Engineering Careers

Space? Petroleum Engineering? Yes, There’s a Connection!

Just like with any industry, there is always an eye to the future. This also rings true regarding the future of petroleum engineering. In the March issue of the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT), an article titled “Exploring the Deep Earth and Deep Space: What role does the petroleum industry play?” dove deep into the subject.

The article has interesting points about the future of petroleum engineering in space including how exciting hydrocarbon discoveries of mind-bending quantities are being made in the far reaches of our solar system and even in our own Milky Way galaxy. 

It also references a new paper by scientists on NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission, which finds that blocks of hydrocarbon ice might float upon the surface of existing lakes and seas of liquid methane, and ethane on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. 


Keeping alive the interplay between advances in understanding deep Earth, deep space, and the needs of the petroleum industry may lead us to a future shaped more by the intersection of these pursuits. 

What do you think? Would you take your career to space?

Send us a note to if you would like a copy of the article.

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Know any Inspirational Teachers?

Energy4me has worked with a variety of great partners in promoting energy education. One such partner is the National Engineers Week Foundation. They share our belief that the role teachers play in introducing secondary students to various engineering or STEM careers, is a vital one. The recognition of such teachers is equally important.  It is also one of the reasons we’re excited to make you aware of the 2013 call for nominations for the National Engineers Week Foundation DiscoverE Educator Awards! 

The awards are shining a spotlight on educators who are inspiring tomorrow’s innovation generation. By honoring the teachers who are hard at work in 6th to 12th grade classrooms around the world, the engineering profession wants to show its appreciation and respect for helping students discover engineering.  Unique to this program, engineers and engineering students (college or graduate level) are part of the nomination process. RUP18369

Nominations will be accepted NOW through 8 March 2013, and winners will be announced in April 2013. Up to three winners will each receive a trip to Washington, D.C., USA for recognition in June 2013, a $2,000 cash prize, 3M digital projector, and 3M gift pack of classroom supplies! Their engineer/student nominators will also receive a trip to Washington, D.C. 

Established in 2012, the program seeks to uncover compelling stories of exceptional teachers who have made an impact on their students’ lives. If you have someone who has inspired your career or know of an engineer whose teacher inspired them, we hope you will consider nominating them for this award. 

The nomination form and additional program details are available HERE.

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National Engineers Week Foundation’s “New Faces of Engineering- College Edition” returns for 2nd year!



Applications Now Available at Facebook.Com/CollegeEdition


WASHINGTON DC, September 18, 2012 — New Faces of Engineering – College Edition returns for its second year to recognize some of the nation’s most promising undergraduate engineering students.  Applications are now available at  The deadline for submission is Friday, November 16.  Nominees will be announced during Engineers Week, 2013 (February 17-23).  Winners will be announced on April 2 and will receive scholarships and national recognition in print and online.

In its successful inaugural year, College Edition’s 15 honorees represented a cross-section of interests, specialties and backgrounds.  One of last year’s winners, DeeAnn Turpin, is a Biological Systems Engineering major at Kansas State University and an active member of Engineers Without Borders.  DeeAnn was nominated by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and as an honoree, she was able to participate as a judge in the Future City Competition’s national finals (  DeeAnn shared her enthusiasm on Facebook: “I am very honored to have been selected for the New Faces of Engineering College Edition Award and I am proud to represent EWB, SHPE, and K-State! Go Cats!!”

The College Edition Facebook page recognizes the achievements of third, fourth and fifth year engineering students and provides a forum where students can communicate with the Foundation throughout the year.  The page also provides a source of academic and professional development opportunities available to them from National Engineers Week Foundation’s engineering association, university, and corporate partners.  Students can meet with their engineering peers in every field and learn about other events, licensure exams, internships, jobs, competitions, engineering associations and more.   

The College Edition application requires the student’s photo (jpg format), list of accomplishments, and four short essays.  To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Engineering program at an ABET Accredited college or university or from an equivalent international educational institution and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Students must also be affiliated with one of the following engineering associations: 

  • SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers)
  • AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers)
  • AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society)
  • ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers)
  • ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers)
  • ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers)
  • ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
  • CIE-USA (Chinese Institute of Engineers)
  • IEEE-USA (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
  • NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering)
  • NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers)
  • NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers)
  • NOGLSTP (National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals)
  • SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)
  • SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers)

Students that do not currently belong to an above society may still join a participating organization. For more information, go to

New Faces of Engineering – College Edition is inspired by the National Engineers Week Foundation’s highly successful New Faces of Engineering program which, for ten years, has honored the nation’s top young professionals.  Funding for New Faces of Engineering – College Edition is provided by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying). 

“NCEES is excited to again sponsor New Faces of Engineering – College Edition and build on its success of recognizing outstanding engineering students and raising awareness of the importance of professional engineering in our everyday lives,” says NCEES Immediate Past President and 2013 EWeek Chair Dale Jans, P.E.  “By providing a dynamic online presence, the program is designed to help all engineering students connect and find the resources they need for their future careers.” 

