SPE Penn State Student Chapter


From the Office of Our President

The Next Big Thing: Penn State Petroleum Engineering Students Ready to Make it Happen

Year after year, the world’s dependence on oil and gas is increasing as global economies rely heavily on petroleum-based products. This ever-growing demand cannot be met without the determined and industrious members of the oil and gas industry. These two characteristics only crack the surface when describing the traits that are procured here at Penn State. Residing in the center of the second highest producing state of dry natural gas in the United States, Penn State has hired some of the most highly experienced faculty in the world giving students an opportunity to learn in one of the greatest environments the industry has to offer. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program here at Penn State is open and accepting to anyone from any origin to provide you with the successful career you have sought out to obtain. Within this program, the Society of Petroleum Engineers student chapter exemplifies the technical skills and knowledge learned in the classroom, while giving students an increasing opportunity to connect with oil and gas industry professionals within and outside Penn State’s borders. 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program at Penn State is one of the top programs in the country, and while the lessons students learn in the classroom are crucial and valuable to a well-built engineer, we also see the value in exposing our members to the versatile industry. It is our job, as the Society of Petroleum Engineers, to bridge the gap between the students and the real world. Our society has been able to give our members many opportunities to get a closer look at what the industry is truly like. Members are able to fully visualize the lessons taught in class through our yearly frac pad, drilling rig, production site, and shop tours with local operators and service companies. We also provide a handful of students with exposure to the ever-changing technologies through the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition taking place in Denver, Colorado this fall. In addition, we are proud to be hosting the SPE North American Student Symposium right in our backyard in Pittsburgh this upcoming spring semester. These conferences fully expose our students to the industry and allow them to “collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge” as the SPE International mission proposes. Back at school, our members will have the chance to meet and learn from several industry members and leaders in our monthly general body meetings, where professionals give short technical talks on their company’s contributions to the oil and gas field. We also offer technical electives which give students the opportunity to learn a weekend course and receive credit for it. Another event we are proud to hold is the Women in Energy panel where we can hear from several women in energy and how they have succeeded in a typically male-dominant industry. 

One lesson you will learn in this industry is the great importance of giving back to the community and taking care of the beautiful world we live in. At Penn State, we understand it is necessary to teach our students the value of volunteerism and community betterment. SPE is proud to have its own subcommittee dedicated to environmental service and STEM outreach: Positive Energy. Through Positive Energy, we have held highway cleanups, tree planting initiatives, and high school STEM outreach seminars in order to serve as an outlet for the members of energy and give back.  

Throughout the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry, SPE Penn State has remained a constant in shaping students into the determined, industrious members the workforce needs for years to come. As always, WE ARE!


Sarah Marsh