Preparing for College: Tips from a current student

Get insider tips on how best to prepare for college in this month’s blog post from a current engineering student!

Preparing for College graphic

College is a time you should be excited for. You’re finally on your own, studying what you want, and are actually a part of that student body you watched cheering in Tiger Stadium for so many years. It is a great time in your life, but if you have chosen to be an engineer you should know that going from high school to college is one of the largest (and most important) transitions you can make during your educational career. The saying, “freshman year is the most important year” is a slogan that will be pounded into your head. With the excitement of entering college it may get pushed aside, but the saying could not be more true, and hopefully this post will give some insight to how to best prepare yourself for the year ahead.

The awesome possibility of scheduling classes late in the day so you can sleep hours past that early time you were up every morning for high school is, indeed, awesome. Sleep is great, in fact I guarantee sleep will be more exciting than ever before after one semester, but what’s even better? Great grades and free time all at once…. You’ll learn rather quickly that 24 hours in a day is a lot shorter than you think. Learn NOW how to manage your time to get up early and get your day going soon. Eat a good breakfast, grab some coffee, and start knocking out your homework and studying early. Ideally make it so that you can go to class with your assignments for that day completed, as it is so much easier to focus and get a lot out of class. Plus you’ll have the rest of the day to study more for that upcoming test or get personal errands done.

Speaking of homework, and this may sound profound, but “learn” how to do homework. In engineering, working problems is the best way to learn your material. It is very tempting to google the answers to all your assignments, but learn how to sit down, use the text book, and get the most out of your homework. It will pay off come exam time. Your homework will be difficult at first because it is material you have likely not encountered before, but just take a deep breath and know it will take some time to master everything. So like I mentioned before, learn how to make a schedule throughout the day and make time for getting your homework done.

One habit that you should start doing before you even step foot on campus: to-do lists. It will make everything I’ve mentioned come a lot easier to you. Before you go to bed each night, or when you wake up, make a to-do list of everything you know needs to be completed that day. Prioritize your list, and check off each one as you get it done throughout the day. Not only is this a great way to see what you’re actually accomplishing, but it is a great feeling to check off items on your list.

As I mentioned before, and there is really no way to “prepare” for this, but recognizing that days are a lot shorter than they seem, and that you are busier than you may realize is perhaps the most important advice one can hear. You do not have the time you think you have. Procrastination is deadly and getting a head start on assignments makes life 20 times easier. Everything I have said in this post may come across as pretty obvious tips, but truly understanding that they matter and how to implement them is how one can best prepare for the life of being an engineer. Keeping things like this in mind will allow you to quickly adapt and form your own schedule and ways to be productive. College is a great time and is important to your future. Having great grades early on freshman year is crucial to that experience as class will only get harder with a busier schedule every semester. Hopefully keeping some of these things in mind will maximize your time and education at LSU!

Griffin Selby
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
Student Org: AADE

Spring Break is for Learning

This blog post comes from two students who are members of The American Association of Drilling Engineers – Student Section. They shared their learning and growing experiences they had over Spring Break with us!

Most college students are dying for the mid-semester break from class and schoolwork that is dragging them down. The minute students are released for spring break; they are in a hurry to make their way to the beach or head home to catch up with family and friends. This year was drastically different for me. Being over the Gulf Shores scene and consuming one too many adult beverages in the previous years, I decided it was time for me to do something new. Hearing about this great opportunity through the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) to attend a five-day drilling and production camp at the Shell Robert Training and Conference Center, I quickly made plans for my junior year spring break.

Yes, I know it does not sound as much of a great time as spending the week with your friends having fun at the beach; however, I left with no regrets. Making sure I had one of my best friends come along definitely helped, yet I made a lot of new friends. I saw a lot of familiar faces from my classes that I probably would have never gotten to know otherwise. I really enjoyed this year’s spring break at the Shell facility. Although it was never a “break” from schoolwork, the twenty-seven petroleum engineers and I took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. From enjoying the amazing food there to utilizing their wonderful facilities, I was in shock at the amount of information I learned over just five days. Moreover, I was surprised by the amount of fun I was having.

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Just to give you a taste of how the Shell camp worked, here is an overview of our daily schedule. Each day consisted of waking up around seven in the morning to catch breakfast before the day started at eight (this was probably my least favorite part). We would then attend an overview of the subject we were learning that day with presentations for the next couple hours from the excellent Shell facilitators. The next part of the day would include splitting up in three groups to work on the different simulators to receive hands on training of the subject we talked about. This part was by far my favorite. We got ourselves into working the high class drilling simulator, subsea simulator, and separation/production trains. And I am talking about a warehouse filled of equipment just like you would see on a floating production platform offshore. Taking a break for lunch we would rotate roles through the different activities ending our day around four thirty.

