The American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) Texas A&M student section has spent the year growing and promoting their organization to give students a chance to experience what can’t be taught in a classroom.

The A&M section of AADE is part of the Houston chapter. The group works to increase networking and in-field experience for students interested in the oil and gas industry. Events such as oil rig and drill factory field trips provide the latest drilling and technology techniques from experts in the field.

The leadership team includes Jessica Wang, petroleum engineering senior and president, Nathan Smith, petroleum engineering senior and secretary and Patrick Smith, petroleum engineering senior and treasurer.

Patrick Smith said the group’s main goal is to provide experiences which build on the course material a student already receives in their engineering major.

“We want to help produce the best drilling engineers coming out of the university,” Patrick Smith said. “We want to bring in first-class, high quality technical training in the area of drilling engineering.”

The group has been around campus for over a decade, but in the past year has grown over 400 percent and provided over $170,000 in technical training for students, according to Wang.

“You sit in the classrooms here on campus and you listen to the theories and you take the tests, but we are bringing in certifications like Well Control Level One or Stuck Pipe Prevention Certification to them,” Patrick Smith said. “All of this is designed to take the learning to the next level, help the students and facilitate the ability to get them hired and look different than the other petroleum engineering students at other universities.”

The group’s growth is the result of every committee within it actively looking to provide for the students, according to Patrick Smith.

“One of my major prerogatives is to help as many students get hired as I can,” Patrick Smith said. “Extreme ownership of our work is a core value we have here in our group and it runs everything. Everyone owns everything and the ball is in your court 100 percent of the time. It should never be a situation where ‘Oh, I got that out of my way it’s your problem now.’ It’s everybody’s focus.”

Talks presented at biweekly meetings are meant to be beneficial for students at any level of their college career, according to Nathan Smith.

“The talks are more technical than your normal class discussion,” Nathan Smith said. “The classwork that we provide here at A&M, though, lays a foundation for it, that if you pay attention to the lectures, the speaker will describe the more technical parts that they aim to bring to students, no matter if you are a sophomore or a Ph.D. student.”

Wang said without being involved with AADE, going on trips to a factory that creates drill parts and visiting an oil rig wouldn’t have been possible, as those opportunities aren’t provided in the everyday classroom experience.

“It’s invaluable to be able to bring someone out there,” Wang said. “You have these drilling professors that have worked in the industry for a good amount of time and they come in with this knowledge, and you can’t translate that experience to a student like that unless you take them out to a rig.”

Patrick Smith said the group is all about giving students exposure to the industry and creating a network so every student in AADE who has the drive to work for what they want are helped.

“We have a personal success story of a student that was seen in the hallway and he wasn’t even a student here yet when we met him,” Patrick Smith said. “We saw him and we walked up to him and we worked with him for the past couple years, even when he was discouraged in getting into the program. He’s now a student here with scholarships and just about to walk into his first internship. It’s a part of that culture we have and we look out for each other and it’s a family. We are doing our best to get people hired.”

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