Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia (IRESS) - Industry Involvement


Industry and Earth Sciences at Rice

The Earth Science Department and faculty at Rice have always had strong links with industry. In the early days, John A. S. Adams consulted with what was then Humble Oil, and Charles B. Officer who also consulted with Humble while teaching at Rice, later started Marine Geophysical Services. Two legends in Carbonate Geology, Edward G. Purdy and James Lee Wilson, also left their marks at Esso Exploration and Production, and Shell Development Company, respectively. Albert W. Bally came to Rice following an extremely successful career at Shell and Peter R. Vail, from Exxon. In geophysics, Manik Talwani, Gerald H. F. Gardner, and Alan Levander all worked for varying periods with Gulf Research and Development. John B. Anderson carried out over 10 years of Gulf of Mexico research funded, largely, by industry, and both John and André W. Droxler run field courses for industry.

Additional cooperative research programs with industry can be seen in Manik Talwani’s founding directorship of GTRI, the Geotechnology Research Institute at HARC (the Houston Advanced Research Center created by George Mitchell and located in the Woodlands) and, on campus, Alan Levander and William W. Symes are Co-Directors of the Center for Computational Geophysics. Dale Sawyer, also active with this center, has been instrumental in creating the Professional Science Master's Program in Subsurface Geoscience. In addition to the core focus in Geology and Geophysics, this two-year program includes electives in economics, international business, statistical computing and venture management, to name a few. Industry internships are an important component of the program. Dale, together with John B. Anderson, Brandon Dugan, Andreas Luttge, and Caroline Masiello are also active with the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice.

Not surprisingly, many alumni have strong ties with industry. Rice alumni hold key positions in petroleum companies, service companies and private consulting groups, and are active in professional societies such as the AAPG, SEG, SEPM, GCSSEPM and HGS. In terms of recruiting, Martha Lou Broussard started the first AAPG Student Expo at Rice. This Expo has since grown in to a major annual event for industry recruiters, so much so that the Fall event is now held at the George R. Brown convention center (

The following links will take you to fascinating write-ups on some of our Emeritus Faculty available on the web:

Albert W. Bally:

Peter R. Vail:

Manik Talwani:

Rice Graduates in Industry

Rice graduates are scattered across Industry and Academia. Closer to home, and within the Houston Energy Industry, our geoscientists are employed by numerous petroleum and service companies with the top ten employers being:

Listing of top ten employers hiring Rice University Earth Science graduates since 2000
1st ExxonMobil
2nd Chevron
3rd Shell
4th Schlumberger
BHP Billiton Petroleum
7th ConocoPhillips
ION Geophysical
Landmark Halliburton
Southwestern Energy

Recruiting at Rice

On-campus recruiting takes pace in September and October each year. Company-focused information presentations and interviews are scheduled through Soookie Sanchez (see link below).

Company Recruiting Questionnaire

Sponsorship Opportunities