, I advanced in all three levels of the BS Division of SPE's Student Paper Contest and won the international division at the 2015 ATCE conference. These opportunities and achievements would not have been possible without the mentors and teammates I have had in the department and in internships. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped make my education at UT affordable and opened many doors for networking opportunities. Some recruiters and peers knew my name due to the scholarship before actually meeting me. I did not know I developed a positive personal brand through the scholarship, increasing my chances for interviews and internship offers. The scholarship made me realize how supportive the SPE-GCS community is, and it encouraged me to not only pursue my passion in petroleum engineering but also solidify professional relationships within SPE. I therefore wanted to work for a company that encouraged SPE involvement and contribution. I chose a company where the employees hold various positions within the local SPE chapter, and I am glad to say that I made that choice. My advice to students is to never stop learning and ask a lot of questions. Discuss not only with those in the same oil and gas disciplines as you are but also gain feedback from others. You will meet people from various backgrounds in the industry, and it is important to gain varied exposure. You will also need to look forward to working with others with different learning and communication styles and put yourself in environments out of your comfort zone. Those experiences will help you grow and become successful. 

Nicole Ancell

Nicole Ancell – Graduate Reservoir Engineer at BHP Billiton

  • Jersey Village High School - 2011
  • Rice University, BS in Chemical Engineering

My favorite college memories all revolve around my chemical engineering classmates at Rice. Even though we all obviously wanted to receive offers of full-time employment, we understood that we didn’t need to be cutthroat or step on each other to succeed. Instead, we worked as a team to understand complex topics, and I firmly believe my college experience was enriched by this unique environment. Receiving the SPE-GCS scholarship was the reason I was offered a pre-college internship with Anadarko. This experience jump-started my career because it helped me to stand out early in my college career as a strong candidate for additional scholarships and internships in the petroleum industry. My advice to current students is to seek leadership positions in student organizations such as SPE that have the potential to provide you with networking opportunities. Don’t join clubs and organizations just because you think they will improve your resume. Employers would rather see leadership in one or two organizations than a laundry list of every group your campus has to offer. Contact me at

Lauren Elizabeth Filaroska

Lauren Elizabeth Filaroska – Reservoir/Evaluations Engineer at Zenergy, Inc.

  • Jersey Village High School - 2011
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Majoring in Petroleum Engineering from The University of Texas was the best of both worlds – there were the luxuries of a large university accompanied with the comprehensive environment of small class sizes. But, my favorite memory of it all was how the petroleum majors became like family, which made the challenging classes a little less tough, group studying more enjoyable, teachers less intimidating, and overall the subject matter much more interesting. I am currently working for a small E&P company in Houston, TX. My official title is Reservoir & Evaluations Engineer, but I have been fortunate enough to be able to work hand-in-hand with several other disciplines, including Operations, Completions, Production and even Geology, allowing me to utilize many of the concepts taught in school. Before and during college, I held several internships with other E&P companies and also with a mineral interest acquisitions company. I earned my EIT Certificate in June 2014 and plan on working towards my Professional Engineering License after a few more years of experience. Receiving the SPE-GCS Scholarship, especially the accompanying internship opportunity, gave me the chance to thoroughly understand the petroleum engineering profession and ensure that majoring in Petroleum Engineering was the right decision for me. It was also a constant reminder that there were people supporting my scholastic goals and that they believed enough in me and my potential to assistance financially. My advice to students is do not give up on yourself. Contact me at


Jay Bowling – Reservoir Engineer at Chevron

  • Cypress Woods High School - 2010
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I have been with Chevron full-time in Houston for about 18 months. I began working as a reservoir engineer on legacy waterflood assets in Oklahoma, and have since transitioned to our East Texas asset development team, focused on developing our tight/shale gas acreage in the Carthage field area. The SPE scholarship led to my first internship with Chevron before my freshman year at UT. This early exposure to the industry solidified my choice to pursue oil and gas through petroleum engineering. The continued internship experiences with Chevron throughout my college years aided my progress through my degree, and my classes left me well-prepared to bring more skills to the table each summer. My advice to students is to stay curious, both in school and during your internships, but also after you begin working full-time. Continuously look for ways to expand your knowledge and skill set, even if a topic seems like it's outside of your current scope. Contact me at


Alex Bernhard - Petroleum Engineer at EOG Resources

  • Cypress Creek High School - 2010
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was Summer Internships. Post graduation, my career has consisted of participating in the EIT or engineer in training program at EOG Resources. I have been given the opportunity to experience the four primary disciplines of petroleum engineering (reservoir, completions, drilling, and production) and am about to find my niche in one of those as a full time engineer. The SPE scholarship allowed me to focus primarily on school and get me further engaged in the petroleum world. The scholarship assisted me financially enough that I was able to avoid working part or full time during the semester; only oil and gas related internships during the summers. My advice to students is to never say no to an opportunity, even if it is out of your comfort zone. I have met many people that have encountered things like field time or additional projects as "paying your dues", but that is not the case. Nine times out of ten any work offered or forwarded to you will be for your benefit. Contact me at

 Robert Sauermann

Rob Sauermann, Associate at Pegasus Capital Advisors

  • Memorial High School - 2010
  • Harvard University

My favorite college memory was conducting geologic research in Death Valley and Mongolia. I am New York based, and have previously worked within the Chemicals Investment Banking Group at Credit Suisse. Today, I work at Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm focused on providing strategic growth capital to middle-market companies focused on global resource scarcity, including energy, food, water and wellness. The SPE scholarship encouraged me to focus on combining my economics degree with geology and climate science. Having a hard science background has helped me tremendously in the world of finance, and gives me a perspective that not many of my peers have -- particularly in my interactions with portfolio companies. I would encourage current students to pursue interests and passions that complement their engineering degree, rather than being entirely focused on developing a hard skill set (which is also important!). Being well rounded helps tremendously in the workplace. Contact me at



  • Jersey Village High School - 2010
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memory with respect to my education would be just working together with my fellow students on projects and forming a bond between our whole class and being able to help each other learn and succeed. So far I've been a Drilling Engineer for Occidental Petroleum and I've been rotating out in the Permian Basin, shadowing out on our rigs and learning about the rig operations and different aspects of drilling. Currently I have moved into the role of a night Drillsite Manager, responsible for managing the operations on the rig and drilling wells safely and economically. Obviously the SPE-GCS scholarship helped with paying for college and continuing my education. It also allowed me to having the opportunity to be part of a pre-college internship with Anadarko that introduced me to the Oil & Gas Industry. My advice to students is don't take any opportunities for granted. 

 Michael Welch

Michael Welch - Planning Manager at Marathon Oil Corporation

  • Deer Park High School - 2010
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Tulane University - MBA

When I was a junior in high school, I was fortunate to have found my way to an offshore oil and gas career fair in the Houston area. The complexity and technology involved in the construction of offshore facilities instantly drew my interest. It was at this event where I met my first petroleum engineer, Baljit Singh. Mr. Singh was very generous with his time and let me visit the FMC office to learn more about his job. This sealed the deal for my future, I was determined to become a petroleum engineer.

A year later, with graduation approaching, I was blessed to receive an SPE-GCS scholarship. Coming from a family of limited means, the generosity of the local section made a significant impact on my ability to make ends meet at Texas A&M University. To everyone in SPE who has offered their time, advice, or financial support to the next generation entering the oil industry, thank you so much for your goodwill!

It has been 13 years since I graduated as a petroleum engineer. My time in the oil industry has exceeded all of my expectations. I've been able to live all over the United States, even overseas, working in reservoir engineering, production engineering, facilities design, finance, business development, and now planning. Every day I get to work on challenging projects and work with others just as passionate as myself. I'll always be grateful to those who opened my eyes to this profession and to SPE for opening the door to me through their scholarship. 


Ryan William Van Howe - Asset Engineer at Linn Energy

  • Woodlands College Park High School - 2009
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was Drilling class, probably one of my favorite classes throughout college. I have worked 2.5 years and have been an asset engineer over 3 different areas. I have been able to work on many different kinds of wells and have improved significantly since I started. I knew I wanted to be a Petroleum engineer before I got the scholarship, so it did not change any decisions but it definitely made college easier to afford. My advice to students is to work hard in class, but have fun in college too. There is more to life than getting perfect grades and you will only experience college once. Contact me at

Julie Anne Fogarty

Julie Anne Fogarty - NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Stanford University

  • Klein Oak High School – 2009
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Chemical Engineering
  • Stanford University, Masters in Chemical Engineering
  • Stanford University, PhD in Chemical Engineering in progress

I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and am excited about the biological applications of chemical engineering. I spent two years working for Dr. Jennifer A. Maynard at the University of Texas at Austin in the Chemical Engineering Department. I also interned with Merck in their Manufacturing Division for two summers as an undergraduate student and was a Merck Engineering and Technology Fellow. As an undergraduate, I served as the Vice President External for the UT Chapter of AIChE for two years and the Service Chair of the organization for one year. In addition, I served as President, Vice President, and Service Chair for the Epsilon Chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon. It is hard to pin down a single favorite memory from college. The faculty, staff, and students in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin are incredible, and every day with them is special. I think the memories that have stuck most closely with me are all of the late nights working on Plant Design, Transport Phenomena, Reactor, etc. with my peers. We bonded over our struggles and created some of the most ridiculous, sleep deprivation induced games imaginable! Scholarships like the SPE scholarship are invaluable because they lessened the financial burden of my education, thereby allowing me to take full advantage of all that college had to offer by allowing me to focus on exploring career opportunities rather than focusing on financing my education. My advice to students is that your undergraduate education is the time of your life! You are going to meet your future colleagues, best friends, and invaluable mentors while you are in college. Take advantage to every opportunity given to you, and don't take your education experience for granted. As a Chemical Engineering student at UT Austin, I discovered a passion for Biotechnology and moved from the oil and gas arena to the protein pharmaceutical arena. I am currently at Stanford University pursuing my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering where I work for Prof. James R. Swartz on developing a novel HIV vaccine in collaboration with Prof. Peter S. Kim. 



  • Dayton High School - 2009
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Texas A&M, especially Petroleum Engineering department, does an excellent job of using labs to explain concepts in a tangible way. The labs are what made the conceptual study in the classroom stick. I graduated in May of 2013 and have now worked for M&H Energy Services two and a half years. My primary focus has been on offshore facilities maintenance and development for various companies, both in the Gulf of Mexico and internationally in Equatorial Guinea. Receiving the SPE scholarship was one of the reasons I chose to pursue a degree in Petroleum Engineering and ultimately work in the Oil and Gas business. The scholarship helped me be able to attend the best university for Petroleum Engineering and thus prepare me for the young, but so far successful, career I've had to this point. My advice to students is Carpe Diem - seize the day. College is a wonderful time of transition and growing and learning, and you should take every opportunity you have to embrace it all, enjoy it, and learn everything you can while you can. There should never be a day go by that you don't learn something new. 



  • Magnolia High School - 2009
  • Texas Tech University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

During my senior year at Texas Tech University, we had the opportunity to travel to Midland, TX to get exposure to real life applications of what we learned in class. After two summers of interning with a company, I was blessed to receive a full-time offer. I completed a rotational engineering role which exposed me to the field operations in productions, completions, and drilling before settling into a reservoir engineering role. During my short three-year career thus far, I have been able to take on meaningful projects that add value to the company. Receiving the SPE scholarship helped me be able to complete my studies in Petroleum Engineering. Due to the exposure of SPE prior to starting college, it made me want to get involved with the SPE student chapter at TTU. I quickly became friends with many of my peers, listened to many professionals talk about their careers, and realized that the oil and gas industry was where I wanted to be. My advice to current students is that perseverance is key in this cyclical industry. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and always remain a student of your industry. 

Oliver wilson

Oliver John Wilson - Real Time Reservoir Management Program Manager at Chevron

  • Marine Military Academy - 2009
  • University of Tulsa, BS in Petroleum Engineering - 2013

My favorite memory from my college years with respect to my education has to be the time I spent with four friends coding our Reservoir Simulation Software package. The course was taught by Dr. Albert Reynolds and required each student to code (in C++ or Fortran) a fully implicit, 3D, and two phase simulator from scratch. I was the only undergraduate in the class and spent countless hours with the graduate students learning how to code and debug the software. During our breaks we would set up some LAN videogame sessions, which were a blast! To this day I stay in contact with my four friends from the class, and some of them are even coming to my wedding. The aspects of simulation that I learned during this course really set me up well for my first role at Chevron as a reservoir simulation engineer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

I graduated from the University of Tulsa about three years ago. Since then, I have held two positions at Chevron. The first one was working as a lead engineer for a major capital project at a top tier asset in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The project has successfully been moved to field in development, which is a big achievement for not only me, but also for Chevron. My second role, which is my current position, is working as the Real-Time Reservoir Management (RTRM) Program Manager. This role is very unique because it ties many IT aspects with engineering components. We use automated workflows via models to calculate well rates; automatically update production history in simulation models; and will soon allow for system network optimization. RTRM has enabled a lot of production for our deepwater Gulf of Mexico assets, and will continue to do so!

My most notable SPE position has to be my time as SPE student chapter president at the University of Tulsa. The SPE scholarship was a very important contributing factor to me achieving my degree at the University of Tulsa. When I accepted the entry to the University, I was not going to receive financial support from my family, so it was very important for me to apply for scholarships. My financial situation resulted in me being listed as a non-traditional student. As a result, I am very thankful to the SPE for enabling my education at the University of Tulsa.

