Student Expos and the Big Picture

As this issue of EXPLORER goes to print, geoscience students and industry recruiters are gathering on the plains of Wyoming for the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, the annual job fair of AAPG’s Rocky Mountain Section.

It’s a sold-out event. And under the watchful gaze of AAPG president Randi Martinsen, a faculty member at the University of Wyoming where the event takes place, students from across the country will be meeting and interviewing with oil and gas companies who are looking to identify and recruit new talent to their firms.

(For more insight into the origins of this event, don’t miss our story on page 34 of this month’s EXPLORER.)

The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous follows on the heels of the very successful AAPG/SEG Student Expo in Houston, held in early September with approximately 750 students registered.

Now in its 17th year, the Houston Expo is a testament to the sustained dedication of volunteers to invest in the next generation geoscience workforce. The efforts of a very active committee are led by co-chairs Cecilia Ramirez of American Energy Partners, LP and Fernando Enrique Ziegler of Marathon Oil.

AAPG Honorary member Martha Lou Broussard of Rice University has been involved since the very first event in Houston and was awarded the AAPG Presidential Service Award by past president Lee Krystinik and the Executive Committee this past year for her commitment to and leadership of the AAPG/SEG Student Expo.

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As this issue of EXPLORER goes to print, geoscience students and industry recruiters are gathering on the plains of Wyoming for the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, the annual job fair of AAPG’s Rocky Mountain Section.

It’s a sold-out event. And under the watchful gaze of AAPG president Randi Martinsen, a faculty member at the University of Wyoming where the event takes place, students from across the country will be meeting and interviewing with oil and gas companies who are looking to identify and recruit new talent to their firms.

(For more insight into the origins of this event, don’t miss our story on page 34 of this month’s EXPLORER.)

The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous follows on the heels of the very successful AAPG/SEG Student Expo in Houston, held in early September with approximately 750 students registered.

Now in its 17th year, the Houston Expo is a testament to the sustained dedication of volunteers to invest in the next generation geoscience workforce. The efforts of a very active committee are led by co-chairs Cecilia Ramirez of American Energy Partners, LP and Fernando Enrique Ziegler of Marathon Oil.

AAPG Honorary member Martha Lou Broussard of Rice University has been involved since the very first event in Houston and was awarded the AAPG Presidential Service Award by past president Lee Krystinik and the Executive Committee this past year for her commitment to and leadership of the AAPG/SEG Student Expo.

She has been encouraging me to attend the event since I began this job. And this year I was finally able to be there.


What an experience.

Picture this: Hundreds of students from across the United States and the world who are enthusiastic about working for the oil and gas industry and eager to successfully launch their careers, packed into one place.

The room crackled with energy as these hundreds of students, dressed in their best business attire, lined up to talk to recruiters.

There was both excitement and trepidation in their eyes. This was their chance to make a good first impression. This was a big deal for their future careers and for the future of our industry.

Students also had the opportunity to give poster presentations about their research – and as I explored the posters and talked to the students I was impressed by the scientific and technical complexity of their projects. By and large, the current generation of students is doing sophisticated science.

But the question I probed was whether they understood why.

When I talk to students about their careers, one of the skills I urge them to develop is an understanding of the big picture and an understanding of how their particular scientific discipline fits into that picture.

“All geology is interesting; some geologic work is novel; damn little of the work we see is useful in finding new oil and gas fields,” is how past AAPG president and Sidney Powers medalist Marlan Downey put it in his provocative commentary in the August EXPLORER.

In our industry, science isn’t the end; it’s a means to an end.

And I was heartened to see that several of the students whose posters I judged at the expo understood the need to integrate across disciplines and could communicate the broader implications of their work. They shared with me how their research applied in an exploration context.

That’s good news for our industry where creativity and cooperation across disciplines, both scientific and business, is essential to delivering the energy resources the world needs.


You still have two opportunities in 2014 to attend an AAPG student expo:

♦ Oct. 2-4 – the AAPG-SEG West Coast Student Expo in Northridge, Calif.

♦ Nov. 2-3 – the AAPG Eastern Section Student Expo in Morgantown, W.Va.

Thanks to the companies that sponsor and recruit at the student expos. Thanks to the volunteers who organize and make these expos successful.

And thanks to the students for your interest in serving humanity through your profession.

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Comments (1)

Student Expos
Marlan Downey is right in that much campus research is not directed toward finding oil and gas fields, but that is not always the point. Students are learning how to apply their geologic knowledge and deductive skills to solve scientific problems. With proper mentorship, those with motivation, a solid background in geoscience, and natural curiosity can learn what they need to find and develop oil and gas fields. regards, Chuck Caughey
10/1/2014 4:14:16 PM

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