What does Alaska have to do with USC, you ask? Well, because my plane tickets and hotels were funded by our petroleum engineering department! Last May, I attended the Western Regional Conference for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in Anchorage, Alaska. SPE is one of many engineering professional societies that have a student chapter at USC. You can read more about my other experiences SPE here.
I’ve been research with one of the professors in the petroleum engineering department since my freshman year. After going through some training projects and helping out freshman year, it was time to start writing my own paper! Throughout all of sophomore year, I work on a project with waterflood monitoring waterfloods. Waterflooding is when you inject saltwater into the deep underground oil reservoirs, that way the pressure in the reservoir increases and it’s easier produce. At the end of my sophomore year, I entered into the SPE Student Paper contest, and that’s how the department funded me to go compete in Anchorage!
While I was in Anchorage, I attended several days of the conference, including presenting my own paper and listening to distinguished researchers’ papers. I learned a lot and met a lot people; it was great for networking. I ended up winning second place in the competition, which was great, but I missed the first place prize: an all paid trip to Dubai to compete in the international conference.
After the conference, I decided to stay a couple extra days in Alaska, and visited Denali National Park. Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, at 20,310 feet. The national park surrounding it is one of the largest in the US, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I took a train ride up to the park from Anchorage to get some amazing views of the mountain. While I was there, I hiked around trails on the furthest available bus stop, and visited the dog sled kennels! Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite memories from USC, and I wouldn’t have been able to go without the support of professor and department at Viterbi.