Industry Leaders Announce Petroleum Technology Scholarship Recipients

Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund Awards $15,000 to UACCM Students 
Several students in the new UACCM petroleum technology program are getting a helping hand as they study to begin a new career in Arkansas’ oil and gas industry. Thanks to the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund, 15 area students are receiving $1,000 scholarships to help pay for tuition, fees and books.   
Representatives from some of the largest companies in Arkansas’ natural gas industry were on hand on February 21 to announce the inaugural beneficiaries of the group’s new scholarship program.  Awards were made to students based on grade point average and financial need.  The scholarships are for $500 each semester, renewable for the fall and spring semester as long as a minimum 2.5 grade point average is maintained.  Scholarship winners were selected by the UACCM scholarship committee.  
Students receiving scholarships include:
UA System Pres. Dr. B. Alan Sugg
  • Timothy Blake - Plumerville
  • Alan C. Davis - Oppelo
  • Joseph Epperson - Russellville
  • Joshua Harrison - Houston
  • Scott Jennette - Bee Branch
  • Chris Kershner - Dardanelle
  • Kelly McGehee - Casa
  • James McEwen - Plainview
  • Randy Oliger - Center Ridge
  • Ronice Parrett - Conway          
  • Vincent Pittman - Morrilton
  • Joe Charles Roberts - Dover
  • John Stripling - Clinton
  • Michael B. Thomas - Hattieville       
  • Sheryl Wade - Russellville
Those attending the scholarship presentation and reception included University of Arkansas System President Dr. B. Alan Sugg; U of A System Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Dan Ferritor; U of A System Board of Trustees members Stanley Reed (Chair), Jane Rogers, and John Ed Anthony; U of A Board of Visitors members Raye Pearce (Chair), A.O. Thompson, Charles Penick, and Kathlyn Arnett; and UACCM Foundation Board members Doug Cahill, Aaron Spivey, Diana Arn, and Mary Clark. Executive Director of the Conway Co. Economic Development Corp./President of Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce John Gibson also attended the event.

SWN Energy Rep. George Sheffer
“We hope these students are the first of many we can help join our industry,” said George Sheffer, field manager for Southwestern Energy Company and vice president of the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund. “The many companies supporting our fundraising efforts have come together to support this cause because we all have a vested interest in building a strong, local workforce.  We want to help Arkansans build careers in the Fayetteville Shale for years to come.”

During the reception, UACCM petroleum technology students and scholarship recipients Charles Roberts and Joseph Epperson spoke to the crowd and conveyed the appreciation of the scholarship recipients to the donors. Speaking for the students, Roberts said, “Scholarships make the difference in the family budget.  This scholarship allows us to take this training and have a chance at a better paying job.

“The community college here at Morrilton is the perfect academy for our training.  This school, with its vocational heart and academic soul, is preparing us for the engineering support jobs that we seek.”
Petroleum Student Joseph Epperson
Epperson called the scholarship award a great honor. Addressing the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund representatives, Epperson said, “You have made my college journey and hopefully many others’ a little easier. To know you have friends and family supporting you is one thing, but to know that other people in the industry are there helping you achieve your goals is something to be proud of and very encouraging.

Established in 2006, the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund is a volunteer organization with members representing companies working in the Fayetteville Shale.  The group’s mission is to encourage and enable individuals to pursue educational opportunities that will prepare them for jobs in Arkansas’ oil and gas industry by:  
  • Providing financial support through scholarships;
  • Raising awareness for careers in the oil and gas industry;
  • Creating good will for the industry and its contributions to local communities and the state. 
The group’s primary focus is to assist Arkansas residents enrolled in the UACCM petroleum technology program.  Funds raised are donated to the UACCM scholarship committee, which awards scholarships based on financial need and grade point average.   
“We’re proud to be able to offer our students more opportunities to learn about the rapidly growing natural gas industry in our area,” said Nathan Crook, chancellor of UACCM. “With the support of the business community, we can make a positive impact on many students.”
Since the petroleum technology program became available last fall, the number of students enrolled has already grown by more than 30 percent from 45 students to about 60 students this spring semester. The program will prepare students for employment opportunities in the natural gas industry including drilling, gathering and field operations. The degree requires students to complete 62 credit hours of coursework. Course topics include gas management, production surface equipment, introductory well control and drilling technology.
The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund’s first fundraising event was held Sept. 9, 2006, at the Mountain Ranch golf course in Fairfield Bay. More than 144 members of the oil and gas industry participated to help raise $15,000 at the event. Aside from its scholarship program, the organization seeks to create awareness for careers in the oil and gas industry.  This year’s officers include: president, Keith Waddell, Tiger Services; vice president, George Sheffer, Southwestern Energy Company; secretary/treasurer, Mike Garwood, Schlumberger.
2006-2007 Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Recipients


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