My advice to today’s SPE-GCS students would be to continue to learn. Even if you are a veteran in industry, there is always something new to learn. There are no identical fields; each field has its unique challenges. Petroleum engineering is one of the few disciplines where the more diverse your prior experiences have been, the more qualified you are to senior positions. Make sure to try out drilling, production, and reservoir engineering to help round you out as an engineer. This works for both the technical and management career ladders.

Contact me at

Michael Adam Schwarz - Production Engineer Lead at Extraction Oil and Gas

  • Kingwood High School - 2009
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Knowing I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become an engineer, the next step was deciding what engineering discipline to pursue. After meeting with industry professionals as well as the petroleum engineering deans at The University of Texas and Texas A&M, I decided on petroleum engineering.

Being awarded the SPE-GCS Scholarship provided me the opportunity to secure an internship with Anadarko Petroleum before heading to UT. I worked in a reservoir/geology capacity for two offshore platforms. The following summer, I had a field internship in Colorado, again with Anadarko. Next, I interned with Apache Corporation in West Texas, where I built a base understanding of pumping units, electric submersible pumps, and their associated optimization of both systems. My last internship was with Anadarko as a Reservoir Engineer in Denver. Using the knowledge I gained from my previous internships, as well as a full year of major sequence classes, I determined their DJ Basin’s geographic order for drilling economic wells.

Upon graduating, I started a new adventure as a Production Engineer in Anadarko’s Evans field office in Colorado. I began my career in a foreman support role for mostly older vertical wells in the field. I then moved into a “safety prep engineer” role. After this program, I began a rotation as a wellsite supervisor for a workover rig. This experience was instrumental in my growth as an engineer. I then moved to Anadarko’s Denver office as a project manager. I led cross-disciplinary teams in efforts to improve processes and question how we had always done things. We were able to realize capital savings as well as cut out unnecessary steps and approvals.

In November 2016, I left Anadarko to become a Production Engineer for Extraction Oil and Gas, based in Denver. Because Extraction is a smaller company, I was responsible for all facets of production engineering. After a year in this role, I was promoted to the Production Engineering Lead. I am responsible for all of Extraction’s production, as well as three other production engineers. Over the past few months, I’ve learned about how to lead a team and accept responsibility for our group’s decisions and direction. It’s been a wild and exciting ride, and I thank SPE-GCS for getting it started with a scholarship to The University of Texas! Hook ‘em! 

Lisa Thornton

Lisa Thornton - Rotational Engineer at Southwestern Energy

  • Cypress Fair High School - 2009
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My college favorite memories all involve some sort of interaction with professionals in the industry, whether that be through company information sessions, career fairs, SPE guest presentations, or various SPE events held on campus. Learning about the career opportunities in my near future left me feeling empowered and eager to be a member of such a vital and innovative industry. My career is still very much in the beginning of its life; I have spent the last two and a half years in a rotation program where I have had the opportunity to work as a reservoir, drilling and completions engineer in the Fayetteville shale as well as a production engineer in the Marcellus shale. As a reservoir engineer, I initiated the AFE process for over 20 planned wells, presenting multiple times to upper management of the economic and risk evaluation at stake. I led a project group containing geoscientists and engineers to determine the high water production of an area in the field. As a completions engineer, I developed the completion design for roughly a dozen wells and called multiple stages during my field observation. As a drilling engineer, I planned multiple wells for spudder and re-entry drilling operations while communicating regularly with our wellsite supervisors. I gave a poster presentation with two other colleagues for our company's technical conference over drilling efficiency in the Fayetteville Shale division. As a production engineer, I elected candidates for plunger lift within the Marcellus shale and am currently in the process of working with the field personnel and vendors to fulfill their installation and optimization. The SPE-GCS scholarship is an incredible enhancement to any aspiring engineer's future by allowing you to enter to your college education with a network of colleagues and professionals who will mentor you, encourage you, and answer your questions. This community gives you the platform to reach for the stars. My advice to students is to remain curious, ask questions and stay driven. Contact me at

Kevin Aaron Meloy

Kevin Aaron Meloy

  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2009
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I really enjoyed my PETE 400 class, which was our senior capstone course. We got to work a full-field development case for a deepwater GoM field starting from logs and seismic info all the way through reservoir simulation and development scenarios. I spent 2 years with Apache Corporation working completions, production and reservoir engineering in Midland, Houston and Tulsa. Then I spent a little over a year contracting for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation as a reservoir engineer in the Unconventional Resources Best Practices group. I'm currently a reservoir engineer at Advance Energy Partners, a private equity group backed by EnCap Investments, where we're currently evaluating acquisition opportunities in the Delaware Basin. Receiving the SPE scholarship allowed me to focus on my coursework without having to work while I was in college. It reinforced my decision to go into the oil and gas industry after graduation. I would encourage current students to work hard while they're in school and during their internships and not to be afraid to intern with multiple companies. After graduation, you spend a lot of your time in the office so where you work and who you work with contributes a lot to your overall level of happiness. Contact me at

Stephen Christopher Janacek – Production/Operations Engineer at Oxy

  • Stratford High School - 2009
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering, Minor in Geology - 2014

Attending Texas A&M and studying petroleum engineering was the combined application of engineering and business I had been looking for in a degree. Throughout college, I completed summer internships with Occidental Petroleum. I interned in different groups ranging from completions to drilling. I was able to spend a summer in Bakersfield, CA working with the completions team while they tested different multi-stage fracturing techniques. I also spent a summer with the Bakken drilling team analyzing BHA performance. Finishing school was no easy task, but I respected the professors who challenged me with knowledge and experience in production and reservoir modeling; I wish I could go back and take better notes!

After college, I began working at Oxy and have been with them for nearly 4 years. I spent my first two years in field exposure and projects in well servicing. I then transitioned to a Production Engineer role in a waterflood lease. Recently, I have been working as a Production/Operations Engineer in the Delaware Basin.

The SPE-GCS Scholarship opened the door to opportunities in oil and gas. SPE is a society that focuses on improving the careers of the members, and I am proud to be one. 

Ashley Austin Reed

Ashley Austin Reed– Facilities Engineer at XTO Energy

  • Lamar High School - 2008
  • Colorado School or Mines, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was being surrounded by so many other brilliant students and Field Session II. For four years, I was a Bakken reservoir engineer. I recently made the switch to midstream and am now a facilities engineer supporting XTO's mid-continent assets. My SPE scholarship enabled me to go out of state for school and attend one of the best engineering schools in the country. After receiving my scholarship, I decided to take PEGN102 Intro to Petroleum Engineering and I was hooked. I changed my major from chemical engineering to petroleum engineering the same semester. One year later I got my first internship in the oil and gas industry and knew I had made the right decision. I had a full-time job offer from XTO Energy before even starting senior year and haven't looked back. Receiving an SPE scholarship set me up for a successful career. My advice to current students is to stick with it... engineering is not for the faint of heart and certainly isn't the easiest route to take. But four years of hard work pays for itself in no time when you graduate with a highly marketable technical degree. 

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Pruitt Clark – Completions Engineer at Anadarko Petroleum

  • Klein Oak High School - 2008
  • University of Oklahoma, BS in Petroleum Engineering, Minor in Geology

Some of my favorite memories in college include cheering on the Sooners football team to a National Title game while playing drums in the marching band, and competing on OU's SPE PetroBowl team. I have much enjoyed my early-career as a petroleum engineer gaining versatile oil and gas well engineering & operations experience during 4 summer internships and 3 years of full-time service in the industry working for ConocoPhillips and now Anadarko Petroleum throughout Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Alaska, and Canada with a specialization in hydraulic fracturing and competencies in completion design, well intervention, production operations, and reservoir development. I have served as Philanthropy Chair, then Vice President for the OU SPE Student Chapter; and previously as Networking Coordinator for the SPE-GCS Young Professionals Board. The SPE scholarship was a huge blessing to me and is one of the biggest contributors to the positive choices I made in my education and career. Without the support of SPE, I would not be where I am today. Along with the scholarship, I was offered a Pre-College Internship that proved to be one of the biggest factors in building a solid foundation for my education and career in oil & gas. I am so thankful to SPE for continuing to invest in students and education in this way! My advice to today's SPE-GCS scholarship students would be to get involved with SPE in a leadership role, through networking, or general events. I would say SPE is the bridge between your education and career in oil & gas, so take full advantage of all the many benefits of student membership! Also, be sure to polish your resume annually, apply for internships/scholarships, go to the career fair, and have fun! Contact me at



  • Somerville High School - 2008
  • Texas Tech University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was Freshman year, watching Texas Tech knock off then ranked #2 Texas at the last minute with a miracle touchdown throw to Michael Crabtree. I have worked as a field engineer with Schlumberger Wireline Evaluation Services since graduating. I've worked all over Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, & Alabama, and also have done work in Alberta, Canada. My position has allowed me to work on all different kinds of wells, from ones in fields that have been producing since the 1940s, to fields that are still being discovered and mapped out with the data that we acquire with wireline tools. One of the main advantages of all the different scholarships I received both from Texas Tech and from groups like SPE was that I was able to go through school with a full-time job of being a student. Had I not received financial aid, I would have had to work part-time jobs during the semesters, and would most likely have spent a much longer amount of time in school. My advice to students is don't take the opportunity given to you of attending a university and earning a college degree for granted. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to educate yourself at such a high level, and should be enjoyed and respected accordingly. 

Stephen Blanchard

Stephen Mannings Blanchard - Project Manager at Trio Electric

  • Katy High School - 2008
  • Pennsylvania State, Masters of Architectural Engineering

My favorite college memory was that I customized my master's program so that I specialize in delivering power to major structures like hospitals or labs. I was recently Project Manager for all of the electrical design and installation for the new tower being built at MDAnderson. I work as a Project Manager for Large Projects for an electrical contractor. I am currently working on a major project at the George R Brown Center and will be project manager for the tallest building to be built in Austin, TX. My SPE-GCS scholarship helped pay for my education and make it possible for me to attend school out of state at the nation's leading and longest continually accredited Architectural Engineering program. My advice to students is to study hard. Do not underestimate the importance of your freshman year and the grades that you will receive. Seek others to study with. 

Cody Leathers

Cody Jamail Leathers - Drilling Engineer at Chevron

  • Foster High School - 2008
  • Louisiana State University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was the fully functioning well facility and the faculty encouraging us to utilize it to it have better understanding of well control principles. I was hired into Chevron's Accelerated Development Program which seconded me to a drilling contractor for a year to work all of the positions on a Gen 6 drillship. This was followed by a going to work oversees in Thailand on fast paced factory style drilling that allowed us to drill relatively deep wells in 3-4 days. I then transferred to Bakersfield, CA to work on extremely shallow horizontal wells as well as facing challenges of drilling new wells in a heavily depleted reservoir. Receiving this SPE-GCS scholarship helped me exponentially as it allowed me to not have to work as many hours as I would have needed to survive the expense of college. This allowed me to spend more time studying and being involved in the student organizations such as SPE, AADE, and PET. My advice to students is to Be Flexible. If one thing in my short career so far has taught me is that things change as your career progress. It can be something as simple as moving between rigs to better assist or being told a month before you leave that you are moving overseas. Not every assignment will be your favorite but they will all teach you something new. Contact me at

Zachary Hutchison

Zachary Hutchison - Reservoir Engineer at Chevron

  • Seven Lakes High School - 2008
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I can't say that I have a "favorite memory" of college specifically relating to my education. To be honest, the memories I have relating to education do not necessarily elicit positive emotions. But don't get me wrong--if I had to do things over, I would not change anything. The late nights spent doing homework, the seemingly impossible tests, and the hours upon hours spent studying in the library before exams may not be "favorite" memories, but they are memories I will forever have and would not change, because in the end, I am incredibly proud of the degree I earned. I would not have that degree if not for the hard work that was put into it. I joined Chevron in Bakersfield, CA right after graduating from Texas A&M in 2012. I am currently in my second position, working as a Reservoir Engineer for the Kern River Field. In my first assignment, I was a Production Engineer for the diatomite formation in the Cymric Field, an operationally challenging formation located to the west of Bakersfield. Undeniably, college is stressful. There was always a deadline looming or an exam on the horizon, and I was always stressed about something. Receiving the SPE scholarship helped to lessen the stress of how I was going to pay for college. I was extremely fortunate that I did not have to take out student loans to pay for any of my college, in part thanks to the SPE scholarship. Not graduating with student debt meant I could buy a new car right after I graduated and purchase my own house just one year after graduation. I would not have been able to accomplish either of these if not for the SPE scholarship. My advice to students is that "Past performance is not indicative of future results." While commonly seen in literature relating to investing, this phrase is applicable to many facets of life, and, particularly right now, the hiring market for engineering and other oil and gas related jobs. While the job prospect right now is bleak, things constantly change in the oil and gas industry--for better and for worse. If you're 2 or more years away from graduating, you should not be concerned...yet. Study as hard as possible and perform to the best of your abilities. Even if by the time your graduation comes around the industry has not yet recovered, companies will only be hiring the best of the best, so you need to make sure you're one of them. If you are close to graduating, do not be above any job. Look for positions that support the oil industry, especially in environmental work or water disposal. Find a job that will give you experience that you can later apply to a job in the oil and gas industry. Remember, the job you take now does not have to be the job in which you retire. Getting a couple years of experience in a job that can be applied to an oil and gas industry position will give you a leg up when the job market recovers. Contact me at



  • Tomball High School - 2008
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was being exposed to geology and rock mechanics as part of my petroleum degree. I have worked as a drilling engineer at a major oil company for three years. I've gotten to work in both onshore and offshore environments and have lived in three different states. I am currently working on deep water subsea interventions. The SPE-GCS scholarship shaped both my education and career path. I didn't know much about petroleum or engineering before I went to college but the SPE scholarship pushed me in that direction and I'm so grateful it did. I got to thrive in a major that I wouldn't have considered if it weren't for this scholarship. I now have a great education and have a job that I love, all because of the help the SPE scholarship gave me. My advice to students is that cultivating a great work ethic in school will benefit you tremendously. Keep your grades up and remember to have fun with your major. 

