Bronco geology team brings home silver in prestigious competition

Contact: Mark Schwerin

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A team of Western Michigan University geology students recently placed second among 11 teams competing in the Eastern Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Imperial Barrel Award competition.

The WMU team was awarded $500 for their department's scholarship funds. Only three teams received medals and cash awards.

Dr. Robb Gillespie, Clayton Joupperi, Matt Hemenway, Mohammed Al Musawi, Zaid Nadhim, Jack Hybza and Kyle Patterson.

WMU IBA team, from left: Dr. Robb Gillespie, geosciences faculty advisor; graduate students Clayton Joupperi, Matt Hemenway, Mohammed Al Musawi, Zaid Nadhim and Jack Hybza; and Kyle Patterson, industry advisor and WMU alumnus.

The teams

The team of five WMU Department of Geosciences graduate students was guided by Dr. Robb Gillespie, assistant professor of geosciences and faculty advisor, and Kyle Patterson, a petroleum geologist with Miller Energy Co. and a WMU geosciences alumnus.

Other teams competing came from Ball State, Kent State, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky universities and the universities of Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee and West Virginia. Western Kentucky University placed first and the University of Kentucky placed third.

The competition

The competition originated at Imperial College in the United Kingdom in 1976 and is now an international competition, with AAPG adopting the program in 2007. The Imperial Barrel Award competition is a hands-on opportunity for students to analyze data sets from around the world, use state-of-the-art analytical technology, and formulate creative solutions essential to today's energy industry.

The presentations are the culmination of eight weeks of geological and geophysical data analysis and interpretation that ultimately lead up to a formal "Oil and Gas Prospect" presentation by all team members to a panel of energy professionals. The judges this year were Pat Imbrogno, of GEO-COM LLC; Bob Trevail, of Orion Geological Services LLC; and Buddy Wylie, of Cabot Oil & Gas. They selected winners on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation.

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