Senior petroleum engineering major Tyler Barela, of Trinidad, Colorado, spent 12 weeks during the summer of 2014 working as an intern at Denver’s Encana Energy. It was an experience that not only lent valuable corporate experience, but also landed him a job as a full time engineer upon graduation in 2015.

From left, Encana summer 2014 interns Tyler Barela, Bethany Klinkerman, Christine Hrdlicka, Hayden Wambach and Julianne Wilson. (Photo Credit: Raymond Priestley)

Barela worked as a reservoir engineering intern as part of the Denver Julesberg Development Team, mentored by Raymond Priestley ’79, engineering advisor for Encana Corporation’s Western Operations (and CSMAA board member).

‘The advice I can offer to undergrads considering internships is put forth the effort to get industry experience now for it will open up so many opportunities upon graduation,’ Barela said, noting students shouldn’t narrow their focus to one single company but should explore many different potential opportunities.

Barela spent his days working with reservoir and production engineers on a variety of projects including optimizing well performance. He was invited to weekly meetings and well reviews and gave his manager daily reports on his specific projects. He collaborated with other interns working on the geology and environmental side and coordinated with production and completion teams.

‘I learned so much about the disciplines outside of reservoir engineering and saw how everything fits together in the oil and gas industry,’ he said.

The previous summer, Barela had a field internship with Encana and was initially worried about the transition to the office.

‘Everyone on the team helped me tremendously, not only with my project but with functioning as an engineer in the professional workplace,’ he said. ‘The people I worked with supplied so much knowledge that every hour was another learning experience.’

According to Priestley, Encana has hired as many as 650 Mines interns from a variety of disciplines over the last 10 years. Mines has been a top source.

‘Any Mines alum who wonders if the school is as hard or the students as bright as when they were on campus just needs to mentor a Mines intern. It will inspire you. Involve them and stand back, you will be amazed,’ said Priestley. ‘Tyler was the consummate Mines poster student for our institution, the student that employers come to Golden to hire: intelligent, hardworking, team oriented and inquisitive.’