Petroleum Systems Engineering Week 2018 introduces high school and university students to a future in petroleum engineering

By Jon Tewksbury Posted: November 21, 2018 9:45 a.m.

Heather Quale, President, Mera Group of Companies
Heather Quale, President, Mera Group of Companies UR External Relations

The inaugural Petroleum Systems Engineering Week officially kicked off on November 19 to a packed room of eager students who were treated to a complimentary meal, along with a generous helping of wise words. Dr. Fanhua (Bill) Zeng, associate dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, and program chair, Petroleum Systems Engineering, is organizer of the first-time week-long celebration of engineering and industry. He welcomed the students to the dinner and reception and offered his valuable (and hard-earned) insights to the future engineers. 

Dr. Fanhua (Bill) Zeng, associate
dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies
and Research, and program chair
and professor, Petroleum
Systems Engineering

“The most important skill you can have as an engineer is the skill to ask questions,” Dr. Zeng told the group of assembled students. “Use this opportunity to network and build relationships. We have invited members from the oil and gas industry and past alumni of the PSE program. We want to help students understand the petroleum industry from various perspectives, as they consider their next career.” 

Dave Button, Vice-President (Administration), also spoke at the dinner, touching on the importance of the industry, and the importance of student involvement. 

“Petroleum engineering provides an incredible career option,” said Button. “Engineering students are the future, and your energy and enthusiasm is what will lead this industry.” 

Adding to Button’s remarks, Dr. Esam Hussein, dean, Engineering and Applied Science, noted that the petroleum industry can ebb and flow, but that it shouldn’t discourage future engineers from working in the field. 

“People will say ‘it’s not a very good time to be a petroleum engineer,’” said Dr. Hussein. “But actually, there are great opportunities for petroleum engineers and you will be needed in the future. You must figure out how do things better, safer, more efficiently, and in a more environmentally-friendly way.” 

Monday’s keynote speaker was Heather Quale, President, Mera Group of Companies. She noted that having an engineering degree is a valuable investment for a student’s future. 

“There are so many opportunities when you have an engineering degree,” said Quale. “You can take your degree and go wherever you want to go. If you love doing what you’re doing, you’ll find great opportunities. We need petroleum products now and we will need them into the foreseeable future. Petroleum engineers can have a long career in the oil and gas industry even though it might be difficult at times. But engineering is all about problem solving.” 

PSE Week continues through November 23. High school and university students are encouraged to attend. Events are free, but students must register.

students at buffet
Petroleum Systems Engineering
students enjoyed a
complimentary dinner at the
opening night reception