A promising program path


A peak return on investment.

Petroleum engineering students perform meaningful research towards the advancement of oil and gas recovery, while at the same time gaining technical knowledge and weighing ethical considerations.

Students in the program have a wealth of laboratories and advanced computer programs at their disposal to carry out such research, which provides invaluable hands-on experience.

And they come out of the program making an average of $87,188 a year, the highest starting salary for graduates of any degree program at the university.

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Peak performers

Selin Kavanagh, senior

The perfect fit

Selin Abacioglu Kavanagh was on her way to a biology degree in her native Turkey when the financial promise of a career in engineering called her back to Missouri, where she was a foreign exchange student in high school.

Selin, now a senior, has enjoyed much success since joining the petroleum program at Missouri S&T. She currently serves as technical teaching assistant to Dr. Ralph Flori, head of the petroleum program, digitizing and designing his lectures. She has also been a member of Student Council and the Turkish Student Association.

“I’ve kept myself busy enough,” she says.

Selin’s concentration is in reservoir engineering. “We’re the ones that figure out how to get oil and gas out of the ground,” she explains. Selin says that she prefers to be in front of a computer helping steer rig operations in the right direction rather than working outside on the rig itself.

Selin is married to fellow student David Kavanagh, a senior in Information Science and Technology. David and Selin met at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, where Selin was enrolled for her first two years of college in America. The couple got married seven months later and transferred to S&T together. David is also a member of the Missouri Army National Guard.

Selin first came to America as a high school exchange student. She lived with Dennis and Elaine Gannon of De Soto, Missouri, and graduated from De Soto High School before returning to Turkey for college.

She considers herself fortunate to have been picked by the Gannons, who are leaders in the De Soto community. Dennis is president of the Jefferson County Port Authority Board and Elaine is state representative for the 115th District, which includes De Soto and Park Hills. They helped Selin adjust to life in America and kept her motivated while she was enrolled at De Soto High.

 “I’ve had such a great exchange family. I couldn’t be luckier,” Selin says now.

The Gannons, whose son Andrew graduated from S&T, suggested Selin apply to the university, as well. Selin had heard about the financial success of petroleum engineers, and knew she had the scientific aptitude to succeed in the lucrative petroleum business.

Upon graduation, Selin plans to look for a job in Pennsylvania, Alaska or Colorado. “Somewhere cold,” she says.