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Past scholarship winners

Since 2011, the Appalachian Section of SPE has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to deserving petroleum engineering students at Marietta College. This program is funded entirely by the generosity of industry organizations through sponsorships in support of SPE events such as the Eastern Regional Meeting. All revenue from section events directly supports the next generation of engineers, and with your partnership, we hope to fund this scholarship program for years to come.

Here is an update on some of the young professionals who have received the Appalachian SPE scholarship in past years.

Heath Pottmeyer received an Appalachian SPE scholarship during his senior year at Marietta College, which he credits with relieving a good portion of his education’s financial burden on his family. After graduating in 2012, Heath joined Anadarko and moved west as a Production Engineer in Vernal, Utah. Over his five years with Anadarko he would expand into the role of Completions Engineer and then onto Completions Foreman at various locations in Colorado before returning to the Appalachian Basin in 2017 to take his current position as a Completions Engineer for Eclipse Resources in Zanesville, Ohio. Heath has remained an active member of SPE since graduation, even serving as the Uintah Basin Section chairperson from 2013-14, and has pursued his professional development as an EIT. He currently resides in Marietta, Ohio where he enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, playing golf and spending time with his family.

Dave Olach received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in 2012. Beyond the direct financial impact of the award, he credits the scholarship for having a significant impact on him both as a student and industry member. Specifically, Dave attributes the award for giving him the drive to continue his academic pursuits and translate those achievements into real world success as part of the work force. It also gave him an appreciation for the SPE community and their generosity to young professionals. He has remained an active member of the Gulf Coast Section of SPE since graduation and attends meetings whenever possible. Dave joined ConocoPhillips after his graduation in 2013 and held multiple reservoir engineering positions within the Rockies Business Unit overseeing the company’s Bakken Asset. In 2017, Dave joined Range Resources in his current role as a Senior Reservoir Engineer and EIT. He currently lives in Houston, Texas where he enjoys ice hockey, time spent outdoors, and taking advantage of the amazing variety of local foods.

Eric Onacila received an Appalachian SPE scholarship during all four of his years at Marietta College ahead of his graduation in 2015. He credits the awards with allowing him to focus on school and enjoy the college experience without having to worry about the cost of tuition. He has remained a continuous member of SPE since leaving school and has even presented at the society’s facilities engineering study group for the DJ Basin on production equipment corrosion. Eric has been with Anadarko since the start of his career, initially working in the field engineer training program focusing on operations and station facilities before moving into more traditional production engineering and artificial lift. Presently, he works in chemical flow assurance and will be transitioning shortly into reserves. He currently lives in Thornton, Colorado, where he enjoys the great scenery and outdoor activities that the local landscape provides, including skiing, hiking and trail running.

Corey Hunsberger received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in both 2015 and 2016, which he counts as a blessing as the awards helped him pay for room, board and books without having to take on additional loans. Following his graduation from Marietta College in 2017, Corey joined Hess Corporation in Houston as a Foundation Engineer, which is a developmental program for young engineers in which he completed rotations in infrastructure construction, onshore operations and offshore production engineering. Most recently, he has advanced at Hess into a Project Lead role for Facilities Construction. Corey currently resides in Minot, North Dakota where he enjoys reading, skiing, hiking and playing sports with friends.

Wes Casto received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in 2007, which allowed him to him focus his efforts on schoolwork, enabling him to succeed academically and giving him lots of options professionally. He has been an active member of SPE since his graduation in 2009, even presenting at the 2018 Eastern Regional Meeting, and stresses how the organization is a great hub for both students and experienced professionals to network and stay abreast of new technology, especially in unconventional resources within the basin. Wes began his career with Chevron as a Drill Site Manager before joining Wright & Company in Nashville as a Petroleum Consultant. For the past four years he has been the President of Casto Petroleum Engineering, where he practices as a Professional Engineer and Certified Mineral Appraiser. Wes currently lives in Marietta, Ohio with his wife, Holly, and his son, Charlie, and enjoys deer hunting and working on his farm.

Dave Johnson received SPE scholarships both his junior and senior years at Marietta ahead of his graduation in 2011 with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering and a Certificate in Leadership Studies. Dave credits these awards with easing the burden of working an off campus job and letting him focus his time on academic opportunities, including a two-year term as President of his SPE student chapter. He remains active in SPE as availability allow, including recent attendance at the society’s Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. Dave began his career with Anadarko as a Field Production Engineer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania before transitioning to Completions Engineer and Field Foreman, overseeing more than 150 well completions in the Marcellus and Utica shales. He then moved to Carthage, Texas as Lead Field Production Engineer overseeing staff development before joining Chief Oil & Gas as Senior Operations Engineer, leading the technical team in unconventional asset development. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas where he enjoys travel, offroading, firearms and bass fishing.