I cannot express the amount of fun I had with my peers over this great learning experience. It was awesome to learn so much in such a small amount of time from the top industry trainers. I cannot thank AADE enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity! This definitely beat going to the beach for another year.

Written by John Dwyer
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Houston, Texas


About three months ago the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) at LSU was approached with the idea of creating an event to bring students out to Shell’s training Facility in Robert, La.

AADE has been involved with annual events in the past like our Wild Well Control course where we send 30 students to Houston for a three day well control certification. But, this new opportunity with Shell was huge for us. Not only were we sending nearly 30 students for a full week of training, but we got an all-inclusive stay plus hands on training at Shell’s state of the art training facility.

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Now, the process to get the camp planned and funded certainly didn’t just happen overnight. Our officers have never taken on a funding project of quite this scale, and there were times that we thought that the training camp just wasn’t going to happen. But, with dedication and hard work from our team, we were able to plan out the course and secure the funding we needed to send all 28 students.

With a game plan in place and the funding accounted for it was time to get ourselves to Robert, La. The five-day course took place over spring break from March 21-25, but we arrived the evening before in order to get a smooth start the following day.

Throughout the five days we went through lectures and hands on training in well control, drilling, sub-sea processing, and surface processing operations. After learning the different simulation software, we were able to work on live troubleshooting scenarios. This is where our members really started to shine – solving real engineering problems. We were also able to get our hands on Shell’s process training equipment which mimics a surface separation facility where oil is separated from water and gas. Students were able to take control of the processing equipment functions to direct various valves and set pressure limits in order to run a smooth separation process.

All in all this was an incredible learning opportunity for our AADE members. With the success of this first trip, we plan to make this an annual event so more students will have access to these world-class facilities that are sitting in our own back yard.

Written by Brendan Marlborough
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Westminster, MA
Vice President, AADE at LSU

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Why I Came to LSU

This blog post comes from one of our undergraduates majoring in petroleum engineering. He shares why he chose to attend LSU as an out-of-state student, what he finds unique about the college, and what his experience has been like so far.  

“If you want to be successful, you must decide exactly what you want, then be willing to pay the price to get it.” – Bunker Hunt

So why LSU? Is this school and Petroleum Engineering worth the 1,500 miles from my home and family? Can I actually do this? Am I good enough? These are just some of the questions I asked myself 10 months ago. Born and raised in Michigan, I didn’t have the luxury of studying Petroleum Engineering anywhere in-state or any nearby states. This was just another obstacle for me to overcome. So I began my search for a school by simply Google searching, “Top 10 Petroleum Engineering programs.” That was the first day I even heard Louisiana State University had a petroleum engineering program, let alone being in the top 10 in the country. So I made a list of five schools from that list that I would consider attending and began to research each school completely.

The last school I researched was LSU, but of course I already knew about the athletics. So I definitely liked the idea of getting to watch some of the best athletes in the country compete and get the opportunity to meet them around campus. Also, the campus was without a doubt the nicest of all the campuses I considered attending. Warm winters, as compared to a winter in Northern Michigan, was just another one of the great things about LSU. The most appealing thing about the LSU College of Engineering to me was having access to the Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory (PERTT Lab) which is on LSU’s campus. The facility consists of six live wells used for research. Students have opportunities to work at the facility and gain experience, which I thought was extremely important.

Also, not only was the size of the College of Engineering impressive, but with a 90 percent placement rate into employment or graduate school after graduation was very appealing. Ultimately, I decided to go to LSU based off a phone conversation I had with Fredrick Thurber, the coordinator for the Petroleum Engineering department. He told me that if I wanted to graduate with a great education and world of opportunity in the oil industry in front of me, then LSU is the place to be.

Chris Adams in Tiger Stadium

Chris Adams in Tiger Stadium

Since coming to LSU, I have grown a lot as an individual. I had no idea how many great people I would meet. I’ve made life-long friends in the few months I have been here. I have had great instructors that have challenged me in the classroom, but allowed me to see just what I am capable of. Since coming to LSU I have gotten involved in student organizations that allowed me to make great friends, connections in the industry, and have some great experiences. As a petroleum engineering major, I am involved with the LSU Student Section of the American Association of Drilling Engineers and with the Society for Petroleum Engineers. Without both of these great organizations, my LSU experience would not be the same.

The American Association of Drilling Engineers - LSU Section

The American Association of Drilling Engineers – LSU Student Section

So if you are considering LSU and our College of Engineering, Geaux for the Gold! Come see what is offered here. A great education, beautiful campus, amazing programs, possibly the best few years of your life, and so much more is all waiting here for you in the LSU College of Engineering.

