UL Lafayette Geosciences Team named Top Oil Prospectors

Recently, a group of geosciences students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette competed in the 2023 North American Region Competition, where they were named the best team of students in North America who can determine where to drill for oil, according to this feature article from the University.

UL Lafayette’s team of competing geosciences students included Savana Anderson, Peyton Dardeau, Margaret Dittman and Abigail Watson, also known collectively as the University’s Imperial Barrel team. The team’s faculty advisor was Dr. David Oppo, an assistant professor in the School of Geosciences. This four-student team, which consisted of both undergraduate and graduate students,  placed first for the Imperial Barrel Award for the 2023 North American Region Competition, which is a competition for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Dr. Carl Richter, Associated Dean of Ray P. Authement College of Sciences and Professor at the School of Geosciences, spoke about the team saying, “this doesn’t place the School’s teams in exclusive company. It’s more like a private club. Over the years, the teams achieved a level of preeminence that’s not likely to be equaled anytime soon. It reflects the quality of students the School of Geosciences attracts and the strength of our graduate program.”

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ competition functions as a competitive showcase for students to collaborate as they analyze industry data, make key determinations about energy resources, and make vital decisions about sustainable extraction methods. Because the University’s Imperial Barrel team won the North American Region competition after winning the Gulf Coast sectional, they will be coming on to the world competition.

Last year, the ULL’s Imperial Barrel team placed second in the world and have won the overall event three times in the past: in 2012, 2014, and 2018. It should be noted that they are the only team to claim the title of “world’s best” three times in the history of the award.

The competition involved the students analyzing real datasets including information on basin’s geology, petroleum system elements, geophysics, and production infrastructures over the course of eight weeks. Throughout the competition, the four team members used state-of-the-art technology, received feedback from industry advisors, and networked with potential employers. The competition’s main goal includes identifying a prospective oil reservoir and determining its overall viability. The team then reports its verdict during a 25 minute presentation to industry experts, who then select a winner based on technical quality, clarity, and the originality of the presentation.

Joey Grimball was a previous winner for UL Lafayette during the 2012 competition, and he had the following to say about his involvement in the competition and the impact it has had on his career: “the IBA experience has been the culmination of my coursework at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. By using the knowledge we attained from previous courses we as a team were able to put together a prospect evaluation starting at the Basin analysis level with the understanding of regional geology, paleogeography, maturation of the source rocks, trapping mechanisms, reservoirs and seals in our area.

These past three months we have grown as individuals and gained insight into how real world petroleum prospectsare put together. Through our interaction with Industry professionals and advice given to us through our Advisor we have a better understanding of how Industry operates. Also the presentation skills along with the networking that we have been able to do through this process have added up to be the best experience of my academic career. I hope to be a part of the IBA experience for years to come.”

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Nicholls Recently Renewed its Partnership with MAX Charter School

It was recently announced that Nicholls State University and the Maxine Giardina Charter School have officially renewed their five-year affiliation, according to this news release from Nicholls. The affiliation between Nicholls and MAX Charter School is described as a way to provide both engagement and support through both the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the Nicholls Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders.

Five years ago, Nicholls’ College of Education had introduced the internally recognized Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling approach to MAX Charter’s educational curriculum. Essentially, the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling, or CABAS, is seen as a scientifically validated approach to schooling, and because of this, it incorporates principles and tactics of the basic science of behavior in order to teach educationally significant and socially significant repertoires through continuous assessment, monitoring, and individualized interventions that are based on data.

Nicholls President Jay Clune, PhD. had spoken about the renewed partnership by saying, “for years, the affiliation between MAX Charter School and Nicholls has provided incredible opportunities for our teacher candidates to receive hands-on training in instructional delivery to students with differentiated learning styles. In turn, MAX benefits by having access to resources and ongoing support from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders. This is a valuable educational partnership for both organizations.”

The Chairman of MAX Charter School Board, Jake Giardina, commented on the partnership by saying, “the collaboration between MAX Charter and Nicholls leverages the education, experience, and expertise of both entities greatly benefiting all stakeholders.”

Additionally, Nicholls Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Scot Rademaker, said “MAX is a great place for our teacher candidates and future counselors to gain valuable experiences prior to their employment as professionals in the world of education. Some candidates and interns may even be employed by MAX and continue to provide quality instruction and services for students with dyslexia. Nicholls has been able to provide valuable resources, including professional development from teacher education faculty, as well as leadership and guidance through board governance for MAX. We hope that the professional connections between our two educational entities will continue for many years to come.”

Approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the MAX Charter School is actually the first of its kind in Louisiana and it has since become a source for ongoing professional development of in-service teachers and field experience training for pre-service teachers at the University. The school is described as being dedicated to educating first through eighth-grade students with dyslexia and related learning differences.

The Nicholls Louisiana Center for Dyslexia & Related Learning Disorders describes its mission by saying that it “is to transform the lives of individuals with dyslexia through the provision of support services to college students, educational evaluations to the public, and training opportunities to teachers and parents.”

Similarly, the Nicholls College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is dedicated to the preparation of high-quality, experienced, and knowledgeable educational leaders, teachers, school counselors, psychological counselors, school psychologists, and human service professionals who are able to meet the diverse needs of Louisiana and the larger global community. They say, “this is accomplished by a faculty committed to teaching, community service, professional service, and research. Programs of study are grounded in the conceptual framework: ‘Responsible Leaders Engaging in Professional Practice.’ The college is strongly committed to service in area school systems and community agencies.”

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