Matthew Wilby

Matthew Wilby - Partner, Business Development, Contour Energy

  • Katy High School - 2008
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My memorable moments in college included many SPE events, from tailgates, sporting clays and golf tournaments to mini lectures and presentations with professionals. At school, I was the SPE Sporting Clays Chairman; we hosted events and networked with industry professionals. I joined my company's college recruitment team to help incoming students recognize the importance of networking, being in professional organizations and doing well in school. Out of school, I worked as a field engineer for , followed by a completions engineering role at Chesapeake Energy. I've now formed a company called dealing with pipelines and storage. 

The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me land my first internship at Shell and in turn, made me want to pursue and gain other internships throughout my collegiate career. My advice to students: First, congratulations on being a scholarship winner! This is a significant event in your budding career. Make sure you leverage the enthusiasm, passion and experiences you used to gain the SPE-GCS scholarship to be the best individual and contributor you can. Remember to be a leader and stand out from the crowd, don't be afraid to take chances even if you think you might miss your mark, and make sure you’re having fun in whatever you pursue.

Contact me at


Joel Wolters – Oil and Gas Lab Supervisor at Intertek

  • Katy High School - 2008
  • University of Tulsa, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memory from college was the brilliance of the professors and how hard they worked to reach their students with their knowledge and experience so that they could be prepared for a successful career in the Oil and Gas Industry. I worked at BP in Amarillo as a Production Engineer until they choose to sell off the majority of their domestic onshore assets. I now have worked at Intertek for two years as an Oil and Gas Lab Supervisor performing analytical as well as hands-on work that better suited my skill sets as a hands-on kind of person. The SPE-GCS scholarship was a great help in getting connected to many people throughout the industry. I was able to meet and create contacts with many different companies that gave me both the network and the confidence to find a job easily. My advice to students is to use your time wisely and use every opportunity to network and to grow in knowledge of the industry. College is one third about book education, another third about growing career networks, and the last third about maturing into a man or woman with a strong work ethic and high integrity. Contact me at



  • Jersey Village High School - 2007
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • University of Houston, B.S. in Computer Science
My favorite college memories are Dr. Bommer's stories from the field.  I realized oil and gas wasn't for me and decided to pursue a career in computer science. The SPE Scholarship encouraged me to pursue a career in petroleum engineering. When I stopped qualifying for the scholarship due to poor grades, I should have realized something wasn't working out and reevaluated my career choice.  My advice to current students is to go after field work early, before you want to settle down and have a home life. Save during booms because busts are inevitable.

Grady Meloy - Production Engineer at Apache Corporation

  • Concordia Lutheran High School - 2007
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was learning how to think.  I was able to get a pre-college internship with Anadarko. I then signed on with Apache for 3 internships. I started full time with Apache after graduating in 2011. I completed Apache's three-year rotation program, working 6 months each in completions, field operations, drilling, reservoir, reserve estimations, waterflood and fracking technology, and production. I then settled in Midland, Texas, to work production engineering. I am currently responsible for 8 MBO/d and 35 MMCF/d production. I served as the SPE TAMU chapter Volunteer chair as a student.  The SPE Scholarship strengthened my resolve to pursue petroleum engineering.  My advice to current students is to study hard. Learn geology and geophysics as much as possible. Get experience in the oilfield wherever you can, even if it's not the ideal internship you wanted. Learn how to think critically. Keep learning after you graduate. 


Lauren (Parker) McGovern - Compltion Engineer at ExxonMobil

  • The Woodlands High School - 2007
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

While in college I most enjoyed the senior design project, in which my team and I had the opportunity to apply learnings from our previous course work, but also our "real world" learnings from various internships. Upon joining ExxonMobil, I started my career as a drilling engineer rotating to the TLP-A in Block 15 in Angola. During that assignment I had the opportunity to be exposed to offshore drilling and completion operations as well as long lead planning. I then moved to Calgary, Alberta (AB), Canada as an expat and supported multi-zone frac operations at Horn River in British Columbia as a completion engineer. I then transitioned into a drilling engineer role supporting drilling operations in Cold Lake, AB. I then relocated to Anchorage, Alaska as a completion engineer supporting operations at Point Thomson.  Aside from the financial contribution from receiving the SPE-GCS scholarship, the initial internship opportunity post high school graduation provided to be invaluable. This allowed me the opportunity to be exposed early on to internships with majors.  My advice to current students is to establish a professional network as quickly as possible through SPE events and internship opportunities. Seek internship opportunities in a variety of functions (i.e. reservoir, production, drilling) so that you are able to determine in which function you would like to pursue a full time career. Contact me at


Taylor Conard Cotton

  • Memorial High School - 2007
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was my Senior design project. I have 4+ years experience as a Reservoir Engineer working the Appalachian Basin. Because of the SPE-GCS scholarship, I switched from Mechanical Engineering to Petroleum Engineering my freshmen year. Contact me at

Matthew Martin

Matthew Charles Martin - Field Completion Engineer at Chevron

  • Langham Creek High School - 2007
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is having the opportunity to travel to Italy for the annual SPE ATCE conference in 2010. I have worked 4 years for Chevron in their Deepwater Exploration and Projects business unit based out of Houston, TX. I was the Treasurer 2010-2011 at Texas A&M University Student Chapter, The SPE-GCS scholarship allowed me to pursue my dream to become an engineer in an industry that is as fascinating as any. My advice for students is to work hard for grades, but more importantly take time to actually learn and understand what you are being taught. Understand the "why" behind each lesson.

Megan Ziyue Wang Fung

Megan Ziyue (Wang) Fung - Petroleum Engineer at Chevron

  • Bellaire High School - 2007
    • University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2011
      • BS in Petroleum Engineering
      • BA in Economics
      • Graduated with Highest Honor (Summa Cum Laude, GPA 4.0/4.0)

There were many great memories for me throughout the college years.  Some of my favorite memories include collaborating with classmates on team projects, helping out in the petroleum lab as an undergraduate research assistant and learning about EOR methods, and all of my summer internships with Chevron.  My career thus far has been very fulfilling and exciting with fast-paced growth in both technical skills and knowledge of the industry.  Notable professional achievements include:

 Four consecutive summer internships with Chevron as

  • pre-college petroleum engineering intern in the Energy Technology Company – received this opportunity from Chevron after obtaining the SPE-GCS scholarship,
  • offshore field intern in Gulf of Mexico,
  • reservoir engineering intern in Bakersfield CA, and
  • D&C intern in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
  1. Initiating and coordinating a heavy oil steamflood Major Capital Project ($600MM) in the San Joaquin Valley. Achieving First Oil on this project.
  2. Creating an Artificial Lifting Selection Tool that standardizes artificial lift selection for all tight oil/gas horizontal well developments in the Permian Basin. Received company's professional award for developing this tool.

Receiving the SPE-GCS scholarship was the turning point of my education and career decision.  Prior to receiving this scholarship in the second semester of my senior year in high school, I was not quite set on what education or career path I would choose.  Upon receiving this scholarship, I received a pre-college internship offer from Chevron.  As a pre-college intern, I worked in the waterflood and EOR consulting team in the Energy Technology Company (ETC) in Chevron.  During this internship, I was given the project to establish a user-interactive database for field and reservoir data of all waterflood fields in Chevron around the world and to create visualizations for key parameter correlations.  Through working on the project, with the help of my first professional mentor, I was exposed to a wide range of field data, learned about basic reservoir engineering theories, and had a glimpse of the technical, challenging, and exciting energy industry.  After the fulfilling pre-college internship experience, I confirmed my choice of studying petroleum engineering at UT Austin. 

My advices to students are: be fully open to all the experiences that the energy industry has to offer, such as working in various locations and on completely different jobs; be ready to absorb the variety of knowledge in order to be a good engineer in this industry, including the business aspect of the industry; last but not the least, be ready to have fun and network with others in the industry. 

 Lauren Whisenant Waites

Lauren Whisenant Waites, PR Specialist at Archer Malmo

  • Klein Collins High School - 2007
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, Master of Science in Management

My favorite college memories are learning how to effectively manage organizations.  Unfortunately, engineering was not a good fit for me, but I'm grateful the SPE scholarship allowed me to pursue my interest in engineering during my first semester.  My advice to current students is to stick with it! Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not right. Contact me at


Megan Kathryn (Lichtenwalter) Jones - Petroleum Engineer at LINN Energy, LLC

  • Klein Collins High School - 2007
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was working on my senior design project with my group. I've been working about five years now. I have had the opportunity to work multiple assets and each has provided different learning opportunities.  The SPE scholarship helped pay for my education and relieved some of the financial burden. My advice to students is that I wish I had taken more of my Dad's advice in college. He told me to "treat it like a job", meaning work during the day and you can have more free time at night. I worked very hard and ended up studying a lot during the day and night, but I could have managed my time better. Managing your time well relieves a lot of stress and allows you to enjoy your free time more!  Contact me at



  • Klein High School - 2007
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is that I enjoyed learning from some of the world's most respected PE professors.  Upon graduation, I chose to hold out on accepting job offers from service companies in the hope that an operator could be found, in hindsight a good idea given the events the past 2 years.  I waited 3 long months before finding a great match in an independent operator with a job all the way out in sunny California. Since accepting that job, I have moved through the ranks and jumped disciplines resulting in a transfer back home to Houston, Texas.  I now hold a growing supervisory role in the company.   I helped to run the SPE Texas A&M student chapter football tailgate as the lead on the BBQ committee for 2 years.  It was an excellent networking opportunity, plus as a poor college student, all that BBQ was a major perk. I was unusual in that from the outset I aspired to be a Petroleum Engineer.  The SPE-GCS scholarship certainly made that goal somewhat more attainable from a financial standpoint. My advice to current students is that the Freshman year in an engineering program is no joke; they separate the wheat from the chaff quickly.   Maintain discipline to keep your scholarship.



  • The Woodlands High School - 2007
  • University of Oklahoma, BS in Petroleum Engineering

For my favorite college memory, the rock properties lab during my sophomore year in college brought to life what textbooks attempted to teach. Making core plugs, running tests on core, and then seeing how that data translated to making smart business decisions first made me realize that this had potential to be a fulfilling career choice. I have 4+ years with ExxonMobil and my proudest moments have been the successful outcomes of bold ideas, rooted in lots of data digging, that resulted in serious profit! This includes successful workover programs and getting to lead the most recent polymer pilot for the company in the last 25 years. The SPE-GCS scholarship lifted a great financial burden off myself and my family which enabled me to be focused and motivated to make the most of my time in college - from classes to career fairs.My advice to students is to study hard, not just for the test. Listen in your classes. Keep in touch with professors. Go to the career fair every year. Write thank you notes.

Brady Hodenfield

Brady Hodenfield - Fracturing and Stimulating Engineer

  • Fort Bend Christian High School - 2007
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Thermodynamics was my favorite class. I felt that class had the biggest impact in helping to understand many technologies that I use every day. As you may have read, Halliburton endured many layoffs, and my position was eliminated. Although saddened to leave this company, where my performance has consistently been rated as outstanding, I am looking forward to repeating my same record of success for my next employer. After winning the SPE-GCS scholarship I realized how close an entire industry was. My advice to students is to take as many field trips as possible. If the University does not offer any field trips, take initiative and perhaps organize a tour with a service company. Contact me at

Brent Vangolen

Brent Vangolen - Production Coordinator at Oxy

  • The Woodlands High School - 2006
  • Colorado School of Mines, BS in Petroleum Engineering

The SPE-GCS scholarship gave me my first opportunities in this industry, and was a continuing source of much needed financial and technical support throughout 4 grueling years at the Colorado School of Mines, for which I am eternally grateful.  One of my favorite collegiate SPE memories was ATCE in New Orleans, where I was the SPE Petrobowl MVP. I was the Treasurer of the SPE student chapter at CSM, and later served as the golf chair.  After I started my career, I served on the young professional board of the San Joaquin Valley section.  No doubt the precollege internship with Anadarko between high school and college as part of the scholarship helped me to be able to work internships throughout all 3 summers in college, which was a very positive experience.  Not only do you gain valuable, real world technical experience, often times prior to your more challenging coursework, but you also have a 3-month interview, so to speak, to really get a feel for and understand the company and people with whom you’ll potentially spend your career.  It’s not all about the money; you need to understand who you are in a professional setting, and find an organization that allows you to be that person.  I graduated Cum Laude at CSM, signed with Oxy, and have worked in many different positions and geographic locations ever since.  My advice to students is to raise your hand when opportunities arise, get as much field experience as you can, and constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Whether it’s manual labor, like packing wells or mixing mud, or helping with routine paperwork, you will be surprised how much you’ll draw on the experience later.  Understanding the nuts and bolts of the business will bring you a tremendous advantage over your peers who don’t.  Secondly, don’t perpetuate the arrogant young engineer stereotype.  Show up with your (hard) hat in your hand, ready to work, and really strive to listen to the many years of experience around you.  The great crew change is coming, so listen and learn as much as you can, while you can.  Before you know it, it just might be you on the brake handle.  Contact me at

