ul laf geology

A team of UL Lafayette geology students was featured in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Explorer magazine. In April, the students were named best in the world at determining where to drill for oil in the 2014 Imperial Barrel Award Competition held in Houston.

The team, composed of five students pursuing master’s degrees in geology — Jordy Babineaux, Sam Ely, Nicholas Geyer, Jolie Helm and Daniel Sutton — won first place in the IBA competition and received a $20,000 prize.

The AAPG sponsors the annual contest. UL Lafayette has participated every year since the competition was expanded in 2008 (it started in 2007) and also won in 2012, hence Explorer’s headline: “Once Was Not Enough: UL Lafayette Makes IBA History,” noting:

That’s not supposed to happen. Check that. It doesn’t happen. No school has ever won twice, which brings us to a school in southwest Louisiana with a little under 18,000 students, a school that would appreciate it if you got its name right: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The team adviser then, the team advisor now, is AAPG Brian Lock, an award-winning professor of geology and the department’s graduate school coordinator, and he was confident of this year’s victory all the way — except for the moments he wasn’t.

“I had seen several other presentations, possible because our team went early, and I had been particularly impressed by the Colorado School of Mines presentation — really professional — and had hoped for a second or third place for UL Lafayette,” Lock said of the global competition.

“So when CSM was announced as third place winner, I would have taken bets that we were out of the money,” he continued. “Then Oklahoma was announced second, and I was even more convinced we were going home empty handed.”

And then …

“The announcement of first place seemed to be in slow motion and it really took a moment to sink in,” he said. “University of Louisiana at Lafayette! What a euphoric feeling!”

Dr. David Borrok, director of UL Lafayette’s School of Geosciences, said in a prepared release that winning the international competition “is like winning a gold medal in the Olympics. It means you are the best at what you do. ... The article does a great job of conveying the importance of this achievement and getting the word out to the petroleum geology community.”

Explorer is distributed in print and online to about 30,000 industry professionals. The story is worth reading. Find it here.

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