Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


During the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (SPE ATCE), Sept. 28-30, in Houston, Texas, UT PGE students and faculty received awards, attended presentations and networked with leaders from across the energy industry, both nationally and internationally.

While at the conference, members of the UT SPE student chapter, including Andreas Michael, Alex Batista, Grace Howley, Matthew Inman and Andres Garcia, participated in the PetroBowl Championship after advancing from a pool of more than 100 schools at the regional level. About 2,000 students and oil and gas professionals watched UT Austin take second place out of 36 teams from across the world, answering fast-paced questions covering both technical and non-technical aspects of the industry.

Yogashri Pradhan, a former undergraduate student, who is now a production engineer at Devon, received first place in the SPE International Student Paper Contest. She qualified for the competition in the SPE Local Paper Contest in January 2015 before she graduated from the department. Competing against 12 other students from around the globe, she presented on "The Evaluation of the Beaver Creek Unit Reservoir" from her internship last summer at Devon. This marks the fourth straight year a UT PGE student has placed in the international contest in at least one of the divisions (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.).

PGE Award Recipients

(l to r): Dr. Balhoff, Alex Batista, Matthew Inman, Andreas Michael, Andres Garcia, Grace Howley

“I am incredibly proud of the performance of all of our students at SPE ATCE,” said Associate Professor and SPE Advisor Matt Balhoff. “The months of dedicated training prior to the conference paid off for our students as they showcased their oil and gas expertise and innovative ideas, which impressed the paper contest judges and enabled our PetroBowl team to make it to the finals.”

Six professors from UT PGE also received awards, recognizing their contributions to the industry in cutting-edge research and education for the next generation of energy professionals. The faculty honored include Dr. Carlos Torres-Verdin (Distinguished Member Award), Dr. Chun Huh (Distinguished Member Award), Dr. Zoya Heidari (Innovative Teaching Award), Dr. John Foster (Innovative Teaching Award), Dr. Kamy Sepehrnoori (Faculty Recruitment Award) and Dr. Ryosuke Okuno (Technical Editor Award).