Petroleum and natural gas engineering is a young program at SRU, but has received another sign of support in the form of a $2.4 million grant that will aid students for the next decade.
The engineering software manufacturer Petex provided the donation earlier this month. According to Dr. Mohammad Kazemi, assistant professor of physics and engineering, Petex assessed SRU’s program and determined that the grant would aid the surrounding community and the engineering industry as a whole.
“This is a significant advancement for the program to have access to this software,” Kazemi said. “We are building the foundation for this program and this software will help better prepare our students for careers in petroleum and natural gas engineering.”
Petex’s software will be accessible for the next decade at SRU. Their programs are used by professional engineers to develop predictive models before future projects. Kazemi said that the software will be available in Vincent Science Center for higher-level courses within the program. These courses include: Properties of Petroleum Fluids, Properties of Petroleum Fluids, Reservoir Engineering and Petroleum Engineering Capstone Design.
Reinforcing SRU’s growing engineering program has been a top priority under the administration of university president Dr. William Behre. During his inauguration speech in November, Behre said expanding and developing engineering at SRU were important to him moving forward.
“We’ve just gotten a whole new bunch of engineering programs approved, and we have to invest in that,” Behre said. “Part of that dye has already been cast. In the near term we’re going to be investing in engineering, simply because we told students that they’re going to be able to get a degree in that field here. We have to provide the infrastructure necessary for those students to succeed.”
In October, SRU gained approval from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to begin offering bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and civil engineering starting in the fall 2019.
Currently, there are more than 40 students enrolled in the petroleum and natural gas engineering program. Kazemi said engineering students will have the opportunity to see the bigger picture of how their courses apply to the real world because of the software provided by Petex.
“This software is pretty expensive, but it has many modules and it covers areas that most companies are using,” Kazemi said. “One of the primary goals we have in our program is to more fully prepare students for the workforce so their on-the-job training can be greatly reduced. If our students are better prepared by being able to learn how to use this software as undergraduates, then they have better chances of finding jobs with better companies and with better compensation more quickly.”