About National Engineers Week Foundation

The National Engineers Week Foundation works year-round to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession critical to public health, safety, and welfare.  The Foundation supports engineering outreach, education, and celebration through a network of thousands of volunteers in its partner coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences, and making science and math relevant. The Foundation and coalition are actively putting the E in STEM.

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Visit a Petroleum Museum… They Tell Fascinating Stories!

Want to enhance your knowledge of the petroleum industry? How about a petroleum museum! At the museums, watch history come to life with interactive displays, informative guides, and live demonstrations. Some even have specific, focused, elementary, middle and high school educational tours. From Calgary to France to West Virginia, petroleum museums tell fascinating stories of oil discovery, production, to showcasing some of the modern uses of oil you might not know about.

For instance, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Energy exhibit, the Exploration gallery features the latest techniques used to search for hydrocarbons, from magnetometers and gravimeters to seismic vibrator trucks. In the Geology in the Field interactive, gaze across a barren, mountainous landscape, and watch as holographic illusions of two petroleum geologists materialize and explain what they are doing in the middle of nowhere. A massive Vibroseis truck interrupts them, sending its booming vibrations deep into the rock below.

At the Indonesian Oil and Gas Museum, the exhibits display how important the role of oil and gas is as the source of energy, for fuel, lubricants and petrochemical products. There’s even an oil tree that symbolically displays at its branches various products resulting from the refinery processes of oil and gas.

Check out our full petroleum museum listings HERE. Have plans to attend one on the list? Share your experience with us by Joining the conversation on Facebook— You can also connect with us on Twitter at!  

Energy Education Showcase at the World’s Foremost Offshore Resources Event

As a participating organization, The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is working with the Offshore Technology Conference (which runs 30 April through May 3) for an energy education initiative.

Organized and ran by the Energy Education Institute and the US National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, OTC will host 100 Houston-area classroom teachers (grades 4-12) for a free, one-day energy education workshop. The educators will receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance while discovering the world of oil and natural gas exploration and production.

There will also be a High School Student STEM event whose focus is to educate the next generation of aspiring engineers, scientists and managers about the oil and gas industry. Approximately 200 high school students will see firsthand the exciting opportunities the oil industry offers! The day-long program will include a scavenger hunt of the technology exhibits, hands-on energy lessons provided by the NEED Project and the opportunity to meet industry professionals and ask questions about careers in the oil and gas industry.

 Interested in getting involved? Know students where you live who could benefit from energy education? Let us help. Send us a note to about how you’d like to get involved. Review some of the free materials that we offer to support you here:

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Why Petroleum Engineering? Better Job Opportunities!

Looking to cash in on some of the opportunities the shale gas industry now affords, students are taking up a major in petroleum engineering. A petroleum engineer “understands the drilling aspects, he understands the reservoir management. Whereas the oil and gas industry used to rely on a patchwork of skills from civil, chemical and mechanical engineers, companies are increasingly in search of trained petroleum engineers who specialize in oil field operations,” said Steve Benson, chairman of the North Dakota University Department of Petroleum Engineering. “They’re just equipped well.”

When students in the major are not available, oil and gas firms will look to recruit from other engineering disciplines, but petroleum engineering is quickly becoming a requirement in the field.

“There are a few exceptions where other engineering disciplines such as chemical, mechanical or civil might be considered with training, but by and large, a petroleum engineering degree is preferred,” said Steve Woodhead, manager of university affairs for Chevron Corp.

To meet industry needs, many of the nation’s existing engineering programs are expanding their course offerings, faculty numbers and class sizes. After graduating, petroleum engineering students are well-positioned to earn a starting salary between $80,000 and $100,000, depending on the company. According to Pay Scale on 6 April 2012, the national salary data information tells us Petroleum Engineers total pay range is from 61,559- $199,961. Currently, 92% of petroleum engineers are males and females make up 8%.

What do you think about this assessment? Let’s discuss on Facebook or on Twitter at

Sources: Pamela King, E&E reporter

Published: Monday, March 19, 2012

Pay Scale Research; Petroleum Engineer Salary, Updated: 6 Apr 2012

NEEDED: One million STEM graduates!

Here, a teacher learns hands-on activities she can take back to her classroom. Studies have shown that classroom approaches that engage students as active participants improve retention of information and critical thinking skills and can significantly increase STEM-major interest and perseverance.

In a recently released report from the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology (PCAST) it was concluded that one million additional STEM graduates are needed over the next decade to fill the growing number of jobs requiring STEM skills. The report recommended changes in undergraduate STEM education that will retain more STEM students in the first two years of their college studies. The report finds that:

  • Fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree;
  • Increasing the retention rate from 40 to 50 percent would provide three-quarters of the million STEM graduates needed; and
  • Colleges and universities can significantly increase their retention rates by improving faculty instructional practices, helping students rapidly improve their entry level math skills, and creating multiple pathways to excel in STEM, particularly for underrepresented groups.

In its latest report, Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) concludes that retaining more STEM majors is the lowest-cost, fastest policy option to provide the STEM professionals that the Nation needs for economic and societal well-being. Studies have shown that classroom approaches that engage students as active participants improve retention of information and critical thinking skills and can significantly increase STEM-major interest and perseverance, compared with conventional lecturing. In one study, for example, students in traditional lecture courses were twice as likely to leave engineering and three times as likely to drop out of college entirely compared with students taught using active learning techniques. In another study, students in a physics class that used active learning methods learned twice as much as those taught in a traditional class, as measured by test results.  

