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Oil and Gas Fair started by NMSU alum begins successful second year

Two years ago, while attending Leadership New Mexico, Amanda Trujillo, NMSU alum, learned about New Mexico's economic development, and created the Oil and Gas Education Fair as a way to introduce high school juniors and seniors to the technologies and career possibilities in the industry.

Students attend the Oil and Gas Fair.
Students nominated by New Mexico MESA spend the day at the Oil and Gas Fair, learning about internship and job opportunities in the industry. (submitted photo)
Students attend the Oil and Gas Fair.
Amanda Trujillo, NMSU alum, started the Oil and Gas Fair in 2012 to expose New Mexico high school juniors and seniors to internship, career and educational opportunities. This year the fair will be in Artesia, New Mexico and 287 students will attend.

"We began to talk about the industries that bring money to New Mexico, and oil and gas brings about 48 percent of the general fund for the state," Trujillo said. "We started the oil and gas fair as a way to show students in the state an industry that has a great impact on their lives, and that there is technology and careers available to them. It was also a way for people to ask questions about the industry."

With a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's in soil science, both from NMSU, the Bernalillo-native has been working for Yates Petroleum Corporation for five years, and knows firsthand the opportunities available for jobs in New Mexico.

"Everything that I did at NMSU prepared me for what I do. My education is completely put to use in what I do in my job," she added.

Trujillo landed an internship with Yates during an NMSU career fair, and now serves as a senior environmental scientist and in regulatory affairs.

"I spend time doing reclamation work, and I also work with state and federal agencies on environmental regulations," she said. "One of the most gratifying things that I do is taking an old well pad and putting the land back into production, and making it look as if that well was never there."

This year's fair will be in Artesia, N.M., Oct. 29 and 30 with 287 students in attendance. New Mexico MESA and New Mexico Oil and Gas Association will be hosting the event and taking students on a tour of an oil field, a hydraulic fracturing service company and a pipeline control site.

"It's going to be one of the premier science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) events in the state," said Toney Begay, director of New Mexico MESA.

The main purpose is the opportunity to discover possibilities in the oil and gas industry as students plan their educational path, said Anita Gonzales, program coordinator for New Mexico MESA.

The second day of the fair will be dedicated to education with NMSU, as well as other higher education institutions in the state, providing students with information about their majors in STEM-related careers.

"The students that attend are not all going to choose careers in oil and gas, but they will learn something that will be useful for their career choices," Trujillo said. "They also have great opportunities to make contacts with companies that come to the fair looking for future interns."