When I moved to Houston, Texas in 7th grade, I had no idea what the oil and gas or greater energy industries were. As a kid, I understood that people drove cars to get places and they went to the gas station to fill up their cars with fuel. That was the extent of my oil and gas knowledge up until high school. Junior year, I started thinking about possible majors in college and became interested in energy. My source of information, Google, helped me understand our global energy demand, energy independence and energy sources. This is where I first read about petroleum engineering.
During my senior year of high school, I began searching for any summer job experience that would help me determine if the oil and gas industry was right for me. I remember sharing my failed attempts at online searches with an assistant principal one afternoon. She then connected me with her neighbor, who owned a local oil and gas services company. I ended up interning with the company that summer and got my first real-world oil and gas engineering experience. That summer, I got a glimpse of what it was like to work in the oil and gas industry. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience for 3 main reasons:
Everyone I met provided me with immense support and encouragement, inspiring me as a high school senior.
The depth (quite literally – 10,000 feet below the earth’s surface) and the breadth of the industry excited me.
Complex and interesting problems
There were always multifaceted problems and unique solutions which required collaboration and teamwork!
Upon entering college, I narrowed my major down to three choices: petroleum, mechanical or chemical engineering. But I still wasn’t 100% set on a particular major. That year, I was given the chance to explore all three departments and attend the engineering career fair where I found an internship opportunity with an international oil and gas company. That next summer, I learned about the many fundamentals of petroleum engineering and the necessity of using collaboration and teamwork to solve complex problems. It was during this summer when I knew petroleum engineering was right for me.
Similar to my high school work experience, I was inspired by the people and the culture at the company. There has always been a sense of community within the field of petroleum engineering that truly makes me feel at home. The major itself is relatively small compared to others and it is impossible to enter a class without seeing more than a few familiar faces. The Society of Petroleum Engineers connects people across continents at annual conferences and networking events. These communities have truly enhanced my experiences in petroleum engineering.
I am drawn to the many opportunities the industry offers, and I am excited to embark on a challenging, global and people-oriented career.
The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering offers a wide variety of opportunities available to you. Find out what you can get involved in today!