Tech SPE Chapter Wins International Award

Tech SPE Chapter Wins International Award

SOCORRO, N.M. – The 2016-17 academic year was one for the record books for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) New Mexico Tech student chapter.  The amount of activity the Student Chapter was able to perform in just 365 days landed the university an impressive award – the international SPE Outstanding Student Chapter Award for 2017.

Club president Will Morgan said the award is important for the university and the student chapter because of the international recognition.


The NMT contingent at the SPE meeting in Midland, Texas are (in back, from left) Will Morgan, Jacob Kirkman, Nate Sanders, Mark Shaffer, Ethan Risley, Wyatt Berger, Colin Frost and Jon Burwell. In front (from left) are Nate Sanders, Nary Sin, Lindsey Rasmussen, Cathy and Billy Harris, Colton Howard, and Josue Fernandez.


"In a very real way, this award highlights the hard work and dedication of our club officers, members, and sponsoring section,” Morgan said. “We put our hearts into last year's campaign to disseminate technical industry knowledge, and to provide exciting events for our members to attend.”

The award was one of only 29 given to chapters around the world. Club vice president Jon Burwell said he is proud to be a part of a group that is so willing to set time aside to maintain a full schedule of club activities.

“As busy students, the first thing you must ask yourself is, is it worth it? And this year I can say that NMT SPE can say “Yes” to every activity,” Burwell said. “We have built amazing relationships with two other Socorro based nonprofits: the Socorro County Historical Society and the Socorro Storehouse; as well as establishing amazing relationships with universities from Canada to Mexico and everywhere in between.” 

SPE defines an Outstanding Student Chapter as “the highest honor for a chapter, recognizing those that are exemplary in the categories of industry engagement, operations and planning, community involvement, professional development, and innovation.”  

The award was given to only 37 universities from across the globe. This award is extremely exclusive as there are currently 374 active SPE Student Chapters in total. New Mexico Tech SPE will be recognized as the award recipient at the Student Awards Luncheon during SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas, in October.

​On a side note, the sponsoring section of the NMT chapter, the SPE Roswell Section has won the President's Award for Section Excellence five consecutive years (2012 to 2016) and was awarded the Gold Standard designation for 2017. The Roswell Section was recognized for its exceptional programs in industry engagement, operations and planning, community involvement, professional development and innovation.

A quick highlight of the student’s activity consists of taking more than 30 students attending conferences in Midland, Texas, and Denver. The New Mexico Tech chapter was one of three host universities for the Denver event.

“This experience of running a conference is huge in SPE, and in any major professional society,” Burwell said. “Most young professionals have not had exposure to running a conference of such magnitude.” 

Burwell said the conference took more than a year of planning and had over 400 student and professional attendees. These events surpassed the normal activity in a typical year; however this year was outstanding, Burwell said.

On top of technical excellence, NMT SPE also collected over 1,000 pounds of food for the Socorro County Storehouse a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, as well as giving a collective 50 hours of packaging and handing out boxes food. Every few weeks SPE members were extremely visible raising money, recruiting members, or engaging in developing professional skills and knowledge.

Any student interested in joining the Society of Petroleum Engineers should look for flyers around campus to join in on our events. Interested students can also reach out to this year’s Membership Chair Lorenzo Yardman for more details. SPE is geared for anyone looking to get into the upstream oil and natural gas industry.   

– NMT –