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Society of Petroleum Engineers chapter at USC honored as one of the best in the world

| August 15, 2018

The global award recognizes the chapter’s excellence in community service, professional development, and industry engagement.

USC’s SPE Chapter won this year’s Outstanding Student Chapter Award. (Photo/Courtesy of USC SPE)

In recognition of the group’s excellence, the USC Chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Student Chapter Award, the first time the local chapter has received the prestigious designation.

“I was jumping with happiness when I received the email,” said Ahmed Mohamed, M.S. PE ’18, the recently departed president of USC SPE. “It was a grind for us filled with ups-and-downs, but I’m beyond happy. It was worth it.”

The Outstanding Student Chapter Award is given to the top 10 percent of student chapters across the globe. Winners are selected based on industry engagement, operations, innovation and community, and professional development. The USC chapter will receive the award on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Dallas.

In addition to the global recognition, USC’s chapter was among only six American universities to be so honored.

The award is the highest honor a student chapter can receive. USC’s had three times previously received the Gold Standard Chapter Award, which is awarded to the next best 10 percent of student chapters.

With over 73,000 student members at 382 chapters across the country, SPE is the largest individual-member organization of the oil and gas industry. Its mission is to “collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.”

USC SPE stood out for its excellence in industry engagement as well as community involvement, according to Mohamed and others involved in the chapter.

After hosting only a few events in recent years, Mohamed, the former USC SPE president, and his executive board made it a point to engage with industry professionals this year and increase professionalization efforts. They did so by hosting over 60 events. They brought in guest speakers from major oil companies like Chevron and sponsored workshops throughout the year where members received resume feedback and connected with other petroleum engineers.

USC SPE members also went to local high schools and middle schools, including Augustus Hawkins High School and Bethune Middle School, talking to students about the petroleum industry.

“The petroleum engineering industry is currently surrounded by negative narratives. We tried to reach out to these students and talk to them about the industry and explain that petroleum engineering brings a lot of benefits to our society,” said Ramin Aliyev, a graduate petroleum engineering student, and USC SPE’s incoming president.

Additionally, the group delivered supply bags filled with daily essentials to the homeless community on Skid Row and participated in beach cleanups throughout Southern California.

As monumental as 2018 was for USC SPE, group members have even bigger plans for the future.

Starting in the fall, Aliyev and his executive board plan to launch a mentorship program. As envisioned, alumni will return to USC to connect with students, giving career and other advice.

“Whatever we did this year was amazing, but one of the keys of success is getting better every day,” Aliyev said. “We are trying to organize the same style of events in a more innovative way next year.”

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