Kirsten A. Gustafson Kirsten A. Gustafson - Senior Reservoir Engineer at ConocoPhillips
  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2006
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering
My favorite college memory was our Petroleum Geology class, where we got to map an exploration prospect on seismic (by hand!), estimate recoverable reserves, and put in a "bid" on a Gulf of Mexico exploration block.  The class exercise was based on an area of the Gulf that contained a real discovered field, which was now operated by a major oil company.  Our team worked hard all semester, and we thought that we had found a really great prospect!  However, when our bid was reviewed and our exploration well was "drilled," it turned out there was no oil and gas there - it was dry!  Although I now work as a reservoir engineer, this hands-on experience improved my understanding the methods used by geologists and geophysicists to map exploration prospects, and it has been extremely helpful to me when working with multi-disciplinary teams.  I've spent my career so far as a reservoir engineer, in various roles in Houston, Aberdeen, and Stavanger.  I began working for ConocoPhillips full-time in 2010 in Houston, Texas.  In my first assignment, I worked in our Subsurface Technology department.  During this time, I undertook many projects for different types of fields - shale gas condensate, coal bed methane, and others - and solved problems through the use of reservoir simulation.  I then moved to the Aberdeen office in Scotland to work as a reservoir and production engineer for fields in the Greater Britannia Area and for the MacCulloch Field.  Getting to go offshore, sit in the control room with the operators, and assist with the start-up of wells was a great highlight.  In 2014, I relocated to Stavanger, Norway, where I worked in the Exploration Department, searching for the next great oil and gas discoveries in the North Sea, Mid-Norway, the Barents Sea, and Greenland.  I am currently still living and working in Norway.  I now work on the Ekofisk Field, which was the first oil field discovered in Norway in 1969 and still produces over 100,000 barrels of oil per day. Throughout college, I had the opportunity to serve as Vice President, Webmaster, and Freshman Representative for the UT-Austin SPE Student Chapter.  The financial support from the SPE scholarship allowed me to focus on school work, rather than taking part-time job.  This also allowed time outside of school to engage in activities on campus.  However, the greatest benefit of all, for me, was having a summer internship.  I worked for Chevron in Houston during the summer before college in their Heavy Oil Technology Team.  Seeing what it was actually like to work as a petroleum engineer and understanding the types of problems you need to solve on the job gave great context for what I learned in university.  I wasn't just studying to pass the next exam; I was studying so that I could be a better problem solver in the "real world." And most importantly - during the internship, I learned how much I enjoyed the work as a petroleum engineer, which motivated me to keep studying even times were tough! My advice to current students is that the oil and gas industry is one of the most interesting places you can choose to work.  It is global and political; it is fast-paced, constantly evolving, and incorporates interesting technology; it is full of great people; and it impacts nearly every person on the planet.  If you are looking for a challenging career that will never bore you, you are in the right place. Contact me at
Christine DeFriend

Christine Sliva DeFriend - Reservoir Engineer at Chevron

  • Cypress Fair High School - 2006
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memories were studying, or cramming, late late at night with friends on campus then deciding it's time for waffles - and walking to iHop to continue studying - this happened before almost every test. I am a reservoir engineer responsible for reservoir modeling for multiple assets as well as mentoring younger engineers on various modeling topics. I have had multiple promotions in my first five years of working, presented 3 posters and 2 oral presentations at our annual internal reservoir management forums, and published 2 articles within our internal newsletter. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me pay for the education needed to be where I am today - the best petroleum engineering degree I could get. My advice to students is to study hard, then a little harder. It's about learning the material, not making an A. I crammed for too many tests then forgot the material - I've pulled out my notes on the job many times and wished I actually remembered what I once did for the test. Contact me at

Richard Hopper

Richard Hopper - Petroleum Engineer at Merit Energy

  • Klein High School - 2006
  • University of Oklahoma, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Pursuing a MBA

My favorite college memories are friendships with others in the petroleum engineering college, great professors, and late nights studying cramming for tests. I spent three years with BP as an Interventions Engineer and then Integrity Engineer. For one of those years, I was living in Durango, CO and the other two in Houston. I accepted a position as an Operations Engineer with Merit Energy in Dallas. I currently manage 500 wells in Oklahoma. I am developing projects to increase production, managing operating expenses, capital costs, forecasting production, reserve reporting. The SPE-GCS scholarship allowed me to focus on school work and networking with other students instead of having to work through school. My advice to students is to stick with the program. Although the oil field goes up and down, the industry is a great industry and the people we work with are great people.

Taryn MacIntyre (Slimm)

Taryn MacIntyre (Slimm) – Reservoir Engineer at R. Lacy

  • Academy of Science and Technology, Oak Ridge High School - 2006
  • Colorado School of Mines, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My internships were some of my best memories from college. They were such great opportunities to get out and experience the practical applications of what I was learning in the classroom and to start getting acclimated to working in industry after college, which made the transition seamless. They were also great networking opportunities! I took a non-traditional path right out of school and started my career in New York working on upstream valuations for independents, majors, and consultants. I am now back in Texas and am a Reservoir Engineer for a small company in East Texas. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped to offset the costs to attend an out of state school and landed me in my first industry internship with Anadarko. My advice to current students is to take every opportunity to network and don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Contact me at

Cody Ronald Robinson

Cody Ronald Robinson – Reservoir Engineer at Anadarko

  • Concordia Lutheran High School - 2006
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was by far the camaraderie built with my classmates during our senior year. Due to a large Capstone project, we all spent a lot of time in the Richardson Petroleum building working together, connecting on personal levels, and having an all-around good time. Many fond memories were created during late nights at Rich High such as roast videos, millions of chipotle runs, ethics class "prep", rap battles, and mustaches. So far in my career I have had a chance to work in Wyoming as Production Engineer, Colorado as a Completion Engineer, and Utah as a Reservoir Engineer. With each role I have added valuable skills to my engineering tool belt that continue to make me a more competent Petroleum Engineer. The more I learn about this industry, the more fascinated I am by the direction we are heading and what the future holds. One of the primary reasons that I chose to study Petroleum Engineering was because of the scholarship opportunities. Most 16-17 year-old kids have no idea what they really want to do with their lives, myself included. I knew I liked math, science, and problem solving... and that was about it. The SPE scholarship really helped me focus in on how I could turn the things that I loved into a great career. Now I get to work in a fascinating industry, daily make things better, and problem solve for a living! My advice for students is: 1. Work as hard as possible in the first couple years of your college education. It is a MUCH better experience to coast at the end of college than to fight to get out of a hole for your entire educational career. 2. Internships and working are not the same as school work. I knew that internships were valuable, but I made the mistake of thinking that working in the oil field during the summer would be the same as a summer of more school work. Petroleum engineering is a rigorous degree, but that doesn't mean that working in the oil and gas industry is not fun! Most college kids are going to be working in the summer to make money anyways... it might as well be something that sets you up for a future career in the oil industry. And believe it or not... you might even have a really fun time doing it! Contact me at

Aditya Mohan Kunjapur

Aditya Mohan Kunjapur - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Genetics at Harvard

  • Stratford High School - 2006
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Chemical Engineering
  • MIT, Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

For my favorite college memories, I enjoyed tutoring in the chemical engineering department but found my summer internship experiences with Shell and ExxonMobil most influential towards my professional development. I interned several times in upstream oil and gas, but I was always interested in renewable energy and chemicals. After UT, I went to grad school at MIT to develop novel bacterial strains that convert renewable sugars into higher value chemicals and into biofuels. Although I received the SPE scholarship for only one year after deciding to stick with my chemical engineering major, I credit the SPE scholarship for connecting me with Shell Oil Company for my first internship the summer before freshman year. I cannot overstate how valuable this experience was. My advice to students is that SPE scholarship recipients should make the most of the industry connections that they receive. Contact me at


Lucas Moss - Completions Engineer at Plains Exploration & Production

  • The Woodlands High School - 2005
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memories were impossibly long hours spent on impossibly difficult problems that led to an impossibly cool job. I have had drilling and completions field experience in vastly different areas including Eagleford Shale and Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. My experience includes being an integral part of a 15,000' MD well drilled in two weeks on land and a $1.3MM day rate rig drilling in the Gulf. With the rising costs of school, every dollar saved can contribute to a solid start in an already lucrative industry. My advice to students is to enjoy your time in school but remember that moderation is critical. This applies to school and the "college experience". Do not lose yourself in books or bars. Take the time to enjoy both. Contact me at

Brian Hicks - Engineer at Kiewit

  • James E Taylor High School - 2005
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Chemical Engineering

My favorite college memories were when our classes broke down into casual brainstorming sessions with our engineering professors. It was an opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the world, and I will always remember the passion they showed towards advancing energy technology. My career thus far has been primarily in oil & gas construction management. It has taken me all over North America, and introduced me to some of the most impressive projects and incredible people I could have imagined. My SPE-GCS scholarship directly introduced me to oil & gas professionals early in my education and my career. Some of us are still close friends - even 10 years later. My advice to students is to read! I'd encourage everyone to explore the details and the breadth of this industry.

Derek Lebsack

Derek Lebsack - Senior Drilling Engineer - Onshore/Offshore

  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2005
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I was lucky enough to find my passion as a drilling engineer during a summer internship while in school. Since that time, drilling has remained my primary focus and I have gained experience in drilling deepwater (domestic and abroad), shelf (Gulf of Mexico), and onshore (Permian/Midcontinent) basins. I have passed the PE exam and am now a Licensed Professional Engineer. I have also been published as a co-author of an AADE paper with Smith/Schlumberger on the implementation of advanced drill bit technology. I was already decided on becoming a Petroleum Engineer (3rd generation). Obviously the financial assistance was of great assistance, it enabled me to concentrate on my studies without needing to worry about paying for food or gas. Second, and more importantly, the internship I found through my SPE-GCS scholarship for the summer before I began college gave me a valuable headstart on other students, both in the classroom and in consideration for future internships. This began a chain of events that ultimately led to 4 internships and 2 winter break contracting jobs before I graduated with my degree and began my job as an international deepwater drilling engineer. My advice to students is that grades are important, but they aren't everything. In today's oilfield downturn, networking and experience trump GPA (as long as you meet the minimum GPA dictated by HR!). Don't be afraid of field experience. Spend some time getting dirty, staying up all night, and getting to know your field staff. You will likely not have a chance to gain that kind of experience later in your career and you won't know what you've missed until it's too late. Contact me at

Kory Izard

Kory Izard – Production Engineer at Chevron

  • Alvin High School - 2005
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Earning a degree in petroleum engineering is both challenging and rewarding, but as I look back on my college years, I realize that some of my favorite memories come from the friendships created and adventures made with my classmates during those same hard years. In fact, we still laugh today about how much we suffered together in the computer labs and the comical situations we found ourselves in throughout the years. These same friends were also some of my best cheerleaders when it came to us motivating each other to find summer internships. As a result, I had the opportunity to intern with three different companies: in 2006, I worked for Anadarko in Gillette, WY on coalbed methane gas; in 2007, I worked for ConocoPhillips in Anchorage, AK with their North Slope Coil Tubing Operations; and lastly, in 2008 I worked for Chevron in Bakersfield, CA for the Kern River Field. While I enjoyed all three of my experiences, I found my ‘fit’ to be at Chevron. I started my full-time position back on the same team I interned with as a reservoir engineer for Kern River, which was a great transition for me from college into the corporate world. I stayed in California for almost 6 years and I have recently moved back to the Houston area working the Wyoming Area as a production engineer. Now, as I look back on my internships, I realize the SPE-GCS scholarship opened doors for me by not only allowing me to see actual opportunities in the petroleum industry, but also by allowing me to learn ‘real world’ skills like interviewing and leadership, which I further cultivated as the TAMU SPE Student Chapter Treasurer. If there was one piece of advice I could give to students searching for their place in the industry, it is to go to the career center on your college campus BEFORE YOU START your first week of school. Most career centers can help you with your resume and tell you interview schedules. Remember that most companies start coming to campus in early September, so you have to be able to hit the ground running. And, having at least one internship under your belt will definitely help you land your full time position when you graduate college. If you have any questions, please contact me at

Gerard Pechal

Gerard Pechal - Reservoir Engineer at XTO Energy

  • Academy of Science & Technology (Oak Ridge) High School - 2005
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

For my favorite college memory, I remember feeling comfortable and confident that this was the right career path for me, so I never let anything get in the way. Timing played a big part of it, but I was also very interested in the degree curriculum so there was never any doubt. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way in college. I've had countless experiences over my 6 years with ExxonMobil. I started in Houston working with international subsurface and subsea support groups, working with brilliant people all over the world. When we acquired XTO Energy in 2010, I became the first engineer to cross over and learn operations, and have been working out of Fort Worth ever since. It's been remarkable witnessing the integration & evolution of both cultures, and learning first-hand about the importance of efficiency and effectiveness especially during tough times in the market The SPE-GCS scholarship of course helped with tuition, but most importantly it came with an eye-opening Anadarko internship that encouraged me to keep pushing for more. Before then I had no idea what the professional world would be like... so I got a glimpse in the life of a successful engineer and learned quickly that PE was my golden opportunity. From that point on I did everything in my power to reach that finish line. My advice to students is that grades are very important, but you must also work on yourself... Get internships. Join business clubs. Attend seminars and training. Do everything you can to better yourself, because your career success will depend so much more on you as a person than it will what's on paper. 


