Student Career Panel
by Spring Harris
Monday afternoon, at the Hilton Americas in Houston, SEG offered meeting attendees the opportunity to hear and ask about the merits of pursing careers with independent oil companies, with major oil companies, in academe, or with service companies.
A speaker representing each industry sold audience members, mostly students and young professionals, on working in their respective areas by giving an approximately 15-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session. The short time frame of each presentation allowed ample time for attendees to have their questions answered.
The four career panelists were introduced by Aaron Girard, chair of the university and student programs committee, and the panel was moderated by Elsa Velasco, SEG university and student programs manager.
The first speaker, Jeff Oslund from Anadarko Petroleum Company represented the independent oil and gas industry. Oslund defined an independent oil and gas company as one that "does not refine for the market, but explores and develops oil and gas reserves." His presentation touched on the processes used in his field and the petroleum system. He also spoke about Andarko's involvement in several large-scale oil and gas development projects.
Alana Robinson from ExxonMobil spoke about the advantages of working for a major oil and gas company. She said that for her, the main benefits were travel, training, and change. She told audience members that in her three years with ExxonMobil, she has been to six countries, and because ExxonMobil has such a large experienced staff they can offer internal training and world-class mentoring.
Dr. Hendratta Ali from Fort Hays State University in Kansas made the case for pursuing a career in academe. She gave attendees a look at the academic cycle of education/teaching, research, and scholarship. For her, the benefits of pursuing a career in education were that it allowed for flexibility in her work schedule and gave her the chance to pursue her research interests. The most important reason she gave for pursuing an educational career path was "the chance to inspire learners and change lives."
The final panelist, Mozhdeh Niazmand, from PGS, spoke about the opportunities that come with pursing a career in the service industry. Some career paths she mentioned would allow employees to work on seismic vessels like the Ramform Titan, where they could help gather electromagnetic and seismic data. For those attendees who did not care for the five-weeks-on and five-weeks-off cycle of working on a ship, she also talked about on-shore careers in data processing.
The career panel has become a popular event with student members, and this year's panel drew a large audience to hear the often-lively exchange between the panelists as they each advocated for their sectors of the gas and petroleum industry.