TAMU SPE-Sophomore Retreat 2018
Written by Ellin Belz, Edited by Sriniketh Sukumar
This weekend last month, incoming petroleum engineering majors of the Fighting Texas Aggie class of 2021 (Whoop!) had an incredible time at the very first SPE Sophomore Retreat, a three-day campsite retreat hosted at camp Cho Yeh just before the start of the fall semester, aimed at welcoming and developing the new class of PETE majors. We know our student chapter’s pockets run deep, since incredibly enough, the organizing committee able to organize several sponsorships (special thanks to Adele Mouna), to make the event not just a reality but actually free for all sophomores and upperclassmen.
For our classmates among the class of 2021 that were unable to make it, and our upper classmen who simply wants to know what the Sophomore Retreat was all about, continue reading to discover the fun, friends and knowledge gained during the event.
What were the Retreat’s goals?
This retreat has in fact been in the works for quite a while. It was conceptualized as the brainchild of the 2017-18 officer team, but was planned and designed by director Phoebe Ho-Stone with the goals of introducing sophomores to their classmates and invaluable upperclassman points of contact, with fun bonding activities before school started. It would also serve as an extended workshop for gaining necessary skills before career fair. Tracy Ike organized a variety professional development events while Aliky Zamfes arranges a multitude of fun activities throughout the week.
It even had a Mock-Career Fair!
Professional Development highlights included an introduction to the industry from Noble Midstream CEO Tery Gerhert, as well as, a talk about leadership in the workplace from Professor Dupris. We also had the opportunity to interact with recruiters from Noble Energy, BP, and Chevron through in both an informal, networking social setting as well as through a mock career fair and internship Q&A Session. One of the most helpful events included a Resume Workshop where department faculty members, industry representatives, and successful SPE upperclassmen all helped us improve our resumes. These professional development events culminated towards a mock career fair at the end of the Retreat where director Phoebe Ho-Stone even gave us professional headshots. Sophomore Cody McIntyre said it best:
“They also fixed my resume and taught me great skills to use at the career fair.”- Cody McIntyre (PETE Sophomore)
But it Wasn’t All Serious!
On the social front, sophomores were able to bond with each other and connect with upperclassmen through a variety of activities. Students participated in team building, water games, and even a night time run of the camp’s high ropes course. Throughout all of the s’mores, scavenger hunts, and camp meals, our mentors and counselors Nathan Pope, Luis Ortega, Tara Gray, and Zachary Petter shared their industry experience and did their best to make each activity fun. SPE president Magy Avedissian and AADE president Cameron Geresti informed attendees about how to stay connected on campus with both of their organizations.
Be Sure to Attend Next Year!
Reflecting on the retreat, participants think the connections made will define their time in petroleum engineering will be invaluable as they start their careers together in the oil and gas industry. After all, anyone who has spent a semester in this department will attest to the value of having a friend to help when your code won’t run, or you just can’t figure out where the negative sign came from. Indeed, the skills gained already prove to be a real advantage at this year’s career fair came to pass. Hopefully, the SPE Sophomore Retreat will become yet another treasured tradition for the Texas A&M Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering.