This post is a part of our Student Spotlight Series where we sit down with graduating students and ask them to reflect on their time at MCEE and what comes next.
- Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well my name is Sarah Zink and I’m a senior in Petroleum Engineering. I’m the current president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers here at OU, but I’m also heavily involved in Women in Engineering, E-Club, an alumni of the women’s technical sorority Alpha Sigma Kappa, and will be graduating this May to work full-time for XTO Energy.
- Tell me a little bit about what it’s like to study Petroleum Engineering at OU.
Amazing! I love OU’s program and how it’s structured. I feel like the professors here are very aware of us as students and work hard to make it a very personal program. They’re very open to office hours and very open to attending student events like the Tech Talks and student dinners we put on. All our professors are very open and very willing to interact with students in an environment that’s less stressful than the classroom. It all makes for a very great, close-knit family atmosphere in our program.
Here at OU we also have a variety of study abroad programs. Our department has made these opportunities very accessible for us in that we can do our study abroad programs in the first 3-4 weeks of our summer break and still have time for a full summer internship afterwards. That is what I actually did and I can say from experience is a big thing that our department has taken the steps to make these opportunities a possibility for us.
Outside that we have very active student organizations. Unlike some other PE programs I feel that OU’s has student organizations that work to provide mentorship programs, that work to provide Tech Talks, they provide networking experiences, and a larger range of opportunities than some other PE programs that I’m aware of.
Also, we have a Dean who is absolutely amazing! Mike Stice, our dean, actually teaches the into to petroleum engineering class here at OU so right out of the gate you have this amazing experience with the leadership of our college who has amazing visions for what our program can do and what it can be.
- You’ve spent the past year as president of SPE, tell me a little bit about that experience.
As president of SPE I’ve been able to do some pretty incredible things. I’ve been able to attend varios conferences with our organization which is actually part of our involvement with SPE International. Here at OU, we have a ton of smaller student-geared activities that we do as well like resume workshops, our mentoring program, and major-specific tutoring.
As president I’ve also had the incredible honor of serving among some of the best student leaders in our major, department, and entire university. It’s been such a cool experience to help plan events that are specifically tailored to our students and that help our students succeed and network. I feel like that has really been my favorite part of it.
- What are you most looking forward to after graduation.
I will be starting full-time with XTO Energy out in the Permian Basin this summer. Specifically, I’ll be with operations and facilities engineering. This is a company that I love with all my heart. It’s been an incredible experience working with them in the past. I actually have had two internships with them, one in Midland working in operations and the second in reservoir engineering in Fort Worth. I’ve had quite a bit of experience working with this company and I’ve absolutely loved every person I’ve met there. It’s a great family environment and I’m thrilled and honored to be working for them and starting my next chapter.
- Do you think that the education you’ve received from OU has adequately prepared you for your life after graduation?
I would definitely say that it has. I would say, specifically, in Petroleum Engineering, we have some incredible professors. I feel like, especially in your senior year, you get very industry-applicable education from our program, like projects that you would be doing as a petroleum engineer not long after being hired.
I feel like there are ways that our department has changed in the past five years that have made it better for students as well. It has provided more course options that specifically apply to life after graduation. Consequently, I would say yes the PE program at OU has prepared our students for the industry and it’s been making steps to do even more so.
- Since you’ll be graduating, what’s been your favorite experience you’ve had at OU the four years you’ve been here?
As I mentioned before, it would have to be my experience at OU studying abroad. I’ve actually studied abroad twice at OU. My freshman year I did honors at Oxford in Oxford, England. It was my first time leaving the country and it was amazing. I definitely have the travel bug now. The second opportunity was my junior year when I studied abroad with Dr. Deepak of our petroleum program in Madrid, Spain studying shale, oil, and gas reservoir engineering. It was amazing and immediately afterward, I think with about a 3-day turnaround, I moved into a new apartment in Fort Worth to start an internship there. It was a chaotic whirlwind between the two but the Study abroad was totally worth it and so much fun. One of the cool things about it too was that we took the course with students from the actual university in Madrid where we were studying, so you got to meet and interact with some really cool students from halfway across the world. They were so caring, kind, and generous and were so welcoming to us as students. We also got to tour other parts of Spain outside Madrid as well, and while we were only there for three weeks it ended up being the perfect amount of time to explore.
- Lastly, what is something you’d like someone coming to OU next year to know about our program?
I think that OU is very much a family type of community and that by coming here you are really joining the Sooner Family. I feel like in our program there are a lot of members of our faculty and staff to make sure you feel welcome, and at home, or at least meet other students who will help you and make your experience here as fulfilling and rewarding as possible. There are a lot of people here who are on your side and I feel like that’s something you wouldn’t get at one of the larger universities.