ConocoPhillips interns, showing off our new Texas boots

I only have three weeks left in my internship in Houston, Texas, and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned this summer. During the first week, I was given the assignment of analyzing the transportation needs for the Eagle Ford Shale oil fields in South Texas, optimizing transporation capacity, minimizing costs, forecasting future growth, and giving a business plan recommendation for the future. I have put my ISE 330:Introduction to Operations Research class to good use; using Excel Solver, I’ve created a complex linear program that is able to maximizing the net profit per barrel of oil based on contraints, such as the distance the oil is delivered, oil pipeline capacity, and market prices. In fact, my original linear program was so complex, it crashed Excel! Oops! Although my project can be frustrating at times, it feels great to really contribute something meaningful to the company. My group has already used some of my analysis in their business decisions.
I’ve also been lucky to meet some great friends here in Houston. I live near quite a few other ConocoPhillips interns, and we’ve become quite a close-knit bunch. After work, we often get dinner together, and we’ve already gone on two weekend trips around Texas. Two weeks ago we went to Austin, TX, where we floated down the river on tubes one afternoon. Last weekend for the Fourth of July, fourteen of us rented out a house at the beach in South Padre.
Other highlights of my summer include an intern trip to buy cowboy boots (we later went out dancing to a place with a mechanical bull), volunteering at the Houston zoo, watching an Astros game from the ConocoPhillips suite, and showing my boyfriend around Houston when he came to visit.
With only a few weeks left before the end of my internship, I need to start preparing for my final presentation. I will have to give a 45 minute presentation, showcasing my summer work, to a panel. I have heard the audience likes to ask interns some pretty tough questions, so I have a lot of learning to do in addition to finishing my project!

Hotel in downtown Austin

CityCentre (a Texas version of The Grove in LA)

Our Thursday night tradition: Turtle Racing, a bizarre but extremely fun event at a local restaurant