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First SPE Student Summit Paves Way for Professional Development, Opportunities

The SPE student chapter of Texas A&M University recently hosted the first SPE Student Summit, a two-day event consisting of topics relevant to young petroleum engineers. The summit presented speeches from 20 experts from industry and academia, two panel discussions, and a technology exhibition. In addition, the SPE Gulf Coast Section Young Professionals Committee organized a social event to promote interaction among students and young professionals in the industry.

The theme of the summit, “Setting the Stage for the Big Crew Change,” focused on reinforcing key competencies required for future engineers, and expanding technical knowledge and professional awareness early in their careers. Topics covered the future of energy, exploring career opportunities, land management, and research careers in petroleum engineering, among others.

More than 130 undergraduate and graduate petroleum engineering students attended the conference represented by six universities: Texas A&M, University of Tulsa, University of Wyoming, University of Oklahoma, University of Houston, and Rice University.

Keynote speakers were Thomas A. Blasingame of Texas A&M, Mark Albers of Exxon­Mobil, and John Hollowell of Shell.

Other speakers who participated in the lectures and panel sessions were 2010 SPE President Behrooz Fattahi of Aera Energy, Michael Economides of the University of Houston, Susan Howes of Chevron, Ray Flumerfelt of Pioneer Resources, Linda Capuano of Marathon, Najib Abusalbi of Schlumberger, Christine Ehlig-Economides of Texas A&M, and Ford Brett of PetroSkills.

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SPE Members Nominated for New Faces of Engineering Awards

SPE members Flavia Mara Guzman Villarroel and Moustafa Ezzat were nominated by SPE for the 2012 New Faces of Engineering recognition by the National Engineers Week Foundation.

The annual program highlights the interesting and unique work of young engineers and their positive impact on society, focusing on engineers who are two to five years out of school. The foundation is a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations, and government agencies, and each year, it asks its members to nominate colleagues age 30 and younger as one of the New Faces of Engineering. The program began in 2003.

“This was an unexpected recognition, but something I am very humbled and honored by,” said Villarroel, 28, a geomechanics specialist at Baker Hughes.

“If I was to offer advice to the next generation of engineers, I would tell them to always act with excellence, integrity, and ethics,” she said. “If you need to make choices, always choose the right one. And finally, once I was on a vacation trip and I read on the street: ‘To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.’ I adopted this. And it works.”

Ezzat is in his fifth year of studies at the British University in Egypt. He has honed his communications, networking, and technical skills as a co-founder and active member of the university’s SPE student chapter. This is the first year that the foundation and its partners have expanded the program to recognize the best and brightest engineering students with the new College Edition.

Fifteen engineering students in their third, fourth, or fifth year of studies were selected. The winners are recognized for academic excellence, leadership in student organizations, outstanding communication skills, nonengineering-related community service, and involvement in the engineering industry.