Friends & Alumni Network
The University of Texas at Austin has awarded degrees in the geosciences for more than 125 years, and the Jackson School is proud to claim over 4600 alumni. This prestigious group represents some of the finest earth science minds in the business. The school created the Friends and Alumni Network (FANs) to keep all UT geo graduates and friends with an interest in the geosciences connected.
Come back to the 40 acres or gather with a regional chapter and fuel the bond to your geology roots.
Stay engaged on relevant issues and learn from the experts when we bring UT’s best and brightest faculty and researchers to your community. Geoscience topics are broad, and we are focused on everything from the earth to the atmosphere and beyond, so you can be sure to find something that catches your attention. If you have a particular topic you are interested in hearing, let Kristen Tucek know. All of our discussions count as a Professional Geoscientist Credit.
Looking for a long lost classmate? Want to reconnect with a faculty member? Interested in knowing the latest and greatest science coming out of your Alma Mater?
Mentor Develop Grow
Connecting Students and Alumni
In today’s world, building a professional network is essential to career success. GeoConnect is a program designed to strengthen the Jackson School network, by giving alumni a flexible way to engage and volunteer while also teaching students the skills to develop and benefit from a professional community.
“One of the most important things you can do is find a good mentor. This person needs to be someone you look up to, respect and feel comfortable asking many (and sometimes dimwitted) questions. Having an experienced person in the industry to turn to, particularly someone you trust and admire, is invaluable.”
– Dax McDavid, B.A. ’03, M.S. ‘06
What is an alumni mentor?
An alumni mentor guides a student by sharing expertise, advice, personal experiences and insights to help the student understand the different career or education options and potential employers in their area of interest.
In addition, an alumni mentor informs a student about the daily work involved in their profession and the skills needed to improve their success potential.
What are the benefits?
- Make a difference in a student’s life
- Experience personal satisfaction and fulfillment
- Professional and personal rejuvenation
- Improve interpersonal and communication skills
- Build mentorship skills and experience
- Stay connected to the Jackson School
- Impact future generations of geoscientists
“Mentoring Jackson School students has been a fantastic experience. While meeting with a graduating student to discuss his future plans, I was so impressed that I suggested that he submit a resume to my company. He was hired and is working at GSI Environmental Inc.”
– Mark Hemingway, B.S. ’81
- Develop an expanded personal network
- Improve networking skills
- Receive career advice
- Increase self-awareness and self-discipline
- Gain knowledge and perspective of an organization and culture
- Improve professional communication skills
- Complement academics with professional development
How does it work?
Choose one or more mentoring activities that best fit your schedule:
“It is a great way to see firsthand what geologists do and to see a work environment in which I may find myself in the future.”
– Jasmin Alfaro, Class of ‘17
- One on one meetings
- Lunches, coffee appointments, etc.
- Speed interviews
- Mock interviews
- Speed networking
- Career panels
- Student group meetings
- One-day Externships
- Phone calls or Skype
- Alumni spotlight online
- Networking events and receptions
- Presentations to students
How do I sign up?
The process is quick and easy.
- Complete a simple online registration
- Determine the level of involvement that is best for you through a quick follow-up phone call
- Select an activity that will introduce you to students
- Start mentoring!
Who can I contact for more information?
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Senior Placement Representative
Career Services Program Coordinator
2014-2015 Board Members
President – 2014-2015
Dax became interested in petroleum geology during an internship as a geotech at American Shoreline Oil and Gas in Corpus Christi. He received a B.S. from the University of Texas in 2003 and was hired as a geologist for Stalker Energy, LP in Austin. After his first year of employment, he decided to head back to UT to pursue a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Geology while continuing to work full-time. After earning an M.A. in 2006, he stayed on at Stalker Energy as an exploration geologist, concentrating mainly on the conventional plays along the Gulf Coast, South Texas, North Texas and Louisiana. He recently moved to Brigham Resources, where he focuses mainly on unconventional resource plays, primarily the Bakken and Eagleford Shales with exposure to Permian, DJ, Appalachian and Illinois Basins. He is a member of AAPG, Austin SIPES (former Secretary), and FANs.
Dax started at UT as an undeclared Liberal Arts student. He became interested in geology after taking GEO 401 with Dr. Connelly. Dr. Connelly taught it with enthusiasm, and this was actually the first class he had any real interest in.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
“My best memories of my time on campus would be meeting up with my girlfriend, Kristen (who is now my wife), every day in front of the statue ‘The Mustangs.’ We’d often meet there between classes to visit and have lunch, so ‘The Mustangs’ statue will always be a special place for us.” Dax also has fond memories of graduation day when he received his Master’s degree as part of the first graduating class from the newly formed Jackson School of Geosciences. His biggest influence at JSG would have to be Dr. Fisher, a great professor and mentor who always point him in the right direction. “I admire him immensely and hold him in the highest esteem,” says Dax.Words of Wisdom
Network! Get involved with alumni societies, boards, and professional organizations. You will make great contacts outside of your current place of employment. These connections will prove to be as valuable as your degree. Also, find a good mentor. This person needs to be someone you look up to, respect and feel comfortable asking many and sometimes dimwitted questions. Having an experienced person in the industry to turn to, particularly someone you trust and admire, is invaluable. – Dax
Heather Wilson Echols
Past President – 2013-2014
Heather received her B.S. in Geology from the University of Texas in 1979. She also attended the University of Wyoming from 1975-77. Currently, she is a Managing Partner for the Mark Wilson Family Partnership, L.P., President of Rio Pecos Corporation and Tara-Jon Corporation and an exploration geologist. In these roles, she manages producing oil and gas properties in Southeastern New Mexico and generates oil and gas prospects. In addition to the role on the FANs Board, she is also a member of West Texas Geological Society and American Association of Petroleum Geologists.Why UT?
