SPE young professionals use several platforms to educate the younger generation about the energy industry and the advantages of opting for a career in a STEM field (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). They use SPE’s Ambassador Lecturer Program, Energy4Me, and social media to reach out to budding engineers, and some also volunteer to teach science classes in local schools. Below are highlights from such recent activities.
In a recent SPE social media video message during the Engineers Week in February, TWA Editors Yogashri Pradhan and Islin Munisteri encouraged more young girls to enter the engineering profession.
A production engineer for Texas Oil and Gas Institute, Yogashri shared how she built her passion for engineering from childhood with the help of her network of mentors and teachers. She said, “By age five or six, kids learn which occupations are acceptable to them. The more we create a supporting environment for girls regarding math, science, or engineering, the more we can generate young female engineers.”
Munisteri, a petroleum reservoir engineer at the state of Alaska, shared beautiful areal pictures of her workplace in Alaska, explaining that the travel opportunities the oil and gas industry has provided her was what she enjoys most about her job. Her advice to young girls entering engineering: “You really need to be a good problem solver with an appetite for tenacity. My favorite thing about the work I do is the collaborative nature of it. We don’t work in a vacuum.”
Vikrant Lakhanpal, SPE Gulf Coast Section member, recently visited the Olle Middle School in Houston (picture above) for an Energy4me presentation on the topic “Energy: How It Makes Our Lives Easier.” A production engineer at Proline Energy Resources, he spoke with the students about the steps involved in energy production from oil and gas—geological exploration, drilling, production, transportation, and refining.
He explained to the students how the world will still depend on oil and gas 30 years from now, and that even with a lot of research taking place in the renewable sector, it is not possible to become completely fossil-fuel-independent. He also emphasized that oil production is a multidisciplinary science, and the basic principles of science are applied at each stage.
“It was interesting to understand what the young minds think about petroleum engineering as a career. … I sometimes hear students ask why a certain subject is being taught to them,” Lakhanpal said. “They think it won’t be of any use in the future. That’s exactly why I wanted to give them the technical details of how things actually work. I wanted them to realize that petroleum engineering is not something out of the world; it is based on the principles of physics used to extract oil from ground.”
A trivia question Lakhanpal offeredat the end of the presentation had a very good response and showed that the students absorbed the information presented and engaged in the topic. “They asked questions about which courses to take, whether to go for an associate degree or a master’s degree. … I am glad I could make a difference and motivate them to take up STEM education. I will definitely make myself available again for such opportunities in the future.”
Visit the Energy4Me page to learn more about the program and how to get involved.