Gabriel Emigdio Barragan - Drilling Engineer at Chevron

  • Ross S. Sterling High School - 2005
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

The summer internships were the best part of my college education. Summarizing those experiences in the SPE paper contest was also very rewarding experience. I started out my career out of college as a drillsite manager in the Gulf of Mexico in Jack-Up rigs. After that I joined our deepwater group and was a field drilling engineer for some time and ultimately a planning and operations drilling engineer for one of our major capital projects. Next, I joined Chevron's well control team where I was tasked with providing well control training to our global drilling and completions workforce and provide subject matter expertise. Finally, I joined our South African Strategic Business unit operations in Angola as a drilling engineer for one of our major capital projects there. Throughout this experience I have received numerous engineering awards, and last year I was able to become a Texas board certified professional engineer. Receiving an SPE scholarship along with the financial aid, I received exposure to the petroleum industry. The scholarship opened the door to obtaining summer internships which built my resume and made me more marketable at the time I graduated and was seeking a full time position. My advice to students is don't be discouraged with the current oil price and the slowed down of our industry. This only makes our job more interesting as it forces us to come up with unique and creative solutions to problems in a costly manner... the essence of engineering. Contact me at

  • Cypress Springs High School - 2004
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Mechanical Engineering

My favorite college memory was my Design Project.  I have worked 7+ years at Dril-Quip, an oilfield equipment design and manufacturing company.

  • Cypress Springs High School - 2004
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was working on my senior project field study, because it included Geology Students as well as the Petroleum Engineering Students. I have been working for a service company since I graduated and have worked my way up from a Field Engineer to an Applications Engineer. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in two new product developments both for cement and fracturing. Receiving a scholarship from SPE showed me how tight knit a community the Oil Field is and how they look out for each other. For my advice to students, I would say that entering into a career in the Oil Field is nerve racking with the ups and downs. However, it is full of good people and there is a comradery that is specific to the Oil Industry.

 Leigh Whittington Leigh Whittington - Subsurface Manager, Trinity Operating
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering - 2008

I often meet people in the oil and gas industry who say my name sounds familiar. I’ve become used to this, so I usually start listing my family members to see if they know one of them: dad, mom, three brothers, one sister-in-law. Not only are we all in the oil and gas industry, but we all graduated from Texas A&M – and my three brothers and I all received the SPE Gulf Coast Scholarship. 

After considering various career options in high school, I eventually settled on petroleum engineering. I graduated high school in 2004 and received the SPE Gulf Coast Scholarship. The scholarship enabled me to get an internship with Kinder Morgan before my freshman year of college, which was really important for giving me a glimpse into the industry I’d chosen.

I attended Texas A&M and graduated with a BS in petroleum engineering in 2008. I had internships every summer, first with Kinder Morgan and then with Anadarko. After graduating, I went to work for Anadarko full time, where I started as a production engineer in East Texas then moved into reservoir engineering. In reservoir, I also worked deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico before moving back onshore. In 2016, I left Anadarko and moved to NextEra Energy Resources. We started an operating company called Trinity Operating, where I’m now a subsurface manager.

Two years after I received the SPE Gulf Coast Scholarship, my brother Forrest received it as well. He also attended Texas A&M and graduated with a petroleum engineering degree in 2011. -Forrest started at Encana as a completions engineer before joining Comstock Resources.

Three years after Forrest, my brother Garrett also received the SPE Gulf Coast Scholarship and headed to Texas A&M. Garrett originally planned to major in chemical engineering but decided to switch to petroleum. He graduated in 2013 and started working for Anadarko as a production engineer. Garrett moved to Memorial Resource Development before settling at Laredo Energy.

My youngest brother, Mason, received the SPE Gulf Coast Scholarship four years after Garrett. He considered career paths other than oil and gas, such as becoming a doctor. However, after working in a hospital and at an oil and gas company, he decided to move forward in petroleum. Mason also attended Texas A&M, where he met his wife, Heidi. They both graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering in 2017. Mason went to work for Noble and Heidi is at Hess.

With so many family members, there are a lot of different routes we could have chosen. Our paths haven’t all been the same, so it’s unique that we’ve all had similar accomplishments. The SPE-GCS Scholarship helped open doors through financial support, networking and opportunities for internships before college, which really helped me see what the industry was like.


Christopher Gornet - Reserves Coordinator, Delaware Basin at Chevron

  • Strake Jesuit High School - 2004
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

One of my favorite memories from college would be my resource economics class. It tied what I had learned to date about petroleum engineering back to real-world finances and brought a lot into perspective for me. The SPE-GCS scholarship made it economic for me to attend school during the year without having to get a part-time job so that I could focus on schoolwork and learning primarily. Although I made it through school fine, I was lax and reluctant to take full advantage of the opportunities that SPE-GCS provides. I would recommend that students utilize all the resources that SPE-GCS has to offer. Contact me at


Bryan A. Beresik - Wolfcamp Project Manager at Chevron

  • Langham Creek High School - 2004     
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I definitely didn't appreciate it at the time, but I look back fondly on all the early mornings and late nights struggling through a homework assignment or project with my classmates in the library and Petroleum Engineering building. Those experiences shaped me into a better engineer and better leader. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2009, I began my career at Chevron in Houston as a Production Engineer. Since then, I have held positions of increasing responsibility in Production Operations and Asset Development. I currently work as Project Manager for Chevron's Wolfcamp program in the Permian Basin. The SPE-GCS scholarship was the "foot in the door" that launched my career. The scholarship came with an internship after my Senior year in High School which lead to a good start at Texas A&M my Freshman year which lead to an internship following my Freshman year. Everything took off from there. After the scholarship awards banquet, I remember my Dad telling me "You have the world in your hands, make the most of it". Truer words were never spoken. My advice to students is that these scholarships afford tremendous opportunities that extend far beyond the financial value of the scholarship. Realize this and make the most of it. Contact me at

Stephanie Currie

Stephanie Currie – Reservoir Engineer at Double Eagle Energy Holdings

  • Stephen F. Austin High School - 2004
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Texas A&M University, MS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was the annual TAMU SPE golf tournament. This was an event that I looked forward to every year. It was a great day of interaction between current and former Aggies with a mutual interest of oil and gas. While in school, I served as TAMU SPE Treasurer and TAMU SPE President. After graduate school, I went to work for Devon Energy. Devon had a great rotational programming allowing me to work in the field for a full year where my time was spent on well locations, frac jobs and drilling rigs. After a year, I moved to the office in Oklahoma City and spent a short time working operations before landing in my permanent role as a reservoir engineer. In 2010, I was presented with an opportunity that I could not pass up (and not just because it got me back to Texas). I started working for a small private equity backed company called Double Eagle Energy Holdings. I have been with Double Eagle for almost two years working as a reservoir engineer focused on Permian and Rockies assets. I enjoy the fast paced and quickly growing environment, and I believe that I am a part of a group that will take advantage of current commodity prices. The best part of receiving the SPE-GCS scholarship for me was the networking. I met industry professionals and other students who also received the scholarship at the scholarship banquets. My advice to current students is to make the most of the time that you have to get to know your fellow classmates. These are people that you will cross paths with during your career. Contact me at



  • East Bernard High School - 2004
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was my engineering team projects (i.e. building tennis ball launchers for a class project) I have very much enjoyed the oil & gas industry. It has been very good to me over the years even with all of the uncertainty. I have worked with 2 companies. I was with my first company for over 7 years and earlier this year I recently switched over to my second company. I have worked as an engineer in a variety of departments (reservoir, production, completions), and I currently am a senior reservoir engineer. My biggest achievement outside of work is getting my Professional Engineer's License. The SPE-GCS scholarship was by far the single most important thing that allowed me to start on the career path that I'm currently on. My family was not able to help much in paying for my college and having this scholarship was a huge help in allowing me to pay for my college education in addition to working during college to help pay the bills associated with getting a degree. I was the first person in my family to attend college and am the first person in my family to choose a path in the oil & gas industry. I am very grateful to the SPE for selecting me to receive that scholarship over 10 years ago. I remember being so excited when I was selected. I did not feel like I had a chance since I was from a very small school and didn't have the same opportunities as students in larger Houston schools. My advice to students is don't count yourself out just because you don't have any other family members in the industry or are from a large Houston school. Always work hard and you will be rewarded. 

 Olle Lorehn

Olle Lorehn - Area Operations Superintendent, Chevron, Neuquen Province, Argentina

  • University of Texas at Austin, BS, Petroleum Engineering - 2004
  • Rice University, MBA - 2010

The SPE-GCS scholarship helped fund an education that was a critical enabler of my career in the oil and gas industry. The scholarship provided financial security for me to obtain a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

I also received consecutive summer internship opportunities with Chevron in Oklahoma, California and Louisiana. These internships led to an offer of full-time employment with Chevron as a drilling company man working in the western intercontinental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. I still remember how excited I was to enter the industry to work for a large, reputable, international oil major. It was a role I could only dream of when listening to my father’s stories of a drilling career in the oil patch. 

I’ve continued to work for Chevron in various parts of the world through both upcycles and downcycles. Each role and location have provided their own unique challenges and surprises that I would never have had the opportunity to experience had it not been for receiving my degree.

To high school graduates looking to pursue a career in the energy industry, my recommendation is to obtain the skills and education necessary to pursue and support your passions and to continually try to understand the world’s energy needs. 

Josh Fink – Completions Engineer, Consultant at Noble Energy

  • The Woodlands High School - 1999
  • Texas Tech University, BS in Petroleum Engineering, Summa Cum Laude

The Gulf Coast Chapter SPE scholarship I received provided the support needed to focus on my education, and develop my professional skills, without the burden of full-time work during the semesters.  This was a huge factor in achieving a perfect GPA (4.0), and allowing me to serve in the Texas Tech SPE student chapter, including holding office as Vice President my senior year.  It also helped to bridge the gap, for me, versus legacy students whose families were already in the industry, benefiting from numerous contacts and industry exposure.  The SPE Gulf Coast chapter also provided my first internship opportunity and an introduction to the industry.  Winning the first ever SPE Petro-bowl is one of my fondest memories from college. 

I dedicated my first 5 years working at BP as a deep-water completions engineer, specializing in sand control design and execution.  I was then selected by a small, onshore private-equity 'start up' company to be one of two engineers to build their un-conventional play completion program.  With a mere 7 years of full-time experience, I then hired on be a consultant in deep-water completions for a mid-cap company (Noble Energy, Inc).  I've relished working international assignments, spanning 5 continents and some of the biggest wells and in the world, savoring an extremely rewarding career (both professionally and monetarily!).  My advice to students: there is no substitute for hard work, and get involved in your student chapter every year.  The habits, knowledge and thinking skills gained will be your foundation, putting you in control of a rewarding career.  Maximize your internships to get familiar with every discipline and company type – it’s the best time to experience a diverse range of cultures in a short time frame.  Do your homework, and don’t ever miss an opportunity to ask a question; you are only hurting yourself if you don't.  Please contact me at


Jenny Diane (Vorpahl) Cronlund - Reservoir Engineer at BP

  • Cinco Ranch High School - 2003
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

After only my freshman year, I got an internship offshore on a jackup rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The experience in seeing the mud system, rotary table, derrick, etc., first hand was priceless.  We had studied all the pieces and parts of a rig, but when I saw it first hand, it was a much richer experience. I've spent 9 years with BP, working in the world-class oil field of Prudhoe Bay, challenging plays like viscous oil and tight sands.  My career has been very rewarding, tackling challenging problems with innovation, and gaining knowledge through cutting-edge technology. I've held several positions with SPE on the Alaska Section Board including several committee chairs, secretary and treasurer, as well as serving as a director on the Gulf Coast Section board. By receiving the SPE scholarship, I was offered an internship position with BP my first summer after high school.  In obtaining this position, I was offered more coveted internships after my freshman, sophomore and junior years of college, including an offshore rotation and two Alaskan internships.  I interviewed for other internships, but other companies were not offering these types of internships at my grade level.  Because I had internships in drilling, production and reservoir engineering, I was able to make a more informed decision of what I wanted to focus on in my career full-time.  My advice to current students is do not take this scholarship for granted, continue to earn it.  Continue to work hard and learn as much as you can in the classroom and on the job.  When you feel like you've made it, give back - either through donating time (e.g. volunteering with SPE), treasure (e.g. donating to the very scholarship fund that supported you) or talent (e.g. mentoring high school and college students, or young professionals) Contact me at



  • Klein Oak High School - 2003
  • Baylor University, BS in Mechanical Engineering
  • Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering
What I remember most about college is the fun experience with networking and in depth industry-backed research projects. I am currently a rotor systems design engineer at Bell Helicopter. I am responsible for the design of the rotor system for the newest super-medium commercial helicopter, 525 Relentless. The SPE scholarship allowed me to pick a school of my choice and it guided me toward a degree and profession in engineering. My advice to students is don't let the cost of college deter you. As an engineer, you will be well compensated upon employment; therefore, able to pay off any student debt. Also, most companies provide tuition assistance for graduate degrees which is very enticing for those already who have incurred student loans.


