Petroleum Engineering professor receives SPE achievement award
Dr. Ahmed Algarhy has received international recognition for his work in creating an online educational platform that serves both students and professionals in the oil and gas industry.
Algarhy, an Assistant Professor in Marietta College’s Petroleum Engineering and Geology Department, won the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, Eastern North America Region.
The prestigious award honors faculty for their superiority in classroom teaching, excellence in research, significant contributions to the petroleum engineering profession or special effectiveness in advising and guiding students, according to the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Algarhy earned this year’s prize for PioPetro, his nonprofit organization based at Marietta College that offers free online educational opportunities to students, along with consulting and training for oil and gas professionals.
The goal of PioPetro is to bring companies, experts and educational institutions from across the globe together to train the next generation of petroleum engineers.
One of the flagship educational programs PioPetro offers is an extensive multi-week internship, conducted in partnership with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (North America and Egypt section) and other higher education institutions. This summer’s internship, which will conclude at the end of September, drew interest from more than 13,000 students in 70 countries, and about 5,000 students will earn certificates for successfully completing the coursework.
Algarhy first dreamed of starting a free educational service for students in the oil and gas industry while he was working on his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University. After he was hired at Marietta College in 2018, he shared his idea with his department chair, Ben Ebenhack; President Bill Ruud; and Provost Janet Bland, who offered their full support.
In 2019, the Marietta faculty founded PioPetro. Since then, PioPetro’s worldwide reach has grown rapidly — today, PioPetro has 30,000 followers on Facebook, 17,000 followers on LinkedIn and 16,000 subscribers on the PioPetro YouTube channel.
“I believe that PioPetro is adding a lot to the petroleum students’ community worldwide and also to the Marietta College brand and reputation,” Algarhy said.
In the future, Algarhy would like to expand PioPetro by deepening relationships with both companies and universities in the Middle East to help grow PioPetro’s student training activities. Some of his work so far includes exploring collaborations on student capstone projects and master’s degrees.
Aside from those efforts, Algarhy also is busy planning a virtual international student geosciences conference called Earth, Energy and Environment (or E3) Student Conference and Exhibition. The conference, which is expected to draw 5,000 students, will feature expert speakers, panel discussions and a technical presentation contest for undergraduate and graduate students from interested universities.
Starting next year, the international event will merge with Marietta’s student-led Oil and Gas Technical Exhibition, which brings students and professionals together to network and discuss industry technology and careers.