The former Schlumberger facility off Interstate 45 south has change a bit. The site, no longer vacant, is home to the University of Houston Energy Research Park. Among the growing number of tenants is the UH Petroleum Engineering Program.
"Houston is the center of the petroleum world," said Tom Holley, professor and director of the program. "It's a no-brainer to have a program like this in Houston."
The program, which boasts courses in both graduate and undergraduate studies, is informed and supported by industry. An advisory board reflects the local industry as do the adjunct faculty. Holley says both attributes are attractive and beneficial to future professionals.
"The master's program has been here for many years and its great strength is that it's taught by faculty most of whom are working in companies full-time," he said. "Being in Houston, our students can have internships with companies even during the school year."
The new building includes three areas for customized faculty lab space, state-of-the-art classrooms and student work areas with industry computers and equipment.
"We also are so pleased to have in our faculty professor John Lee who is a very well-known professor and member of the National Academy of Engineering," Holley said. "Our graduate students, but particularly our undergraduates, have a tremendous opportunity to learn with him." Lee most recently was noted for his work on oil and gas reserve.
Over the last four semesters, undergraduate enrollment has increased 50 percent, and applicants for the master's program have outnumbered spaces. All of which bode well for an up and coming player in the petroleum-engineering arena.
"We're pretty ambitious in what we intend to do here," he said. "It's a very optimistic time."
The petroleum-engineering program is part of what's happening at the University of Houston. I'm Marisa Ramirez.
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