Petroleum engineering Annual Student Paper Contest

The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University hosted its Annual Student Paper Contest on Jan. 30, with runoffs held on Feb. 6. Over the past four decades the contest has become a time-honored annual event and has grown significantly, both in the number of participating students and the amount of industry support and sponsorship.

Each year junior, senior and graduate students in petroleum engineering give technical presentations before panels of industry judges. The students must research and write the presentations themselves. The top winners of the senior and graduate levels advance to participate in higher-level contests. This year, 440 students competed in 29 sessions before 130 judges over the two weekends.

First and second place winners from the senior, masters and doctoral groups will compete in the regional competition, which will be held on April 16 on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. 

Winners from the runoffs were:

Junior – First place: Alex Lambros; Second place: Katherine Johnson; Third place: Luke Weissler

2016 SPC junior winners

(Lambros, Johnson, and Weissler)

Senior – First place: Melissa LeRoy; Second place: Victoria Najvar; Third place: Austin Draughon

2016 SPC senior winners

(Draughon, Najvar, and LeRoy)

Master – First place: Hanyu Li; Second place: Isaac Zhukovsky; Third place: Antu Xie

2016 SPC masters winners

(Li, Xie, and Zhukovsky)

Doctoral – First place: Nadav Sorek; Second place: Karin Gonzalez Abad; Third place: Jixiang Huang

2016 SPC doctoral winners

(Sorek, Gonzalez Abad, and Huang)

The objective of the local contest is to assist students in developing proficiency in the presentation of technical or research projects in both oral and visual form. Aggie petroleum students have an impressive record of winning at the Gulf Coast North America Section Regional level as well as at the Society of Petroleum Engineers International level.

Dr. Duane McVay is the director of the contest and is assisted by a team of staff coordinators: Kathy Beladi, Phaedra Hopcus and Carol Mumford. Due to its size and complex arrangements, the contest often takes several months to coordinate.

Many former students and industrial supporters regard the contest as one of the most important professional development opportunities the department provides for its students. They are willing to donate both time and money to ensure its continued success. This year, sponsorship of the event by industry and former students totaled $51,050.