Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


A little winter weather didn't stop UT PGE students from participating in the 2014 SPE Local Paper Contest. The event, originally planned for January 24, was rescheduled to the following week due to icy roads and freezing temperatures.

On January 31, UT PGE hosted the 2014 SPE Local Paper Contest, an annual event that requires participants to craft a 20-minute presentation on their research topic or an academic/internship project and showcase it to a panel of industry judges, many of whom graduated from UT PGE. The contest allows submissions from B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. students and after competing, winners are chosen from each division.

The winners of the local paper contest are:

B.S. Division

1. Jason Camacho

2. Kellyn Schmitz

3. Youssef Elkady

M.S. Division

1. Mahmood Shakiba

2. Joseph Tansey

3. Sapatswa Basu

Ph.D. Division

1. Fei Cao

2. Yashar Mehmani

3. Aboulghasem Kazemi Nia Korrani

The B.S. division winner, Jason Camacho, expressed his enthusiasm for competing in the contest.

"My research represented a body of work, which spanned two years and many hundreds of hours," said Camacho. "Sharing my results in an academic forum was the capstone on executing my honors thesis. The opportunity to participate in the B.S. division of the local paper contest was a privilege. The other contestants were qualified, motivated, and prepared."

Dr. David DiCarlo, associate professor and SPE co-advisor was excited about the success of this year's event.

“Even with the postponed event, we had our best turn out for students and judges since I have been at UT,” said DiCarlo. “We had 38 students present in more than five different rooms in front of 12 judges. We saw a big jump in our M.S. student participation – it went from six last year to 14 this year.  A big thanks to our industry judges who re-arranged their schedules on short notice to make the trip up to Austin.”

The list of judges, includes:

  • Mark Walsh, Consultant
  • Bob MacDonald, Platt, Sparks & Associates
  • Josh Xu, Chevron
  • Alan He, Statoil 
  • Sahil Malhotra, Chevron
  • Dustin Walker, Chevron
  • Nico Roussel, ConocoPhillips
  • Matt Dean, Chevron
  • Siyavash Motealleh, BP
  • Sam Larkin, Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Susan Howes, Chevron
  • Kristin Schmidt, Chevron

The first and second-place contestants will travel to the oil and gas capital to compete in the SPE Regional Paper Contest on April 4 and 5 at the University of Houston. Those who place first at the regional contest will then be invited to present at SPE’s prestigious Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands this October.