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Alumni: Derek Rice, Class of 2007

Current Employment
Graduate Student, University of Houston, Master's Program in Petroleum Geology
Petroleum Geologist, Rice Energy

Derek's Story

I was born and raised in the Boston area (Braintree, MA), and growing up, the thought of becoming a geologist was a far-fetched idea. Luckily, with the influence of my family and guidance of my advisors at Tufts University, I was exposed to the vast number of career opportunities for a geologist coming out of college.

When examining the option of becoming a geologist I found that college graduates with a degree in geology are few and far between, yet industry demand for them is extraordinarily high. Specifically I was intrigued by the largest industry in the world which often gets overlooked in the eyes of an undergrad: the energy industry.

During my time at Tufts I had friends often ask me, "Geology... what would you ever do with that?". I would reply "I'm going to drill for oil. What are you going to do with your degree?". I graduated from Tufts University in 2007 with a degree in Geology, and then headed down to Houston, Texas to get my Masters Degree in Petroleum Geology.

I have done two internships with energy companies thus far. In my first internship I was basically living on the oil rigs in the Colorado desert, getting covered in drilling mud everyday, and learning every aspect of this multi-billion dollar industry. In my second internship I was working as a geologist in an office in Dallas, interpreting well data and analyzing rocks 15,000 feet below the surface, and telling companies how much oil or gas they could expect. By integrating geology, physics, chemistry, and engineering, we would make multi-million dollar decisions on an everyday basis. Some our decisions were right and our clients made money; some of them were wrong and they lost money.

Geologists in the energy industry work in a high risk, high reward environment. With a major shortage of geologists, the demand is high, and recruiters are grasping to land any good geologist they can get their hands on. In addition, as a petroleum geologist you are exposed to some of the most advanced technological innovations on the planet, an opportunity you do not get in every industry.

In my biased view, this is the most exciting industry in the world, yet the need for geologists extends far outside the energy field. I credit any future success I may have to my initial career as a geology student at Tufts University, and I hope my story can influence many more to follow an exciting, fulfilling, and challenging career in Geology.