Listed below are some ways you can volunteer.

  • Donate education materials to schools
  • Start a classroom presentation program
  • Mentor a school science club
  • Take part in Engineers Week and Earth Science Week activities
  • Hold an energy-themed art contest
  • Give classroom presentations
  • Judge science fairs
  • Help Boy and Girl Scouts earn Energy or Engineering Merit Badges
  • Educate friends, family and your community about energy

Get involved!

SPE Education Day, Bangalore Section ( A Young Professionals Initiative)


Recently, the Young Professionals (YP) committee of SPE Bangalore Section organized an education day at Kendriya Vidyalaya in DRDO, Bangalore. The event was organized to guide school students interested in mathematics and science towards a career in the oil and gas sector which is one of the most exciting and challenging sectors. 

Students were treated to a day of energy education by the SPE Bangalore Section.

A team of seven people from SPE Bangalore section presented various options available to the students in oil and gas industry. The event received such overwhelming response that it had to be done twice to accommodate all the students. A total number of 150 students benefitted from the event.

The event began with the secretary of SPE Bangalore Section, Palvi Mech enlightening students about The Society of Petroleum Engineers, what it does and how it helps in the growth of oil and gas sector. This was followed by an overview of oil and gas sector by Jonathan Minz, Ashish Verma and Michelle Vishwanathan. The students were quite eager and enthusiastic throughout the presentation and repeatedly asked questions at regular intervals. 

Teachers are now interested in making the initiative a yearly event.

The overall event of around three hours was a new and exhilarating experience for the future budding engineers and scientists of Bangalore. It was a great success and the students were made aware of the various career options available to them in oil and gas industry. The students and teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya especially appreciated the effort put by the YP committee and want this event to be a yearly calendar event.

Are you interested in holding a similar type of initiative? Find more information on how to do so here:

Flavia Mara Guzman Villarroel Chosen as one of 2012’s “New Faces of Engineering”

Flavia Mara Guzman Villarroel is one of "12 Engineers Making Dreams a Reality"

Flavia Mara Guzman Villarroel is one of "12 Engineers Making Dreams a Reality"

Each year, the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies, asks its members to nominate colleagues 30 years old and younger for consideration as one of the New Faces of Engineering. 2012’s Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) honoree is Flavia Mara Guzman Villarroel.

“This was an unexpected recognition but something I am very humbled and honored by,” said Villarroel. “This selection is an excellent indicator that I’m on the right path to reach my objectives.”

Villarroel, 28, is a geomechanics specialist for Baker Hughes. Her research has included the development of experimental tests using a large scale poliaxial cell to understand, under stress contrast, breakout formation and rock/gravel/screen interaction in a gravel-pack section.

The New Faces of Engineering program highlights the interesting and unique work of young engineers and the resulting impact on society. Young engineers two to five years out of school are the focus of this recognition program with Villarroel a prime example of what it takes to be recognized.

“If I was to offer advice to the next generation of engineers,” Villarroel explained, “I would tell them to always act with excellence, integrity and ethics. 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’ (A Roddick). I adopted this. And it works.”

Click here for more information about a career as an engineer:

Energy4me and National Science Education Standards

Author: Marva Morrow, Energy Education Ambassador

The natural world is filled with awe and wonder. It is in our nature to be curious about our world around us. Everyone deserves to share in the excitement and personal fulfillment that can come from understanding and learning about our natural world. In a world filled with the products of scientific inquiry, scientific literacy has become a necessity for everyone. We all need to use scientific information to make choices that arise every day.

According to an overview of the National Academies, Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine, “The National Science Education Standards present a vision of a scientifically literate populace. The standards outline what students need to know, understand and be able to do to be scientifically literate at different grade levels. They describe an educational system in which all students demonstrate high levels of performance, in which teachers are empowered to make the decisions essential for effective learning, in which interlocking communities of teachers and students are focused on learning science, and in which supportive educational programs and systems nurture achievement. The Standards point toward a future that is challenging but attainable—which is why they are written in the present tense.”

The Energy4me lesson plans, designed for our Oil and Natural Gas book, are aligned with the aforementioned National Science Education Standards. The Standards emphasize both excellence and equity, and highlight the need to give students the opportunity to learn science.  Students cannot achieve high levels of performance without access to skilled professional teachers, adequate classroom time, a rich array of learning materials and the resources of the the communities surrounding their schools. Learning science is something that students must do through “hands-on” and “minds on” activities: a point of emphasis for Energy4me.

Energy4me lesson plans also support the 5E constructivist learning cycle, helping students build their own understanding from experiences and new ideas. The 5Es represent the five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaboration and Evaluate. The 5E model was developed by The Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS).

Download the Energy4me lesson plans and ‘hands-on-activities” and let us know what you think. Visit our classroom resources and get connected with classroom speakers, teacher workshops, classroom activities and materials and student events.