One good turn, as Adam Larson will tell you, deserves another.
With a job waiting for him after college graduation in a field he loves, he likes to acknowledge the role of Michael Bruce, his guidance counselor at Bethel Park High School, in arranging for a certain speaker who changed Larson’s career aspirations.
“Going into high school, I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist,” he recalled, until he heard a geologist named Mike Forgione talk about opportunities in oil and gas production. “He gave a good presentation and got me really, really interested in the industry.”
Now a senior at Penn State and second-year president of the student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Larson returned to his alma mater shortly before winter recess at Bruce’s invitation to share his experiences with today’s students.
“My guidance counselor was really there for me, and I wanted to return the favor,” he said.
He presented to about 400 juniors and seniors in various science courses, promoting careers in engineering and in the oil and gas industry, in which he will work starting in May as a field engineer for exploration and pipeline company EQT Corp. He’ll be based in Waynesburg.
“It’s really nice that I was able to stick around close to home,” Larson said. “I love this area.”
He interned with EQT as a junior and sophomore, following an internship with Chesapeake Energy as a freshman.
Even before enrolling at Penn State, he had plenty of experience in the industry, starting with a job shadowing experience with a co-worker of his father, Alan, a chemical engineer who worked for a pipeline company.
He created a LinkedIn profile identifying himself as a “high school student interested in oil and gas,” drawing the attention of Shale Media Group, a Washington-based organization that disseminated news about the oil and gas industry. A representative contacted Larson about participating in the group’s educational arm, the Shale Academy, and through that, he traveled around the state talking about the benefits of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
He also wrote articles for Shale Media Group, drawing on his experience with Bethel Park High School’s newspaper, the Hawk Eye, for which he served as editor-in-chief as a senior.
At Penn State, he joined the Society of Petroleum Engineers as a freshman and soon was promoted to webmaster on the executive board. He also started working toward the organization getting more involved in community outreach.
“Our industry gets a pretty bad rap sometimes, and we kind of wanted to show the positives,” he said. “So we go out and plant trees. We clean up highways. We want to show the community that we all care about the environment.”