Eighth-graders learn from energy industry partners in annual field trip events

14th annual Energy Week runs through Friday

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
Curtis Davis of Dugan Production Corp. explains well operations to Kirtland Middle School students during Energy Week on Monday at San Juan College.
  • Several local, regional and national players are participating in this year's Energy Week.
  • Kirtland Middle School students visited on Monday.
  • Annual field trip is a highlight for many eighth-graders, Kirtland Middle School teacher says.

FARMINGTON — San Juan College’s School of Energy is home to a younger student demographic than normal last week as eighth-grade students from around the Four Corners participate in the 14th annual Energy Week.

Energy Week is a collaboration between San Juan College and multiple local energy companies and groups, in which eighth-graders from four school districts visit the School of Energy to learn more about the industry. Energy Week began May 3 and runs through May 11.

George Sharpe of Merrion Oil & Gas, who organizes the events, said this is Energy Week’s 14th year, and its second in the college’s School of Energy. Past events were held in the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

This year’s partners include BP, Diamond Derrick Engineering, Desk and Derrick Club of Farmington, Dugan Production Corp., Enduring Resources, Energy Operating Co., Hilcorp, Logos Resources, Navajo Transitional Energy Co. and Whiptail Midstream, Sharpe said.

Eighth-grade students from Kirtland Middle School participate in a scavenger hunt in the Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology during Energy Week on Monday at San Juan College.

Energy Week partners host students in a several-hour field trip to the college. Partners give a presentation regarding the energy industry before the students are split into groups for different stations.

Students from Kirtland Middle School participated in Energy Week events on May 7, which were hosted by Dugan Production Corp.

Kevin Smaka, a production engineer for Dugan, said the event presents players in the energy industry the opportunity to reach kids and “get our message out there about what we really do, what is really going on in the oil field and how we are helping not only supply the energy demands of our country, but also doing it responsibly and environmentally friendly.”

Shira Isaacson, an eighth-grade math teacher at Kirtland Middle School, said that many students have friends or family connected to the energy industry, but having the chance to learn from new faces is valuable to their understanding of the industry.

“They actually relate (what they learned during Energy Week) to family, and they relate it to the industry that’s going on here in this area, so it’s really nice for them to make that connection without having their moms and dads come into the classroom like they did when they were in kindergarten,” Isaacson said.

Kirtland eighth-graders also explored personal finances in part of the annual field trip, which Isaacson said is one of the highlights of the school year. Part of the day’s activities include a “reality check” assignment, where students are given a budget based on average incomes in their chosen field to learn the costs of living expenses, like housing, education and transportation.

Alicia Blasingame identifies a mineral for Kirtland Middle School eighth-graders Mathew Shelby, left, and Jakari McDonald during Energy Week on Monday at San Juan College.

“They don’t like (the reality check) as much as this,” Isaacson said during Energy Week events.

Kirtland eighth-grader Megan Pete said the reality check was “cool but frustrating,” and participating in Energy Week events was a beneficial experience.

“It was interesting to know the different pathways you can take,” Pete said.

See the June edition of Energy Magazine for more coverage of Energy Week events.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.