Evan Hensel received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in 2017, and while the award directly helped him defray the cost of books and lab materials for that school year, he also considers it an honor to be recognized for his hard work and passion for the industry. Having served as SPE student chapter Treasurer for two terms, he worked closely with regional SPE representatives and saw first-hand the impact of society support of student functions. Evan graduated in 2018 as Valedictorian of his class with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering and a Certificate in Engineering Leadership. Having held multiple internships with Anadarko while an undergraduate, he joined the company full-time in July 2018 as an Offshore Production Engineer on the Marco Polo Platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Evan currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he enjoys outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and camping, as well as frequent trip back to Ohio to visit family and friends.

Alisha Dunn received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in 2012 as she pursued her B.S. in Petroleum Engineering with a minor in Finance, graduating from the program in 2014. She credits the scholarship with providing her the financial freedom to focus her time on school work and developing the skills and relationships necessary for a successful career. Having interned with Hess Corporation after her junior year of college, Alisha joined the company full time after graduation as a Reservoir Engineer for the Baaken Asset located in Minot, North Dakota, a position she enjoyed for the opportunity it afforded her to live in such a unique environment and work on challenging projects. Five years into her career, Alisha continues to work the Bakken asset as a reservoir engineer now based out of the Houston, Texas office, where she spends her time outside of work traveling, camping, biking, painting, and baking.

Howie Lucas was an SPE scholarship recipient in 2013. Like many of his peers, he attributes his ability to focus on his course work and ultimately secure job opportunities in part to how the award helped mitigate his student loan debt and the anxiety associated with the cost of college. After graduating in 2014, Howie joined Chevron in Bakersfield, California where he worked as a well-site manager focused on remedial water injection work before moving into drilling and sidetracking operations. Over his three and a half years of experience in Bakersfield he worked nearly every field in the San Joaquin Valley, gaining invaluable drilling experience in subnormal and abnormal pressure profiles. Howie now lives in Midland, Texas where he continues his career with Chevron as a Well Abandonment Engineer and E.I.T., planning and overseeing the execution of P&A operations in the Permian Basin.

Tyler Ragan received Appalachian SPE scholarships both his junior and senior year at Marietta College, awards he credits with both assisting him financially and providing the motivation to continue his educational and vocational development. Since his graduation in 2011, he has furthered his education with both an M.B.A. and a Master’s in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Professional Engineer in the state of West Virginia. He began his career with Chevron in Lafayette, Louisiana as a Drill Site Manager, later moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and transitioning into roles of Well Site Manager and Drilling Engineer. In 2016, he joined JKLM Energy as a Drilling Engineer and has since taken on the duties of Drilling Manager for the company. Tyler currently resides in Pittsburgh with his wife and two dogs where he enjoys sports, music, and travel.

Blair Wilson received an Appalachian SPE scholarship in 2014 as he pursued his Petroleum Engineering major and Finance minor while also serving as Vice President of Marietta College’s SPE Student Chapter. Following his graduation in 2016, Blair joined Dominion Energy Ohio as a Project Engineer in Akron, OH tasked with pipeline replacement and relocation projects. He would later move to Houston, TX and join TransCanada as a Project Manager, focusing on pipeline integrity projects throughout the U.S.  Outside of work, Blair enjoys traveling, real estate, spending time with friends, and is currently training for his first Ironman triathlon.

Sarah Mayo received Appalachian SPE scholarships in both 2012 and 2015 while pursuing her degree in Petroleum Engineering. She credits the awards with allowing her to offset the cost of room, board and books, helping her to avoid the need for student loans. Following her graduation, she joined Chevron and moved to Houston, Texas as an ADP Engineer where she spent time in Logistics, Safety, and on a Secondment to Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico. More recently, she has transitioned to a Well Site Representative with Completion Operations for Chevron’s Permian and Delaware Basin assets in West Texas. Sarah remains a member of SPE and has been able to return to Marietta College in recent years to interact with current students in a recruitment role. Sarah still resides in Houston on a rotational basis and enjoys using her time off to travel the world, participate in mission work, play sports, bake, and spend time with her friends and family.