Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


Students from petroleum engineering departments all over the globe came together in New Orleans on September 30, 2013 at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) to face-off in an exciting international student paper contest as well as the signature PetroBowl event, a competitive academic, single-elimination tournament.

After weeks of practice, UT PGE scored big by placing first in the master’s student paper contest and third in the undergraduate paper contest. The PetroBowl team made it to the final round of the competition, taking second place after a strong battle against Colorado School of Mines.

Shaina Kelly, the winner of the Master’s student paper contest, presented her research titled, “Controlled Study of Pore Level Petrophysics via Customized Micro/Nanofluidic Devices” after taking home the trophy in both the local and regional paper contests.

“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to compete as this level,” said Kelly. “To receive an award that is recognized throughout the PE community is really a nice sign of my hard work and dedication.”

In addition, Brandon Hilts took home the bronze medal in the undergraduate paper contest. He presented his research titled, “Managed Pressure Drilling.” Kan Wu represented the Gulf Coast region with her presentation in the PhD student paper contest, titled, “Fully Coupled Fluid Flow and Mechanics Modeling for Horizontal Wells, Multi-Frac Treatments.” Wu received a certificate for her participation in the contest.

PetroBowl is an annual academic competition at SPE ATCE in which teams of students face off in a quiz bowl format. The UT PGE PetroBowl team battled against 35 teams in a heated competition, testing their knowledge by answering questions about technical petroleum engineering, oil industry history, SPE history, world demand and production statistics, and current events. Five students represented UT PGE, including Daniel Sanchez-Rivera, Andreas Michael, Christopher Sioco, Christian Herrington and Jobin Varghese.

SPE faculty advisors include Deborah Hempel Medina, overall SPE advisor, David DiCarlo, advisor for the student paper contest, and Matt Balhoff, advisor for the PetroBowl team. Dr. Balhoff said the team spent about eight months getting ready to compete at the international level.

“These five students practiced weekly to prepare for the PetroBowl competition,” said Balhoff. “All of the hard work paid off in New Orleans. The students helped showcase UT Austin as one of the premier petroleum engineering departments in the world - it was a very proud day to be a Longhorn!”