Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

UT PGE hired two outstanding assistant professors this spring: Drs. Hugh Daigle and Mark McClure.

Due to the retirement of Drs. Ekwere Peters and Martin Chenevert, and the continued growth of the undergraduate and graduate programs, the department sought two rising faculty stars to continue propelling UT PGE forward as a top petroleum and geosystems engineering program in the country. Daigle and McClure perfectly fit the description.

Daigle and McClure pose in front of a pillar on campus.

Hugh Daigle – Assistant Professor

Dr. Hugh Daigle joined the UT PGE department with solid R&D experience in industry. His insider knowledge will allow him to excel in developing his research program and arming the future generation of petroleum engineers with the skills to solve industry’s challenges.

By training, Daigle is a geologist. He earned both his BS and PhD degrees in earth sciences from Harvard University and Rice University, respectively.

“After my undergraduate program I went to Midland and started logging wells – getting my hands dirty in the field was the best way to learn,” said Daigle. “I then sought a deeper understanding of the discipline, so I went back to school for a PhD, and post-graduation began conducting research in petrophysics for Chevron.”

When Daigle heard about the assistant professor position at UT PGE, he knew it was a phenomenal role that suited him perfectly.

“My passion is in-depth investigation of a problem – really delving into the nuts and bolts – so having my own research program in a self-directed manner was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Daigle.

Daigle will focus his research on characterizing physical and transport properties of rocks using a combination of laboratory experiments and numerical simulation. His work is aimed at improving formation evaluation, completion design, and production strategy. Specific areas of interest include: pore-scale pressure and chemical processes associated with methane hydrates; deformation mechanisms in shales and mudrocks; pore-scale fluid transport in rocks; and petrophysical measurement and assessment techniques.

From an academic standpoint, Daigle is looking forward to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students to help set them up for success in industry.

“With my experience, I feel equipped to help undergraduate students prepare for a petroleum engineering job,” said Daigle. “Graduate students have a higher barrier of passage, so as a faculty member I will need to provide tools to push them to investigate their research project on their own and to think more independently.”

Daigle’s depth of industry knowledge, enthusiasm for teaching and research DNA are strong assets to the department.

Mark McClure – Assistant Professor

Dr. Mark McClure graduated last fall from Stanford University’s “Energy Resources” PhD program as a highly rated researcher in hydraulic fracturing. McClure earned his master’s degree in petroleum engineering and his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University as well.

Since McClure is not far removed from the student experience, he said, “I have a strong understanding of how to meet the students’ needs, so they can be successful in the classroom and beyond. I am innovative in my teaching, using the latest technology gadgets, which provides this tech savvy generation of students with a strong level of engagement.”

McClure is excited to make an impact on the undergraduate curriculum to ensure it’s evolving and improving alongside our energy techniques and innovations.

“My goal is to create a hydraulic fracturing class, complementary to Dr. Jon Olson’s existing class, which will be dedicated to unconventional settings,” said McClure. “Our students should be equipped with the latest knowledge in the field.”

McClure chose academia, as he enjoys working independently, and wanted the opportunity to manage his own research program.

“I work on big problems that impact industry, so having ownership of my projects allows me to better solve the energy sector’s most critical issues,” said McClure.

His goal is to bring new ideas that will have a significant impact on the hydraulic fracturing field. His research is focused on modeling and characterization in three complementary areas: hydraulic stimulation of shale gas reservoirs, hydraulic stimulation of geothermal reservoirs, and induced seismicity. He develops unique modeling tools designed to better describe the physical processes taking place during these complex processes. McClure is expanding his research into new areas that involve the nexus of modeling, geomechanics, and fluid flow.

McClure’s dedication to technologically sophisticated classrooms aimed at meeting a student’s individual learning style, and his already nationally recognized research will continue to position UT PGE as a leader in academics and research.