  • A&M Consolidated High School - 2003
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was the feeling of success when you made the grade after putting in long hours of studying in Evans Library with a big group of my then fellow students and now fellow colleagues. I was an Engineer with Hess Corp., then served as an Engineer with Alta Resources.  I participated in an asset sale in the Duvernay in 2011.  I’m the COO of Grayson Mill Energy, an EnCap backed portfolio company started by myself and two other Aggies.  The scholarship was largely why I started college as a petroleum engineer. Once in the PE program, I realized I very much enjoyed the profession, but without the scholarship I would likely have gone a different route in college. My advice to current students is to treat college like a job. Between 8:00 am & 5:00 pm, you should study and work. After 5:00 pm, take advantage of the great things college has to offer, but remember just like a job there will be nights that require extra hours.

Stefan Kristopher Koszutski Lattimer

Stefan Kristopher Koszutski Lattimer – Petroleum Engineer at Chevron

  • The Woodlands High School - 2003
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

In the Spring of 2003, I was introduced to the petroleum industry and SPE by Dr. Taylor. At the time, Dr. Taylor was on staff at The University of Texas and was the Petroleum Engineering department’s head recruiter. Dr. Taylor invited me up to campus for a tour and while there, he got me in contact with a few seniors and suggested I look into SPE. Long story short, with Dr. Taylor’s encouragement, I applied for a scholarship from SPE-GCS that significantly impacted my college journey.

 At the time, winners of a SPE-GCS scholarship were also awarded a pre-college internship with Anadarko. Being from The Woodlands, Anadarko was in my “backyard” and was known to be a big deal. I joined Anadarko for the Summer of 2003, working in the International Operations group. The opportunities from working with an operator like Anadarko significantly aided in my understanding of the industry prior to enrolling at The University of Texas. My roles during the internship were far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. I was able to work with project teams focusing on assets in Canada, the North Sea, and Northern Africa. In a way, you can say I was thrown into the deep end of the pool, and I am very grateful for that opportunity. In addition to the internship, the scholarship helped me to spend more time on my studies and to be able to graduate with honors. I started my college education in Petroleum Engineering and finished in Petroleum Engineering partly due to the support of SPE.

After graduation, my career took me to Chevron, where I have spent 9 years in multiple roles with a wide range of responsibility and work focus. My focus has been around production and stimulation while working for assets in Western Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, and many other international fields. I have gained company recognition for my work with new technologies and working with recruiting teams, interns, and the training of new hires.

 My advice to students is that no matter what type of engineering you are looking at pursuing, I strongly encourage you to apply for this wonderful opportunity. A real bonus is the internship that comes with the scholarship. The job experience prior to college is a major step above the rest of the other students who are competing for other scholarships and internships each year. Contact me at

Bradley Kirk McPhee

Bradley Kirk McPhee – Production Engineer

  • Nimitz High School - 2002
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is that in college I built life-long friendships with fellow PETE students. We worked hard together in college and grew close, now we also share life together as we grow our careers and have kids. I worked for the same company for 8 years, got great training in different disciplines and have worked the past 4 years as a production engineer. I was given a great deal of responsibility over operations and valued for my unique ideas to solve problems for my company.   I have several achievements:

  • Reduced capital required to complete Haynesville program by $16MM by utilizing extensive experience in metallurgy selection for tubulars and conducting study that determined optimal tubing for Haynesville shale. Exceeded highest production goal by 12.9%, obliterating production goal for field of 389 wells with no drilling and no budget increase over previous year, by implementing cost-efficient workovers.
  • Improved production performance on first horizontal gas well the company drilled by pioneering artificial lift system to keep well on trend past 100 mcfd. This technique was successfully used on subsequent wells in the field.

The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me have the reassurance to moved forward in a challenging curriculum and focus on studies and not on money.  My advice to students is that right now the oil price is about the same as when I started school. Your timing should be perfect because 4.5 years from now the glut of surplus oil supply will be behind us and the wave of retirements should be quite impactful. Contact me at



  • Tomball High School - 2002
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was the Leaders in Freshman Engineering. I have had great experience. Enjoy the work! I served as SPE Company Liaison in my Student chapter. With the summer internship that I received following the scholarship award, I confirmed my decision to start a career in Petroleum Engineering before entering college. My advice to students is to be prepared to work hard but also find reward in the technical level of projects you will be able to work on in your career. Take advantage of internships and interview continuously!



  • Lamar Consolidated High School - 2002
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Texas A&M University, MS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Tulane University, Masters of Business Administration


  • Humble High School -2002
  • Rice University, BS in Chemical Engineering
  • Rice University, BA in Women and Gender Studies

My favorite college memory is taking theoretical book knowledge from various classes and combining it into a comprehensive senior design project. I'm a drilling engineer and now an engineering supervisor working deepwater production and exploration wells in various parts of the world. In the SPE scholarship interview, I was offered an internship with ExxonMobil between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I interned for ExxonMobil for 5 different summers and have now worked for them for 9 years.

 Eric Michael Stolpman

Eric Michael Stolpman – MBA Candidate at The Wharton School

  • Concordia Lutheran High North - 2001
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Industrial Engineering
  • The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, MBA

My favorite college memory was working in a team of diverse students to create a frisbee launcher that could hit a target a number of times without our input.  It was a lot of fun, and we learned a lot about engineering processes in the process.         After graduating from Texas A&M, I accepted a commission in the US Navy and served for nearly 11 years as a Naval Aviator, Instructor pilot, and Weapons and Tactics Instructor.  During the course of my service, I deployed or detached 5 times to the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as the operation that freed Captain Phillips after the pirating of the Mearsk Alabama.  I also provided aerial surveillance in support of the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.  In August of 2016, I started my studies as an MBA candidate at the Wharton School, where I have focused my studies on Strategic Management.  The SPE scholarship was instrumental in assisting me financially during my undergrad studies, and through it I learned of my interest in the oil and gas industry. My advice to current students is to not self-limit and do not ever think that you are unworthy or incapable of success.  People no smarter than you have changed the course of our country.  Contact me at

Dale Thomas Pumphrey

Dale Thomas Pumphrey - Senior Completions Engineer at BP

  • Needville High School - 2001
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Mechanical Engineering

I have worked as a Drilling and Completions Engineer for BP for the past 10-yrs. I am currently a Senior Completions Engineer (Deep-water Gulf of Mexico). This SPE GCS scholarship helped me to get an internship working offshore with Wood Group Production Technology. The internship (and subsequent internships) solidified my decision to pursue a full time position in the oil and gas industry. My advice to students is to obtain as much intern / industry experience as possible prior to graduating. Contact me at


Steven Sowers – Lead Drilling Engineer at ExxonMobil

  • Lutheran High North - 2001
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memory in my early college engineering classes involves a team project in one of my freshman engineering courses. We were challenged with building an accurate ping pong ball launcher given a long list of constraints; our team built a frame that would swing a golf club to chip the ball at the target. This design was by far the most successful in the class. I have worked as a drilling engineer for ExxonMobil for 10 years in a number of assignments. My most recent assignment has been in Melbourne, Australia as the lead drilling engineer for the PNG LNG project; this has been particularly challenging and rewarding. My SPE scholarship, along with other scholarships and internships, allowed me to graduate from college without debt. It also opened doors when interviewing for internships during my freshman year. My advice to students entering college is to do everything that you can during your freshmen year to secure a petroleum engineering internship and to maximize your GPA. The first round of tests in college is very important and sets the tone for the rest of the year. Contact me at

Omar Abou-Sayed - Chief Executive Officer at Advantek Waste Management Services

  • Clements High School - 1994
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Mechanical Engineering - 1998
  • Harvard Business School, MBA - 2004

Entering college, I had no intention of going to work in the oil industry. I had watched my parents, both of whom worked in the industry, go through round after round of layoffs, and it held little appeal. Also, what high schooler wants to be just like their parents? Moreover, the science of fluid flow through porous media was not my interest – I was far more drawn to more tangible aspects of engineering, like machines and structures. With the bubble headed into full swing, there were lots of more interesting options, I thought. 

There was one complication though. I had been fortunate enough to receive an SPE-GCS scholarship coming out of high school, and maintaining that scholarship required that I demonstrate tangible steps towards a career in oil and gas. As a mechanical engineering student, this meant joining the SPE Student Chapter and applying for internships with oil companies. When I was applying during my sophomore year, the only engineering companies willing to hire a student only two years into college were oil companies hiring for field positions. That summer, I went to work offshore as a roustabout for BP in the Gulf of Mexico. What I realized over the next two years was that the energy industry was behind everything that made our society work and made our standards of living high. I learned that it was among the most globally connected industries, a fact that appealed to my sense of adventure and deep interest in politics. The pay was great, and it afforded me the opportunity at a young age to travel, live and work overseas. As for the big machines and structures that were more my style, well, I’d gotten to crawl inside gas compressors the size of a semi-trailer after flying on a helicopter to land on some of the biggest structures in the ocean.

When I graduated, I turned down offers in consulting and dot.coms to go to work for BP.

My early career path included working in the upstream for BP for about five years in a variety of engineering and commercial roles, including an expatriate assignment in London. After that, I attended Harvard, where I received my MBA, and then re-entered the energy industry through various entrepreneurial ventures. I am now CEO of an oilfield waste management service company, which is funded by one of the largest private equity groups in the world.

My SPE-GCS scholarship created the impetus behind my exploration into a career in the oil industry despite my relatively superficial knowledge of it going into college. It also provided me credibility as an applicant for internships that cemented my pathway toward a good career in the industry. My advice to students is to make it a point connect with and find mentors in the industry through SPE, as they can be invaluable as you look for jobs and guidance over the next few years.


Suzanne Catherine Short - Petroleum Engineer specializing in artificial lift design and workover solutions

  • Cypress Falls High School - 2001
  • Texas Tech University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory was being selected for SPE and other academic scholarships, and feeling supported and encouraged to pursue my career goals. My career has included working in diverse environments around the world, and I've had many opportunities to work on challenging projects incorporating new technology. The SPE scholarship was a generous gift that brought me into a successful career in Petroleum Engineering. I was able to fully focus on my studies during college, and become better connected to SPE professional activities. My advice to students is to get excited about the possibilities of a career in Petroleum Engineering and appreciate the resources that are available in this industry. Contact me at


Jessica Yanosik

Jessica Yanosik - Director Corporate Planning & Strategy at ConocoPhillips

  • Cypress Creek High School - 2001
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Chemical Engineering

My favorite college memory was that it was great to get some industry exposure through organizations, professors and major sequence courses. It helped me learn the opportunities available and figure out where I wanted to start my career. I've had the opportunity to work abroad, travel and work on a lot of interesting projects. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped me fund my education and ultimately finish college with less debt. It also helped me to start building my network. My advice to students is that it’s never too early to start building your network. Take advantage of clubs and organizations like SPE to learn more about different career choices and what is happening in the industry. Contact me at



  • Baytown Sterling High School - 2000
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering
My favorite college memory was learning from all of the highly experienced professors in the UT petroleum engineering department. I started my career at Anadarko Petroleum, working coalbed methane and tight gas.  After 3 years there, I moved on to Exco Resources and entered the great gas shale rush of 2008-2011.  I worked primarily on completions in the Haynesville Shale.  In 2013, I moved to a small, private-equity backed start-up company called Brigham Resources, where we began assembling a large acreage position in the Permian Basin to drill horizontal Wolfcamp oil wells.  The SPE Scholarship was the primary driver in me switching from mechanical to petroleum engineering. My advice to students is that you will be cycle tested throughout your career.  Use every moment as a learning opportunity, especially the failures.


  • Houston Area High School - 2000
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Rice University, MBA

My favorite high school memory was studying at all hours in the study room with all of my peers. The SPE-GCS scholarship financially supported me throughout college and enabled me to complete my degree. My advice to students is that there is a world of opportunity is upon you as you embark upon the next step in your life. Choose wisely. Work hard. And most importantly, always have fun!

