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OU Irani Center for Energy collaborates with companies to provide externships for students amid COVID-19

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Mewbourne College

The Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Oct. 17, 2018.

The OU Ronnie K. Irani Center for Energy Solutions has partnered with energy companies to provide externships for students who have lost summer internships due to COVID-19.

According to a press release, 19 petroleum engineering and two geoscience students from the OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy lost their summer internships when businesses switched to telecommuting amid the pandemic. The college’s Irani Center for Energy Solutions collaborated with Oklahoma City-based Hefner Energy and Ming Energy Partners, and Dallas- and Tulsa-based Foundation Energy Management to provide externships for those students — some whose graduation tracks were in jeopardy due to an internship graduation requirement.

David Ferris, executive director of the Irani Center for Energy Solutions, said in the release the center is dedicated to providing useful experiences to students.

“The Irani Center for Energy Solutions is committed to providing opportunities that are real-time and real-world so that both the students and the sponsoring company benefit,” Ferris said in the release.

Before the pandemic, the Irani Center focused externship efforts on the Mewbourne School’s capstone course and some externship projects. According to the release, “despite logistical issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and a volatile energy market,” the center was able to secure partnerships that would “provide projects and valuable experience to students.”

According to the release, student teams will spend the summer working on a range of projects, including “valuing portfolios of royalty interests” and creating field development plans in the Oklahoma Anadarko Basin and several other “major producing” basins across the U.S.

“This pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes,” Ferris said in the release. “But despite challenges, we have seen time and again people finding opportunities to help one another. The projects provided for Irani Center for Energy Solutions externships are another example of our collective compassion for people, and in this case, our students. We are grateful to our project sponsors who provided students with hope and opportunity during a very difficult situation.”

Beth Wallis is a senior journalism major and political science minor, and news managing editor for The Daily. Previously, she worked as a junior news reporter covering university research.

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