SPE Ambassador Lecturer Program Visits Student Chapters

Young professionals have visited several student chapters this year to talk about their experiences in the petroleum industry as part of SPE’s Ambassador Lecturer Pilot Program.

The SPE U. of Dundee Student Chapter held its first large-scale event in May with a seminar on “Careers in the Petroleum Industry” sponsored by the SPE Ambassador Lecturer Pilot Program. The seminar aimed to educate students about the importance of energy and petroleum in the world, attract new members to the chapter, and provide students with information on career opportunities.

The seminar included two presentations. The first presentation was given by Gillian King of Weatherford U.K. Ltd., who spoke about the petroleum sector and the growing importance of energy in global development. King also discussed her career path and the varying job opportunities that the petroleum sector can offer to graduates. The second presentation discussed the results achieved by the chapter since its establishment, the benefits of SPE membership for students, and how SPE can assist graduates with their career development.

The Dundee Chapter was happy with the attendance level at the seminar and obtained positive feedback regarding it. The chapter has plans to conduct additional educational seminars and social events in the near future. The SPE U. of Dundee Student Chapter was established in 2005 in conjunction with the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, and Mineral Law and Policy at Dundee. Membership is made up of post-graduate students, most of whom are not engineers but are studying the energy and the petroleum sector as part of their degree plan. It has approximately 150 members.

The Ambassador Lecturer Pilot Program also was hosted by the SPE Heriot-Watt U. Student Chapter in Edinburgh on 27 April. Natalie Pestana, a reservoir engineer with Shell in Aberdeen, gave a 45-minute presentation about her experience as an SPE member and also emphasized how SPE helps to build bridges between students and industry.

In part of her talk, she spoke about the energy industry, the importance of oil and gas in providing energy for the future, how she built her career as a successful petroleum professional, and how she has benefited from her association with SPE since her graduation. She presented some interesting facts about the world energy market and the future it holds for the students who will be graduating soon.

Oil and gas will remain the main source of energy in the near future, she said. She also spoke of the shortage of skilled professionals in the industry and the opportunities this affords graduating students and young professionals. The students were particularly interested to know more about how it feels to be in the petroleum industry once you have graduated, how they will fit in, and if they will have sufficient knowledge to make a contribution when they join the industry.

Pestana also spoke to members of the SPE U. of Miskolc Student Chapter in April. This chapter was founded in 1992 and has 25 Hungarian, Italian, and Arabian members. Pestana told members of the benefits of being an SPE member as a student and a young professional, described her experience in the industry, and gave some career advice to the students.

Students said the presentation was of value not only because of the opportunity to get good advice from a working professional, but also because it afforded a discussion of industry issues from a female professional’s perspective. The presentation was very relevant because most of the chapter’s graduates (e.g., 60% the previous year) work abroad for international companies.


Natalie Pestana of Shell speaks at Heriot-Watt U.


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