Friends and Colleagues,The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering continues to be one of the premier programs devoted to all aspects of energy and mineral exploration, production, utilization, risk analysis, economics and environmental impact assessment.
It boasts of a rich history, extremely successful alumni, outstanding and award-winning faculty, exceptionally talented students who continue to scale new heights in multi-disciplinary research and creativity and dedicated staff willing to take on all the challenges that come their way. The department embodies the “Energy University” vision that President Barron has articulated. We live in exciting times, with major shifts both in our energy landscape and also in our perceptions regarding sustainability and stewarding our planet’s resources, and the department continues to evolve in order to address challenges and also to exploit exciting opportunities.
The department of Energy and Mineral Engineering is made up of five programs – Energy Engineering (EGEE), Energy Business and Finance (EBF), Environmental Systems Engineering (EnVSE), Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE) and Mining Engineering (MNG) as well as an online undergraduate program in Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP). The undergraduate programs listed above map loosely into graduate options. These programs consistently rank among the best in their respective areas and their excellent quality is evidenced by the extraordinarily high undergraduate enrollment numbers and the high graduate enrollment. In the latest ranking of undergraduate Petroleum Engineering programs released by US News and World Report, the PNGE program ranked number three in the country establishing that program among the elite program in the country. Despite the strength of the individual programs, the department strives to project the image of a unique, strong, top-ranked Energy and Mineral Engineering program with 6 strong components listed above. This unique “one” department vision and its potential is what I hope to realize over the next few years to.
Undergraduate Program: Advancing a sustainable teaching portfolio that provides top-rated education to all students is the cherished vision laid out in our strategic plan. While I do firmly believe that increased resource allocation is critical to achieve success in this mission, there are some key steps that we will have to take collectively in order to get to our goal. Examining critically our course offerings at the undergraduate level and coming up with strategies to deliver courses that may meet curriculum requirements across program areas will enable more efficient allocation of teaching resources, enhance student experiences and more balanced teaching load for faculty in the department. We need to give careful consideration to accreditation requirements while at the same time make efforts to transition to a modern curriculum that emphasizes flexible scheduling options for all students.
Graduate Program: The department has recently voted to revamp our common core graduate curriculum and the revised curriculum strengthens the base graduate offering of the EME department. However, there is still considerable work to be done to attract the best students to our department and to compensate them for their efforts while they are pursuing their graduate career. I fully believe that a dramatic turn-around in our graduate recruitment efforts can result if we make our EME graduate program vibrant and visible to the world through a suite of well-conceived courses that showcase world-class research being done in our department, a dynamic web-presence that communicates the latest developments in research to the world and lastly but perhaps most importantly, world class research infrastructure realized through an expedited schedule to get the Hosler renovation completed.
Research Excellence: A research-intensive department becomes a magnet for attracting resources from both internal and external sources. Incentivizing faculty to engage in multi-disciplinary research across program areas, departments and colleges within the university is of paramount importance. Several world class institutes such as the PennState Institute for the Energy and the Environment, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Materials Research Institute, the Institute for Natural Gas Research and the Energy Institute provide extensive and state-of-the-art infrastructure for performing transformational research that addresses societal challenges. Strengthening ties with these institutes by providing in- house sabbaticals for limited duration for faculty to develop new research directions, proposals and collaboration that will benefit the institutes while at the same time enhance the department’s research profile.
Sustainability: Our department is uniquely positioned to truly embed sustainability as a core value in all facets of energy and mineral engineering. Whether it be the development of environmentally sustainable technologies for natural resource extraction or the development of systems engineering concepts pertaining to production of energy from alternate sources, we have the expertise and knowhow to study the environmental impact, assess the risks, perform systems level optimization, perform sophisticated economic analysis of decisions and propose policies that take into account the engineering as well as the social aspects of proposals. We need to strengthen such systems-level understanding of processes and technologies and encapsulate the knowledge in capstone design courses that march students through the entire life cycle of system design and implementation.
These issues as well as the development of strategies to expedite the renovation of the Hosler building, developing a blueprint for attracting top notch applicants from diverse backgrounds to our student, staff and faculty ranks, expanding and enhancing our online course offerings, engaging and involving our alumni and friends as we go forward with our future development plans, these are all pressing challenges that will require our collective thinking and action. I look forward to exchanging my thoughts regarding each of these issues with you and seek your involvement in defining the future of the EME department.
About Sanjay Srinivasan
Sanjay’s primary research focus is in the area of petroleum reservoir characterization and improved management of recovery processes for unconventional resources. In addition to expertise in geostatistics, he is a pioneer in the development of advanced algorithms for integrating production and seismic data in stochastic modeling techniques. He also has developed novel schemes for improved seismic characterization of unconventional reservoirs and is interested in field scale characterization of geological carbon dioxide sequestration.
Sanjay previously was a professor of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and had held the Frank Jessen Faculty Fellowship in Petroleum Engineering. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Faculty Grant for Ph.D. Pipeline, the SPE Southwestern North America Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award, the SPE award for outstanding technical editor for his work with the SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering journal. He is the associate editor of Mathematical Geosciences and is a member of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the International Geostatistics Congress.
He holds a B.Tech. degree in petroleum engineering from the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, a master of science in petroleum engineering from University of Southern California, and a doctorate in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.