The Subsea Engineering Society at the University of Houston kicked off in August, and its members are pushing to make this a well-known organization within the industry.
The SES was founded during the summer by mechanical engineering senior, Nebolisa Egbunike. Egbunike said the organization got its start after he had a discussion with the university’s Subsea Engineering Program founding director, Matthew Franchek.
“I thought about starting up a new society to serve as a platform for younger professionals to help merge the gap between the industry and academia,” Egbunike said. “I made up some flyers with a couple of my friends, and we went to the Offshore Technology Conference back in May and started talking to representatives of different companies.”
Egbunike’s idea quickly gained recognition throughout the industry. Oil and gas giant BP has already agreed to become SES’s first sponsor.
The organization’s faculty adviser, Phaneendra Kondapi, said UH was the perfect platform to give SES its start.
“I agreed to help with SES because it is the first of its kind for students,” he said. “Since UH has the first and only subsea engineering program in the US, I knew that this was the right place and the right time to establish this organization.”
The fall semester also kicked off the Subsea Engineering master’s program at the university.
Kondapi, an engineer with FMC Technologies and adjunct professor within the master’s program, explained that students enrolled in the program will have a leg-up on their peers upon graduation.
“One of the students who’s in SES asked me why they should choose subsea engineering,” Kondapi said. “I told them that the master's program would give them access to what the industry is doing now, and that they’d have a much better chance of getting some exposure. These students will have an advantage over other engineers once they graduate because they won’t have to receive as much training.”
The Subsea Engineering Society welcomes students of all majors and backgrounds. Egbunike said the organization is looking for motivated students seeking better opportunities and who have great ideas to help the organization advance.
“We’re definitely excited about getting more people involved,” Egbunike said. “You don’t necessarily need an engineering degree to work, or make a difference, in the oil and gas industry.”
As the organization makes plans for expansion—traveling to conferences, planting new chapters and creating a mentorship program are underway. The Global Subsea University Alliance, which includes the University of Houston, is likely to be the starting point for the organization's growth, Egbunike said. He says the feedback he’s gotten proves that this organization is just what the University of Houston, and the oil and gas industry need.
“It’s been awesome,” Egbunike said. “I can definitely say that my team has put in a lot of work. Founding the Subsea Engineering Society has really opened a lot of doors and opportunities for us, and it feels really good to see your idea come into implementation. I’m excited for the future. “
Anyone wanting more information, or to find out about upcoming events, visit the SES’s website at subseaeng.org.