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Dena Demboski


Vice president of Drilling and Completions  UpCurve Energy 

BS in Mechanical Engineering with Certification in Business Management

Q: Would you please briefly talk about the ASME PD CC and its objectives?

A: The Collegiate Council is an ASME Petroleum Division funded program where 20 Mechanical Engineering College Students are selected to participate in three activities. The activities are:

  • An all-expense paid trip to an Oil based city (Thursday evening through Sunday) to tour one or more petroleum based facilities and hear presentations from one or more industry representatives.

    • This meeting normally takes place in October

    • In addition to the tours and presentations, they are challenged with one or more projects that they organize and then complete working as teams remotely from their individual schools

    • We assign one previous participant to be their leader to manage their work and progress

  • They work on and complete the project(s) that they have agreed

    • The projects are for the benefit of ASME, Students and the Collegiate Council

      • ​Examples are developing the CC Website, Videos, Presentations, an Engineering Olympics, etc.

  • A second paid trip to a separate city where in addition to additional tours and presentations, they finalize, rehearse and present the results of their projects

As far as Mission, our goal is to introduce them to the opportunities of our industry for both their good and to share with their local ASME student chapters (a requirement of participation).
We are open to all parts of the Industry, Engineering, Manufacturing, Service, Production, Upstream, Downstream, etc.


Q: What made you decide on being a mentor for the Collegiate Council?

A: I wanted to help bridge the gap between school and workforce as well as mentor college students of the job opportunities available based on interests prior to selecting a full-time offer.

Q: Why should students apply?

A: Because it’s a free opportunity to learn, travel, and meet other O&G professionals that may help you find your first job.

Q: How do you think that the ASME PD CC impacts its members professional life?

A:  I’d say networking opportunities, connecting with various O&G professionals that may influence and/or help shape future career development opportunities.  Increased knowledge of the industry… technology, structure, opportunities, interests, etc

Q: The council has years of existence, can you compare the council from when it was created to now? What has changed or improved?


A:The council has grown, both in size and age of its members.  We have a more diverse group, both in nationality, schools, ages, and degree seeking.  I think this is an overall positive improvement and helpful in developing this program.


Q: Any advice you would give to engineers striving to be involved in the petroleum industry?

A: Start early. I see more and more resumes with freshman taking internship opportunities. That really helps them stand out when comparing resumes with 500+ applicants. The Collegiate Council is a great way to connect, stand out on a resume, and give talking points during an interview that show your interest in the industry and a proactive approach in learning what goes above standard school requirements.

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Don Wells



Subsea Tieback Foundation

BS in Mechanical Engineering

Q: Would you please briefly talk about the ASME PD CC and its objectives?

A: The ASME CC is School Year long event that introduces the student participants to: the ASME Petroleum Division. the Petroleum Industry (factories, refineries, drilling operations, etc.), Industry Experts, Mentors, etc. It also introduces them to delivering a project where the members of the team are located all over the country (similar to the post college real world). I come with the obligation to deliver on their project commitments, and share their learnings and experiences with their local college organizations

Q: What made you decide on being a mentor for the Collegiate Council?

A: A desire to give back and share my learnings and experiences with student who want to get involved and learn. Giving back is my way of saying "thank you" to an industry that has challenged me, been fun, and has provided me and my family a great lifestyle.

Q: Why should students apply?
A: The Collegiate Council is an awesome way to for a student to uniquely: learn about the opportunities in an industry from the inside, learn how the industry works, advance your ability to be an independent contributor (which is what companies are looking for), make contacts and meet potential mentors, and the fact that it has the potential of making yourself stand out from both the learnings and effort put into the opportunity.

Q: How do you think that the ASME PD CC impacts its members professional life?


A: The ASME CC facilitates career decision making by introducing the participants to all aspects of the Petroleum Industry. They attend presentations and tour industry facilities that provide examples of the various types of engineering jobs (scientific, practical application, project management, sales and marketing, etc.), and companies (engineering, manufacturing, service, oil and gas production, etc.). They can attend presentations that introduce them to industrial world as opposed to the academic world and the skills that are required to succeed. These introductions can influence and affect decisions related to class selection and potential Intern jobs while in school and job opportunities after graduation.


Q: The council has years of existence, can you compare the council from when it was created to now? What has changed or improved?


A: The basic program has changed very little. What has changed are the details, such as the role an responsibility of the Student Intern (project manager), progress reporting, etc. The program is now mature enough and has the level of success that the greater ASME now want to duplicate and grow the initiative into other division of ASME.

Q: As a mentor and an engineer working in the petroleum field, what advice would you give to students and ASME PD CC members to prepare their professional life?  

A: Take full advantage of opportunities like the Collegiate Council and treat everyone of them like a job interview where they are competing with other very competent applicants, in other words make themselves stand out with the quantity and quality of their efforts.


Q: Would you like to add anything to close this interview?

A: The Collegiate Council is a way, in this tough market, to differentiate yourself, but it requires commitment and effort. The same attributes that are attractive to organizations that are hiring graduate engineers.


Chris Olson


Project Engineer

Sargent & Lundy

Master of Engineering, Engineering Mgmt with Certificate in Leadership and Management 

University of Colorado - Boulder 2020

Q: Would you please briefly talk about the ASME PD CC and its objectives?

A: The ASME CC is a leadership and management program (with an engineering and technology basis) offered to college Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students as an introduction to the petroleum industry. The program itself will offer each participant exposure to various aspects of the industry and the chance to work together in teams to solve problems or complete tasks with the guidance of experienced industry professionals. The program is also an unique opportunity for participants to set themselves apart from their peers through experience and networking, as acceptance to the CC is only offered to select students who show extraordinary promise.  My objectives as a mentor are straightforward – to help each participant take as many lessons from the CC experience as they are able and develop their skills. Ideally, this program will act as a springboard for new opportunities and the participants will share the experiences at home and school, encouraging new candidates to apply.

Q: What made you decide on being a mentor for the Collegiate Council?

A: I was a member of the CC as an undergraduate and the experience was good for my career. After my years of industry experience and seeing new engineers stuggle to gain a foothold, I thought this would be a good way to participate and help pass on what I have learned.

Q: Why should students apply?
A: In today’s competitive job market, students need to be looking for ways to set themselves apart from their peers. The ASME CC is an opportunity for outgoing students to do that and add quality experience to their resume at the same time.

Q: How do you think that the ASME PD CC impacts its members professional life?


A: Joining the CC gives each student the chance to experience the industry in a professional setting and network with experienced professionals before their first full-time job (typically). This exposure allows for practice at polishing the resume and other team skills prior to entering the workforce and helps the individuals set themselves apart.


Q: Can you compare the council from when you were a student on the council to how it currently stands? What has changed or improved?


A: The biggest change I have seen with the council is the inclusion of more participants and the amount of  mentor participation. The number of students participating is likely due to the situation in 2020 and I would expect competition for admission to the CC to increase in coming years. Also, the type and scale of student projects has grown immensely which is very impressive. The work being done by the student teams on CC is professional quality, without a doubt.

Q: Any advice you would give to engineers striving to further themselves and continue to learn about the industry? 

A: My advice – always keep learning and push yourself to be better. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone – that is where new opportunities and adventures are found. Get involved in industry events and organizations, like the Gas Processors Association (GPA), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and others like that. This is where you can build your network outside the workplace. Find hobbies you may enjoy and share those with other associates. Develop relationships and be personable, yet professional. Last but not least, work on your communication skills (public speaking, writing and composition, etc.) to help set yourself apart.