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.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been involved with at OU.
My name is Dalton Walker and I’m from Greenwood Village, Colorado. I’m a senior Petroleum Engineering major here at OU and have been involved with OU’s student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers for most of my time here. Last year I was one of the society’s two Freshman Liaisons and this year I was one of our two Alumni Relations Chairs. As Freshman Liaison for SPE I got to work on programs to help incoming freshman acclimate to campus and help introduce them to what they can expect going forward in their OU career. We had events like an upperclassmen Q&A and a career fair prep guide – both of which I wish we would have had when I was a freshman
- As a senior, what are you looking to after graduation?
After graduation I’ll be pursuing a Master’s of Science in Business Analytics. An MSBA is more or less classes on data analysis, interpretation, and presentation with a couple of more formal business education classes sprinkled in. It’s basically a ‘Big Data’ master’s degree! At this point I’ve been accepted to SMU in Dallas, TX and Duke University in Durham, NC, so I’ll be making a decision in the next couple of weeks as to where I want to go!
- What made you decide to complement your Petroleum Engineering degree with a more data focused master’s?
Well the answer to that has actually been almost a year in the making; however, it stems from one simple fact – that the oil and gas industry brings in a massive amount of data. I initially noticed this in the summer of 2017 at my reservoir engineering internship for Liberty Resources in Denver, CO. During the course of the summer, I discovered literally gigabits of files with daily drilling reports, completion reports, geology reports, live MWD data, old PVT tests, and other technical well information from the beginning of the life of the well accumulated into hundreds of excel sheets. At one point I asked my coworkers “why aren’t you guys using this stuff?” as it was all important information that could be going towards reservoir evaluation or production analysis among other uses. The answer I got was that they had either forgotten they had the data or they didn’t know how to use it. The latter part of that answer struck me and lead me down the path to applying to MSBA programs. Having people who both understand the data that’s collected and who can also interpret it is something the industry is lacking. I feel like I could fill that niche and do it in a way that the industry hasn’t seen before. I’m excited; I feel like it’s the next frontier for the oil and gas industry.
- Do you feel like our program has adequately prepared you for life after graduation?
Definitely! I’ve loved my classes here and I think MCEE has some great professors. The degree plan is structured in a way that is super advantageous to the student. Early on in your freshman and sophomore years you get to take classes from some of our best professors like Dr. Younane Abousleiman and Dr. Carl Sondergeld. I feel like with other majors you really don’t get to interact with the most accomplished faculty until your junior and senior year. Additionally, our college is really good in giving you the technical skills necessary for internships and jobs down the line. The list of companies that MCEE students have job and internships from prove this year after year. Finally, as with any STEM degree, you learn how to learn as well as how to respond to challenges where you don’t know the answer – technical or not. That’s something I know I’ll use as I go on to get a Business Analytics master’s and really throughout my life.
- Since you’re graduating, what’s one of your favorite memories from your time at OU?
The first thing that comes to mind is the 2016 Ohio State football game from my Junior year. We came in an hour and half before the game started, which was not nearly early enough to get good seats. As a result we were way up high in the student section and were kicking ourselves for our poor game day time management. However, about an hour before kickoff, a massive lightning rolled in and started flooding the stadium. The PA announcer told us to get out of the stands and go under the bleachers; however, there was no chance I was giving up my seat. I stood strong in the soaking, cold rain and was surprised to be rewarded as some of the other students in lower seats weren’t as stubborn and started to leave. As a result, we steadily got to move closer and closer to the field until we ended up on the first row for one of the biggest football games of the year. I got totally soaked and had to dry my wallet for the next few days, but it was totally worth it!
- Lastly, what’s something you’d like an incoming freshman to know about OU?
The best advice I have is a lesson in both time management and taking advantage of the opportunities this great university offers. The first couple of months you’re here you’re going to have a ton of opportunities to get involved thrown at you. With a STEM major though, especially one in engineering, I really recommend getting your study plan and your academics sorted out first. Find a study spot in the library and get your routine down. Then, once you’ve got that your baseline down and know how much time you need to dedicate to academics, start branching out and get involved. Join SPE or Pick & Hammer, join a recreational clubs outside of your major like the Union Programming Board, or join a club wherever your interests lie – I guarantee you OU will have it. There’s a ton of stuff at OU to get involved with, a ton of people to meet, and a ton of memories to be made – so get out there and get involved!