Montana Tech faculty to participate in program that connects teachers with petroleum industry


Montana teachers can learn more about the petroleum industry and its impact on their local community in a free workshop this summer, sponsored by Hess Corporation. The Montana Petroleum Resources Workshop qualifies for License Renewal Units or two graduate college credits from Montana State University-Billings. Montana Tech’s Petroleum Engineering faculty will lead the Workshop.

“It’s a weeklong course for middle and high school teachers,” Petroleum Engineering Department Head Todd Hoffman said. “It’s mostly math and science teachers but anyone can come. We teach them about the oil and gas industry, and provide them hands-on lessons they can take to the classroom.”

The program previously ran for several years until grant funds ran out. Hess Corporation revived the program last year and 14 teachers attended. There are 20 spots open this year.

The program includes classes and presentations on the industry, land and leasing, regulations, exploration and seismic considerations, geology, drilling and production basics, unconventional reserves, public issues, educational resources available, the world energy market and future.

“Teachers will receive information on activities and experiments they can bring to their students in the classroom. I would like them to return to their classes and have materials to talk about oil and gas for their students, but just having the knowledge alone is helpful,” Hoffman said.

Besides the classroom content, the program includes three field trips to oilfield operations where they can see how petroleum is produced and refined.

Last year many of the teachers who attended were interested in the petroleum industry’s opportunities for students. Montana Tech has the state’s only petroleum engineering program, but many positions in the industry only require a high school education.

“These are high-paying jobs that require just a high school diploma,” Hoffman said. “If students want to stay in Montana, that’s a great opportunity.”

For questions about the Workshop or registration, contact Lana Petersen at 406-782-2342 or

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