Sarah Elisabeth Kline (Dobbs)

Sarah Elisabeth Kline (Dobbs) - Global Wells Deepwater Completions Engineer at ConocoPhillips

  • Clements High School - 2000
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memory from college was discovering my passion for completions engineering. I held summer internship positions with Total and BP in production, drilling, and completions operations teams. My internship experiences and petroleum engineering classes (especially Dr. Mukul Sharma's classes) led me to pursue completions engineering, which I found to be an exciting blend of operational and reservoir engineering. I began my career with BP planning and executing hydraulically fractured completions in the Rockies. The last ten years of my career, however, have been spent specializing in deepwater sand control and other complex completions globally, but primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. My work has included offshore execution, completion design, and sandface and wellbore modeling. In my latest role at ConocoPhillips, I have the privilege to work alongside industry-known experts in our Global Wells team, designing and trouble-shooting complex completions worldwide. Receiving the SPE scholarship prompted me to contact the petroleum engineering departments at my potential universities. I received further scholarship offers from the universities, and learned more about the oil and gas industry and what it could uniquely offer to my future career. As fourth generation "oilfield trash", as my family kindly referred to me, I was no stranger to the industry, but meeting Susan Howes provided me with my first image of a female petroleum engineer and influenced my decision to major in petroleum engineering. The advice I would give to SPE-GCS scholarship students would be to have an open mind to the breadth of career opportunities in the oil and gas industry. There are so many unique roles, so be sure to find something you love. My colleagues who have been the most successful and the happiest in their careers are the ones who have found that niche that excites and challenges them. Contact me at

 Martin Pepper

Martin Willis Pepper, VP of Operations Lakeshore Operating, LLC

  • Alvin High School - 2000
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Mechanical Engineering

My favorite college memory was Graduation.  I had it all figured out and then I started working.  I worked hard every day with the idea I would own my own business and not work for the "man."  It took me longer than I thought but this year it’s time to come up with a new set of goals to achieve.  I had a number of small scholarships that helped my parents out tremendously.  SPE was probably one of the funniest stories that I can remember as it relates to scholarships.  I was a Mechanical Engineer and MEs could apply for the scholarship for the first year but year 2 engineers had to be PEs.  Out of the blue my dad calls me absolutely flaming mad at the start of my Sophomore year... why you ask?  SPE had called to ask my dad why I didn't reapply for the scholarship.  When I tell you he was mad, my dad was very mad that I was too "lazy" to reapply.  I suppose SPE changed their rules without telling anyone or too many scholarship winners didn't make the grade cut, but I was sure happy they awarded me the scholarship for my sophomore year if for any other reason than to calm my dad down.   My advice to current students is that you can be the smartest person on the planet but if you can't work with a team, you won't succeed in the oil industry.  Take your team work seriously and really try to figure out how to be a leader in a team environment. Contact me at

Rodney James

Rodney James – Assistant Vice President at Kanaly Trust

  • Spring High School - 1999
  • Texas A&M University, BA in Communication

For my favorite college memory, the most valuable education for me was outside the classroom. I am a Certified Financial Planner, and I help families organize and manage their financial affairs. My achievement is peace of mind for each client family. Without the SPE scholarship, I may not have gone to Texas A&M. The values and character developed at A&M prepared me to serve families today. My advice to students is to find work that you enjoy and think about the end of your life. Both lead to meaningful lives. Contact me at



Jared Klostermann - Staff Completions Engineer at Anadarko

  • Raymondville High School - 1999
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I have been in completion and production engineering roles in several locations in the US. Contact me at


Andrew Ellis

Andrew Ellis – Chief Operating Officer at Escondido Resources

  • Kingwood High School - 1999     
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite Memory related to my education had to be just graduating. I never had very good grades and it really Is a miracle that I graduated at all. Holding that degree today, no one ever asks me what my GPA was, they just ask what year I graduated! I have 7.5 years with Schlumberger working West and South Texas, then 2.5 years with Energen Resources as a Production Engineer, and 10 years with Escondido Resources, where I started as Completions/Production Engineer and have been promoted over time to my current position of Chief Operating Officer. I was President of the SPE Permian Basin Chapter. The SPE-GCS scholarship got me in the door I would say. Because of my poor grades I was not able to maintain the scholarship. However, at the Scholarship dinner I was able to meet some folks who were looking for summer interns and I was able to land my first summer intern job with UPRC. With my poor grades, I would have never been able to get a summer job like I had at UPRC, had it not been for the SPE scholarship that opened that door for me and my career. My advice to students is to be patient, this is a very cyclical business. Don't be picky, don't be scared to work in places you have never heard of, or to work in a job that requires more of you than you thought you could give. You are young, make sure you have realistic expectations and don't be scared ifreality forces you to change your expectations. Our industry can be very challenging and rewarding. You never know what door that is opened could lead you to a bright future. Contact me at

Ashley Henderson Troutman

Ashley Henderson Troutman – Drilling Engineer at BP

  • Tomball High School - 1999
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Chemical Engineering

My favorite college memory is my senior engineering design required many hours of teamwork, culminated in a design worthy of "real life" application and built friendships that I still maintain to this day. I have 11 years of work experience - primarily in drilling. I've worked in Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Alaska. I recently was the drilling engineer for a multi-lateral well in Colorado which came on as the #7 top producing well in the basin. The SPE-GCS scholarship opened my eyes to a career in the oil and gas industry, particularly the upstream environment. This awareness drove me to pursue internships with oil and gas operators thereby launching my career with one of the top operators in the world. My advice to students is to never stop learning, encourage curiosity and strive for answers to all of your "why" questions. Contact me at




  • Oak Ridge High School - 1999
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, MS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is getting my Aggie Ring. I am working for DeGolyer and MacNaughton. During my freshman year I earned the Gulf Coast Section Scholarship. My advice to students is to focus on grades once you get to college to hold onto your scholarship. 

Thomas Belsha

Thomas Carl Belsha Jr. – Integration Manager at LINN Energy

  • Katy Taylor High School - 1998    
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite academic related college memories were studying with friends and working on difficult projects together.  I decided to pursue Petroleum Engineering in 1998 and received a SPE-GCS scholarship.  That scholarship gave me the opportunity to work as a "marine roustabout" for Diamond Offshore on a drilling platform ~ 100 miles offshore in the Gulf the summer between high school and college.  This was a fantastic experience and increased my desire to pursue Petroleum Engineering.  Getting as much practical hands-on field experience prior to and during college is one of the best ways to enhance your career.  The Petroleum Department at Texas A&M was very focused on us finding internships and because of my SPE scholarship internship experience I was able to get a field internship with Burlington Resources.  I worked as a lease operator in the Louisiana swamps and was invited back as a Production Engineer.  I started “grave to cradle”, learning plug and abandonment operations first and then moving to workovers, completions, and economic analysis. My final summer, I worked as a reservoir / geology intern in Farmington, NM for Burlington in the San Juan Basin.  That summer I learned how to make structural and strati-graphic cross-sections, perform log analysis and how to combine that into drilling recommendations.  I was offered a full time position in for Burlington and spent 4 years working as a Production / Completion Engineer, mainly working in the swamps of our field in south Louisiana.  I shortly transferred into Business Development and after Burlington was acquired by ConocoPhillips, I spent a year in the field as a drilling engineer / company man in the ETX Deep Bossier play and moved to Reservoir Engineering.  In 2007, I took a position as a BD Engineer with LINN Energy and spent the next 3 years working deal evaluations, corporate planning / budgeting and portfolio analysis.  I then transferred to operations and spent the next 3 years as a Production Manager over field operations.  In 2014, I started an Integration / Data Management team to improve our integrations and data issues resulting from over 60 acquisitions.  I lead a multi-disciplined team comprised of operations, accounting and IT personnel to build a Master Data Management solution and improve the integration process.  The SPE scholarship I received helped me decide to pursue petroleum engineering and the summer internship after high school gave me a great advantage early in my career.  My advice to students is to make a plan and strive toward that goal, even if the plan changes later on, you will learn and grow much more by working towards a path you chose.  Also, be a sponge and get significant field experience early in your career.



  • Spring High School - 1998
  • Texas A&M University- College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memories are passing the EIT test and receiving my diploma. I have been working for 13 years in the service and operator side of the oil and gas industry for a major service provider and then smaller independent public and private O&G operators. The SPE-GCS Scholarship helped convince and motivate me to go into Petroleum engineering as opposed to Chemical engineering and ultimately led to a much smaller student loan bill after graduating. My advice to students is to get an internship every summer starting as young as possible, even before your freshman year in college. Polish your resume and ensure it is grammatically and punctually correct. Begin looking into an internship at the START of the school year and apply to as many companies as possible. 

Jaime Villatoro

Jaime Villatoro – Petroleum Engineer, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

  • Klein Forest High School - 1998
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is working on a pragmatic senior design team and beating the "A" team on a variety of senior design evaluations and final recommendations. I am a Senior Reservoir Engineer with over 10 years of diverse experience. My experience includes onshore and offshore in a variety of basins globally with independents, a major and a service company. I have co-authored 7 technical papers and presented at 3 conferences. One of my most recent accomplishments was during a Deepwater field redevelopment campaign where I was the well lead for 2 of 4 wells and Reservoir Engineer for 4 of 6 reservoirs. As part of the well lead role, I managed an integrated team in multiple locations and worked with cross-disciplinary teams to ensure timely delivery of spud ready wells. I have served as an active SPE volunteer with leadership roles - SPE GCS, LA, Delta and UT Austin student chapter. In the Gulf Coast Section, I served in the Reservoir Study Group (Chair, Treasurer and Vice-Chair), Emerging Leaders Program Board Treasurer, Career Management Committee and Scholarship Committee. In the Los Angeles Section, I served on the Section Board and Co-Chaired a Cross Generational Workshop. My choice in career was independent of the SPE GCS scholarship. However, it provided major financial support allowing me to better focus on my studies during school and only work during the summers. I graduated with minimal debt thanks in part to the SPE GCS scholarship program. My advice to students is to place a high emphasis on communication skills, give considerable thought to a career in the oil industry due to the very volatile nature of this business, have a career back-up plan and be flexible/search wide for jobs. At the end of the day, in this industry relationships and communicating your value matter the most. Contact me at

Justin Raithel

Justin Raithel - Chief Operating Officer at Revolutions Naturopathic

  • The Woodlands High School - 1998    
  • Colorado School of Mines, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is the times I spent with my fraternity brothers. I still see a number of them regularly even though many of us work around the world. It's a great network and many jobs and projects have been furthered through our friendship. I spent 10 years as a petroleum engineer - 4 years domestically, 2 years in London and 4 years in Algeria in engineering roles of increasing responsibility. At the time, I was the youngest engineer to be sent overseas for Anadarko Petroleum. I did get my license as a PE in California but I got out of the industry 3 years ago to run my wife's medical company and a real estate investment company. My earnings as a petroleum engineer started my wife's company which now employs 15 people and is about to expand again. I served as SPE Student Treasurer, API/SPE Golf Tournament Fundraising Co-Chair (Casper Section), Emerging Leaders Program Treasurer (Gulf Coast Section), Awards Banquet Fundraising Chair (Gulf Coast Section), and Membership Chair (Amarillo). I planned on being a mechanical engineer so the SPE scholarship altered my career path. It piqued my interest in petroleum, so I took an introductory class my freshman year and completed an internship with Mobil my first summer which sealed the deal for me. I wanted to travel and live overseas and petroleum engineering was a clear way to accomplish this personal goal of mine. My advice to students is that the corporate office is important but wouldn't exist without the fields. Spend time learning the operations, the equipment and the processes. Form relationships with your field personnel and you will be able to utilize their expertise throughout your career. 



  • Deer Park High School - 1998    
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite memories of college include TAMU Petroleum Department camaraderie: playing dominos in the lounge, study groups, field trips, etc. I am a professional Petroleum Engineer with experience in leadership, investor relations, project management, business planning, reservoir, production and completion roles in both the development and exploration side of the organization. I have worked a variety of fields and plays including unconventional resources, tight gas sands and conventional oil and gas in onshore U. S. and the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. I served as SPE Student - Secretary for TAMU Chapter in 2001-02. My SPE-GCS scholarship led me to my first summer internship after high school and convinced me that Petroleum Engineering was the correct career choice for me. My advice to students is to be proactive. Seek opportunities to learn, network and grow. They may not fall into your lap, but if they do, commit the effort and it will get noticed.

Shelley Lynn (Dunham) Kubik

Shelley Lynn (Dunham) Kubik -PRB Subsurface Supervisor at Anadarko Petroleum

  • Klein Oak High School - 1998
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

I have many fond memories of my time at UT-Austin: all-nighters at the Petroleum Engineering Building, SPE events, and meals at the Crown and Anchor with classmates.  I was SPE Student Chapter President during my senior year of college.  After completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Petroleum Engineering, I was hired by Kerr McGee.  I began my career working operations in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), with aspirations to move into completions and ultimately, management.  Anadarko purchased Kerr-McGee in 2006, and since the acquisition I’ve spent my time in various reservoir roles in the Rockies including Surveillance Engineer, Planning Engineer, Subsurface Manager, with a few forays into Business Development.  It is amazing how different your career can be from early expectations if you are open to it!  I am grateful to the SPE-GCS for the scholarship I was awarded.  Their financial commitment to my education encouraged me pursue Petroleum Engineering as a major.   My advice to current and future students is to study hard, pursue industry internships, make great connections, and have some fun!  Contact me at 

Brian Wilbanks

Brian A. Wilbanks - Senior Vice President, Acquisitions and Divestitures, Hilcorp

  • Texas A&M University, BS, Petroleum Engineering - 2002
  • University of Texas at Austin, MBA - 2010

My favorite memory of college was a 12-hour-long final exam for my petroleum engineer well testing class at the end of my junior year. We started the exam in the afternoon and finished late into the night. That evening was a good introduction to how much hard work and focus are necessary to persevere and be successful in the workforce.

It's been an adventurous ride since receiving the SPE scholarship. My earliest days in engineering were spent in the field learning how oilfield operations run and how to execute basic projects. I moved on to more technical engineering roles, such as designing new drill wells and new completions and facilities, and eventually moving into technical reserves consulting. After graduate school, my career shifted away from technical engineering work and moved toward commercial analysis and overall management. I worked in energy investment banking and eventually moved into the acquisitions and divestitures world, which is what I do today.

Receiving the SPE scholarship was the beginning of my professional career and serves as its foundation to this day. I was given the opportunity to work in the internship program at Anadarko Petroleum before beginning college. The guidance, mentorship and exposure I received in that program absolutely shaped the outcome of my college years.

My advice to today’s scholarship recipients is to always believe in yourself and be prepared to constantly reinvent yourself. The energy business is constantly changing and evolving. Don't get comfortable and complacent. Take the road less travelled and always be a student of knowledge. 



