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Natural gas, safety management focus at MU

Back in 2012, Mansfield University began offering the Associate of Applied Science in Natural Gas Production and Services and the Bachelor of Science in Safety Management.

Today, they continue to be offered, and enrollment is growing.

Dr. Jennifer Demchak, the chair of the Department of Geosciences, shared enrollment figures for the two programs.

For the A.A.S., enrollment in fall 2012 was five; fall 2013, 26; and fall 2014, 28. For the B.S. in Safety Management, figures were available for the last two years. In fall 2013, enrollment was 10, and in fall 2014, it has almost doubled to 19.

“I think that really speaks for how well we’re doing,” Demchak said. She said that marketing for the programs has been effective.

According to the university, the degree in Natural Gas Production and Services is designed to prepare graduates for various career paths in the natural gas industry. The five concentrations within the program are as follows:

  • permitting and inspection specialist
  • mud logging/geology specialist
  • environmental specialist
  • geographic information systems specialist
  • safety management specialist

The Safety Management program at MU, meanwhile, is designed to prepare graduates for the expanding Marcellus Shale industry and associated energy businesses that have an immediate need for safety professionals, according to the university. It also prepares graduates for a range of occupational health and safety positions in other industries, both regionally and globally, the university stated in a news release.

In related news, Natural gas pipeline regulations pit safety vs. need.

Student Rebecca Bogle said she is working toward the Associate of Applied Science in Natural Gas Production and Services, with a concentration in safety management. She has an anticipated graduation date of May 2016.

“Along the way I have learned valuable information and tools to protect the environment and people in it,” she said. “I hope to obtain a position that I can make a difference and educate my peers to have a greater positive impact. What I really love about the two-year program is that it requires an internship or independent study; because of is requirement, I will accomplish hands-on experience in my field.”

Bogle noted that recently she obtained an summer internship in Denver, Colo. working for Jeppesen, a Boeing company.

“I could not be more proud of my peers and professors on all of our accomplishments,” she said.

Bogle explained that Jeppesen is a company owned by Boeing.

“I will be revamping emergency response procedures and protocols that will be followed at all plants globally,” she said. “I will also be assisting in stages 1 and 2 of the environmental assessment which I can not go in to detail on, due to confidentiality agreement.”

However, her position is not related to the gas industry, she pointed out.

“This is a common misconception when it comes to this safety degree,” she said. “It is marketed that way, but what most people do not realize is that there is safety personnel in all types of settings. In smaller companies, the safety tasks are often bundled with HR and taken care of by the same person.”

Another student, Seth Wilson, 20, from East Smithfield, is also enrolled in the A.A.S. program. He hopes to get a job one day as a foreman in the natural gas industry. He likes the natural gas field because he said it’s “outdoorsy” and can pay well.

Student Joe Sepiol, 25, of Mansfield, is also in the A.A.S. program, taking the tracks dealing with GIS mapping, environmental permitting, and safety management.

With so many concentrations, he said that he likes the program because of “the diversity of it.”

Demchak said the two-year program gives a student who is perhaps not fully committed to a four-year program a chance to better themselves and advance in the natural gas industry. She noted that a third of the students are staying for the four-year program. She said students in the programs are finding jobs and internships.

According to Demchak, students have been able to get internships with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), companies in the natural gas industry such as Talisman Energy USA, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). She noted that they have been able to get jobs in environmental consulting firms and with local, state, and federal agencies. Wilson said he was able to get an internship with the Apex office in Sayre.


This article was written by Eric Hrin from The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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