By Christopher Adams
American Association of Drilling Engineers, Executive Assistant
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: St. Louis, MI

Senior Design Project: Solving Real-World Problems

This month’s blog post comes to us from Alex Beem, a senior majoring in petroleum engineering. Originally from Houston, Texas, Alex decided to pursue his passion for the oil and gas industry. After visiting LSU’s College of Engineering, Alex knew that Baton Rouge would be the place he would call home and earn his undergraduate degree.

A long journey will finally come to an end on May 15, 2015. It all started my freshman year with the basic arithmetic and science classes when I was trying to find my place in this new world we call “college.” As I worked my way through the course flowchart, I kept my focus on the prize; which was to graduate from LSU (and receive my ring and diploma). I entered my senior year as motivated as ever to reach this goal and the courses were much more interesting than the ones I had taken earlier in my college career. Before my classmates and I could graduate, we had one more task to complete: a Senior Design Project.

Alex Beem

Alex Beem

In case you are not familiar with the Senior Design course, it is a class that is required for LSU engineering students to graduate. Future engineers have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge by solving a problem for industry professionals. This class is two semesters long and is composed of two phases. The first phase is planning, while the second is implementation. The planning phase taught me the organizational skills I needed to achieve the task at hand, and the implementation phase showed me that not all things can be planned for.

My group did our project on “Decline Curve Analysis for Unconventional Reservoirs.” If you are familiar with the oil and gas industry, you know that a major hurdle has been crossed recently. Due to new technology, many companies have started drilling into shale formations as opposed to sand formations. A reservoir in a shale formation would be considered an “unconventional” reservoir. The project we are working on analyzes new methods of determining production rates from these formations, since research has proven that the old way of making these decline curves resulted in inadequate results.

When first learning about this project, we knew it would be a difficult project that could yield great results. My group consists of three other guys: Ryan Burke, Paul Caplis, and Stephen Harris. What was so great about this group is that we all had different strengths to offer the team. Paul utilized his skills with computer programming, and designed a program in MATLAB to run his simulation. Stephen did the same for his model, and offered some much needed charisma during our many presentations. Ryan was very good at understanding the big picture of the project, and used his experience from his past internships to help guide us in making a professional presentation. I used my organizational skills to effectively communicate with the group, plan meetings, and set deadlines for various facets of our project.

For our senior project, we each took a developed model and applied it to a specific geographic region. We then took the data that was made available to us and forecasted decline curves. After making our forecasts, we were able to show that certain methods worked better than others. My teammates and I are very proud of our project. We believe it is a very relevant issue, and that our project will make a difference for some companies in the industry.

Forecasted decline curves for senior design project

Forecasted decline curves for senior design project

When I was a senior in high school, I remember touring the petroleum department and seeing the students mixing mud in mud lab. I remember seeing people sitting in front of the computers in the Patrick F. Taylor computer lab with three or four books open at the same time trying to do their homework, and thinking to myself that will be me one day. I think the biggest thing I have taken away from my senior year at LSU is that all of the hard work from early on has finally paid off. It is rewarding to know that you can work hard, but also have fun with what you do. That is the purpose behind the senior design project. We are now equipped with the knowledge to solve real-world problems and we can find fun and creative ways to do it.

-Alex Beem
Petroleum Engineering

Introducing Your Engineering Ambassadors!

Transitioning from high school to college evokes many feelings: excitement, anxiety, and even fear. As Engineering Ambassadors, we know how you feel and are here to help.

Engineering Ambassadors is a diverse, student service group representing all programs in LSU’s College of Engineering. Not only do we have the opportunity to lead student recruitment tours, promote the College to parents, alumni, and friends of the College, and network with distinguished alumni at special events–our work is vital in offering prospective students an inside look into life as an LSU Engineer and making the transition to college as smooth as possible.

Here’s some information about who we are!

Terrell Anderson

Classification: Freshman
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother who is also studying to be an industrial engineer.


Stiel Aubrey

Stiel

Classification: Senior
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Broussard, LA
Fun Fact: I have been proficient in French since the age of three.


William “Dino” Behler Jr.

Dino

Classification: Freshman
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Picayune, MS
Fun Fact: I am a state champion power-lifter.


Megan Brunet

Megan

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Construction Management
Hometown: Houma, LA
Fun Fact: I love to surf and also enjoy watching The Walking Dead.


Kristin Ellis

Kristin

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Plaquemine, LA
Fun Fact: I am an avid {huge/big} fan of the NBA.


Giselle Medina

Giselle

Classification: Sophomore
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Fun Fact: I would like to be an astronaut and work for a private space company.