  • Santa Fe High School - 1997
  • University of Houston, BS in Chemistry
  • South Texas College of Law, Juris Doctor
  • University of Houston, Master of Laws

My favorite college memory is working as a research assistant studying superconductivity.  I’m a patent attorney, and I have passed the Texas Bar and patent bar.  The SPE scholarship helped reduce my personal costs for obtaining my undergraduate degree, which allowed me more time to focus on classwork as opposed to working to pay for school.

Reynaldo Anthony Saludares

Reynaldo Anthony Saludares - Midstream Corporate Planning Manager at Anadarko Petroleum

  • Nimitz High School - 1996
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Petroleum Engineering

As the oldest of three children born and raised near the Greenspoint area in Houston, I’m a first-generation college graduate. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000 and my professional engineering license from the State of Texas five years later.

 Since joining Anadarko in 2000, I have enjoyed a successful career holding multiple engineering positions of increasing responsibilities, including Production and Reservoir Engineering, E&P and Midstream Planning, International Commercial Negotiations, and Program/Project Management. In this time, I’ve remained active in high school and college recruiting, encouraging students to pursue engineering careers.

 In addition, I have held numerous leadership roles as an active member for the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Gulf Coast Section (SPE-GCS), including Education Chair (2010-2012), Scholarship and Internship Chair (2008-2010), Awards Banquet Chair (2006) and ELP Roughneck Camp Chair (2004). I’m also honored to be the recipient of several SPE-GCS awards, including Young Engineer of the Year (2008), Young Member Outstanding Service (2007) and Regional Service (2009).

 The SPE-GCS scholarship opened the doors to multiple scholarship, internship and employment opportunities. Exposure to the engineering field and the oil and natural gas industry ultimately influenced my change in majors from Engineering Route to Business to Petroleum Engineering. I had the ability to focus on my education rather than attempt to balance education and employment.   

 I am happily married to Karla and am the proud father of two beautiful children, Sophia Alexis, 8, and Vincent Andres, 6. I firmly promote the Golden Rule of Life and practice work/life balance. As the keynote speaker at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ Regional Leadership Development Conference, my motivational speech focused on seven key drivers to personal and professional success:

  •  No Goals, No Glory
  • Failure is Not an Option
  • Adversity is Opportunity in Disguise
  • The Only Constant is Change
  • Perception is Reality
  • Build a Reliable Network
  • ”Family:  A Group Experience of Love and Support”

Contact me at


John M. Hollier - Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine

  • Eisenhower High School - 1996
  • Xavier University of Louisiana, BS in Biochemistry and Physics
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Doctor of Medicine
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Doctor of Medicine       

My favorite college memories are the atmosphere of learning and the challenge of thinking outside of the box. I am currently a pediatric gastroenterology physician at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. The SPE scholarship helped me gain experience in the oil industry before I pursued my journey in medicine.  My advice to current students is to shoot for the stars...        

Chad Paul Roesle

Chad Paul Roesle - Product Management & Strategy Leader, Cisco

  • Dulles High School - 1995
  • University of Texas at Austin, BS in Computer Engineering
  • University of Texas at Austin, Master of Electrical/Computer Engineering
  • IE Business School, Executive MBA

My favorite college memories are building new friendships and UT football. I spent 15 years at Dell across many leadership positions, including Chief of Staff to Dell's Chief Technology Officer. I recently moved to a leadership position at Cisco. The SPE-GCS scholarship helped to pay the extensive expenses associated with obtaining my degree, making it easier for me to focus on my studies and make the most of my time in college. My advice to students is that hard work and dedication now will yield long-lasting and cumulative results over the rest of your life. Contact me at

Ravi Meka

Ravi Meka - Business Development Manager at Murphy Oil (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

  • Clear Lake High School - 1995
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Petroleum Engineering - 1999
  • University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, MBA - 2007

My favorite memory from college was my first summer internship at Marathon Oil in the Sakhalin II project team.  Marathon was leading an international partnership to develop a billion barrel oil discovery in difficult conditions off the east coast of Russia.  To meet the engineering hurdles and timeline, work was being done simultaneously in Houston, Korea, Japan, Russia, and Canada and vendors from all over the world were involved.  That was my first real exposure to both how global the oil and gas business is and how enormous the investments and challenges are in developing large oil and gas fields.

Following graduation, I worked for Marathon in Houston as a reservoir engineer in business development and then moved on to roles in finance and strategic planning.  During this time I participated in a number of significant transactions for the company including its exit from Sakhalin and entry into Equatorial Guinea.  After six years at Marathon, I left to attend business school full time and then spent a number of years in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.  This gave me the opportunity to work inside a number of different oil & gas and service companies and learn about the many functions needed for organizations to work well, ranging from corporate strategy to field operations.  It also gave me the chance to spend time working overseas in Canada, Indonesia and South Africa which taught me about how the oil business works in other countries and how to work in other cultures.

I currently work for Murphy Oil in Malaysia in a business development role which allows me to use both my technical background and business skills.  I work with a team of engineers and G&G professionals to identify, evaluate, and secure new exploration and production assets for our businesses in Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Australia.

I served as SPE Gulf Coast Section Scholarship Chair for a number of years.  The SPE–GCS scholarship made possible my education and helped me get my summer internship with Marathon Oil, which then led to a full time offer.  I had the privilege of graduating debt free courtesy of scholarships and internships, and had a full-time job waiting for me upon graduation.  Without SPE’s support, I wouldn't be where I am today.  My advice to students it that despite the current price environment, the oil & gas industry is and will continue to be an exciting place to work in the US and around the world. 

Christopher Leonidas Leman, Jr.

Christopher Leonidas Leman, Jr. - Mechanical Engineer at Oceaneering Deepwater Technical Solutions

  • Crosby High School - 1995
  • Rice University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

My favorite college memory is thermodynamics where we had an interesting professor, Dr. Chapman. I've split time between Aerospace and the Oilfield. I recently won an Offshore -Technology Conference Spotlight on Technology Award for the Deepwater Pile Dredge. The SPE-GCS scholarship provided financial assistance that was much appreciated. My advice to students is to be flexible. Oil is a commodity and subject to boom and bust cycles. Going through a bust is a pretty harrowing experience. Contact me at



  • Bellaire High School - 1995
  • Stanford, BS in Computer Engineering, Masters of Electrical Engineering
  • University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Masters of Business Administration

My favorite college memories are that I enjoyed a variety of classes.  I worked as a software developer, then a product manager, and then went back to software development.  The SPE Scholarship helped pay for some of my education.



  • St. John's High School - 1994
  • Stanford, BS in Earth Systems (interdisciplinary environmental science/policy)
  • Stanford, MS in Earth Systems

I work in energy still, but in electricity.


Blake Jennings

Blake Jennings - Teaching Pastor at Grace Bible Church

  • Tomball High School - 1994
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Mechanical Engineering
  • Dallas Theological Seminary, Masters of Theology

My favorite college memory was leading the team that built Texas A&M's solar car entry for the 1997 Sunrace. We spent 18 months designing, building, and testing a scratch-built solar car. We then raced it from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs and won 4th place out of 36 entries. I worked as a Mechanical Engineer in the electric vehicle industry for only about 18 months after college before entering the ministry. I received my Masters of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and have served as a Teaching Pastor at Grace Bible Church back in College Station for the last 12 years. My SPE scholarship made it possible for me to attend Texas A&M, which led to every other career opportunity I've received. My advice to students is that your college years are a gift you should take full advantage of. Study hard. Try new things. Meet interesting people. But above all else, decide what kind of person you will be in life. The decisions you make during these few years will shape the rest of your life in ways you can't yet imagine. Contact me at

Gwendolyn Dawson

Gwendolyn Dawson - Managing Counsel, Exxon Mobil Corporation

  • Tomball High School - 1994
  • Rice University, BS in Chemical Engineering - 1998
  • University of Texas at Austin, Juris Doctorate - 2001

I am currently Managing Counsel at Exxon Mobil Corporation. From my office in Houston, Texas, I supervise a team of lawyers and support staff that handles ExxonMobil’s commercial, tort and intellectual property litigation. While I’m not working as an engineer, my engineering education helps me in my job every day, from understanding the complexities of oil and gas operations, to grasping the technical details of a patent involved in a patent infringement lawsuit. 

In prior assignments within ExxonMobil, I provided legal support to the company’s natural gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) businesses around the world, as well as to domestic and international oil and gas production projects. Prior to joining the ExxonMobil legal team in 2007, I worked in private practice at King & Spalding LLP and Vinson & Elkins LLP, focusing on disputes involving energy industry clients. 

I am definitely a better lawyer thanks to my engineering background – and to the SPE for giving me a scholarship that encouraged me to pursue engineering at Rice University. My advice to students is to think about the career you want before choosing a college major and to choose the best major to move you toward that career – but to keep an open mind. An engineering degree opens many doors, including many that lead to fulfilling, non-engineering careers. Contact me at


David S. Abrams - Professor of Law, Business Economics and Public Policy at University of Pennsylvania Law School and Wharton

  • Bellaire High School - 1994
  • Harvard, BS in Physics
  • Stanford, Masters in Physics
  • MIT, PhD in Economics
I really enjoyed taking courses on all sorts of subjects, not just in my major (physics).  Some of my favorite classes included Introduction to Indo-European languages, Archaeometry (scientific archeology) and a class on Freud and C. S. Lewis.  Each semester I always spent the night before the first day of classes trying to winnow down my list of 20-30 prospective courses to something a bit more manageable.  I started out as a physics major at Harvard, then worked briefly for a quantitative hedge fund before starting a PhD in physics at Stanford.  While researching dark matter, I learned about behavioral and experimental economics, which lead me to a leave of absence and ultimately to a PhD in economics at MIT.  While there, my interests grew again as I discovered law and economics.  I am happy to say, that is what I still do now, as a Law Professor at Penn and Wharton.  The SPE scholarship allowed me to take on more interesting (and lower-paying) jobs in college that helped me develop my interest and knowledge of physics.  By working in physics labs and as a math teaching assistant I learned that I really liked the academic environment and would like that kind of career.  My advice to current students is to learn programming and statistics.  If you have those skills, you will always find a job.    Beyond that, take the time in college to pursue whatever interests you, no matter how outlandish.  It may be the only time in your life that you have the time and access to learn about ancient Etruscan poetry. Contact me at
Brooke Ellen Bradburn

Brooke Ellen Bradburn - Reservoir Management Organizational Capability Consultant at Chevron

  • Liberty Creek High School - 1993
  • Texas A&M University, BS in Petroleum Engineering

Winning an SPE-GCS scholarship was the springboard to an exciting career in petroleum engineering (21 years in the industry and counting!). Though my grandfather worked on a cementing truck for Halliburton, my first real exposure to the industry was a trip to OTC with my drilling engineer neighbor, Wade Davis. I was fascinated by the large equipment and technology. Within 24 months, I was interning with Texaco as a roustabout in Midland, Texas. I finished college with four internships at three different companies. My internships helped me set goals for my college experience and understand my long-term career opportunities. They allowed me to build a diverse network of mentors and colleagues to support me throughout my career. My senior internship with Chevron was the stepping stone for me to spend 15 years working in reservoir engineering and team lead assignments in North America tight reservoirs like East Texas Cotton Valley, Haynesville Shale and Piceance Basin. I have also enjoyed working offshore in Angola, business planning and organizational capability. Currently, I am a Reservoir Management Consultant developing Chevron’s organizational capability strategy for Petroleum Engineers and Earth Scientists. I have several pieces of advice that I share with every student I meet: take advantage of a summer internship EVERY summer, work hard to maintain your network of support and give of your time and resources to your community as a thank you to those who helped you achieve your goals. Contact me at


Jason Troy Rhodes - Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of the Cerebral Palsy and Neuromuscular Program within the Orthopedics Institutes at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO

  • Cypress Creek High School - 1993
  • Texas A&M University - College Station, BS in Mechanical Engineering
  • Baylor College of Medicine, Masters of Science in Rehabilitation Technology
  • Baylor College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine

My favorite college memories are the Texas A&M University Mechanical Engineering Propane Vehicle Challenge and the engine testing program in which I designed and participated in.  I have 2 advanced degrees, and now I am a practicing orthopaedic surgeon specializing in gait disorders that are evaluated in the Center for Gait and Motion Analysis at Children’s Hospital Colorado. I then perform surgeries and treatments to improve the functional gait of children with neuromuscular disorders and other diagnoses that affect their gait.  The SPE Gulf Coast Section scholarship helped fund my undergraduate education in mechanical engineering which then lead to my graduate education and current career that utilizes biomechanics and medicine to treat and take care of children.  My advice to students is to continue to work hard in school no matter what path you have chosen, as a successful engineer can enter many different career paths.  Contact me at


Dan McCulley

  • Cypress FairHigh School - 1993
  • Rice University - BS in Materials Science
In my design class, we had to build a system to protect a radio from 500 c temperatures for 4 hours.  I built something based on vacuum and space shuttle tiles. I totally forgot to use PV = NRT and my vacuum disappeared at those temperatures.  This exposure to complete abject failure was my most memorable experience in college.  I work at Intel. My job is to investigate new technology that might improve the way Intel manufactures and then ensure we adopt it before our peers. In addition, I build technology prototypes for internal and external exhibition. I do STEM outreach for Intel with the Maker movement. I also do government affairs outreach for Intel.  The SPE scholarship helped me with books during my studies. My exposure to SPE co