Heather chose UT for an education in geosciences because of the outstanding reputation and close association with the Bureau of Economic Geology and the Institute of Geophysics. Her favorite memory from her time on campus was the awesome classes and professors who truly cared about the students as well as feeling the sense of family in the geology department.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
“Environments of Deposition and Depositional Processes” taught by Dr. Scott and Dr. McBride was very influential for Heather. This course was very applicable to being an exploration geologist and being able to generate oil and gas prospects. Nine weeks of field camp (one three week and one six week) also made a huge impact on applying her classroom knowledge to the real world. “It was very exciting and rewarding to physically visualize everything I had studied and make conclusions about many environments of deposition,” says Heather.Words of Wisdom
“After graduating from JSG, stay connected by being a member of Texas Exes and an active Jackson School alumni. It’s exciting to keep up with the new technology, professors and classmates by attending JSG reunions, tailgate parties, networking parties and field trips.” – Heather
Outreach Director – 2014-2015
Steve received his B.A. in Geology from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA in 1979 and his M.A. in General Geology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. From 1981-1995, Steve worked as an Exploration & Exploitation Geologist with Exxon Company USA, focusing on Gulf Coast, King Ranch, East Texas, Arkoma Over-thrust, and Permian Basin. From 1995-2010, he was Manager of Geology with XTO Energy concentrating on West Texas Permian Basin, Fort Worth Basin, and Hugoton Embayment. Since 2010, Steve has been President of Steve Weiner Consulting and is currently acting chief geologist for Three Rivers Operating. He is a member of AAPG, West Texas Geological Society, and S.I.P.E.S.Why UT?
Steve wanted to be a petroleum geologist and says, “Why would I want less than the best?”Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
“During my first semester as a graduate student at UT,” Steve says, “I went to a dance with my long-time girlfriend, and we met up there with a friend of hers and her friend’s roommate. The roommate, as fate would have it, was a beautiful female geology student. The roommate and I dominated the conversation before the band started playing. But because I realized that this young lady was very dangerous to my relationship with my girlfriend, I avoided her the rest of the evening. As time went on, my girlfriend and I broke up, I became friends with the dangerous young lady, and I went to work in Houston. Eventually I learned to love having danger in my life, and as my wife. Now I wouldn’t want it any other way! I’m not sure what my biggest influence was, but I made some life-long friends and learned a whole lot!”Words of Wisdom
“Find an older alum or co-worker, and ask for advice. Let them be your mentor. They’ve been through a lot, and can be a compass to help you determine the direction to take your career.” – Steve
Austin Chapter Director
Riley graduated for the Jackson School in 2009 with a B.S. and continued working for Swift Energy, the company where she interned during my last year of school. In March of 2010, she accepted a job with Forest Oil in Denver, CO, where she worked for two years. In August of 2012, she moved back to Austin and returned to work at Swift Energy. Recently, she joined her family’s company, Navigator Oil & Minerals, Inc., as Vice President of Exploration and opened the Austin office in April of 2014. Riley is a member of FANs, AAPG, APES, YPE, and RMAG.Why UT?
Riley’s father and older brother both went to the University of Texas, and she grew up hoping that one day she could also claim BEVO as her school mascot. She actually started college as a Petroleum Engineering major but enjoyed her Intro to Geology class so much that she transferred into JSG. This turned out to be one of the best decisions she’s ever made. “I am lucky to be so passionate about my work and I enjoy what I do, every day,’ says Riley.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
The computer lab in the Jackson School was where we all used to study together, and I have many great memories from our time spent working hard, while still laughing and enjoying ourselves. All of my class mates in the Jackson School were a wonderful influence. We all became such great friends after spending so much time together in our field courses. We supported and helped each other through school, and we had a great time along the way.Words of Wisdom“To the current students: the hard work pays off, I promise, so keep going! To the young alum: Never stop learning and stay passionate.” -Riley
Janice Ver Hoeve
Denver Chapter Director
“Although I have degrees from three universities, the one that means the most to me is my UT degree. It has provided me with career opportunities and friendships since I graduated.”
Janice earned a B.S. in Geology from Duke University in 1979 and an M.A. in General Geology from UT in 1982. After graduation, she began work at Arco, in Houston. She was assigned to offshore Texas which was set to have its first open lease sale. Janice was able to successfully recommend 10 blocks for bids, in a shallow Miocene amplitude play which had previously been unexploited. During her career at Arco, she worked in Denver, Plano, and Lafayette. In her final year at Arco, she was again working offshore and drilled a series of 9 successful wells in another shallow amplitude play. At this point Mark and Janice started a family, and she decided to take a few years off to spend with their two young daughters. After a few years, she was ready to return to work but was looking for something different than exploration geology. She decided to attend Rice University for an MBA in finance. It was a good choice for her as many of her classmates also had previous technical degrees and oil and gas experience. After graduation, she began work at Societe Generale in their energy project finance group. She worked on many projects, including Alliance pipeline and also some consulting work for PDVSA in Venezuela. After five years at Soc Gen, she moved over to Scotia Capital as a Director. She managed a billion dollar energy portfolio, in the full spectrum of upstream to downstream energy. After ten years in energy lending, Scotia downsized, and she accepted a package so that she would be available to help her aging parents. She was glad that she was free to spend this time with them before they passed away. In 2007, Mark was transferred to Cimarex in Denver to manage their new ventures group. Since that time, Janice has been overseeing her family’s oil and gas interests in Oklahoma and Texas. She also does considerable volunteer work for the University of Texas Alumni group in Denver, serving as Treasurer for five years. She is also treasurer for the Denver county Republican Party and serves on its executive committee.Why UT?
When Janice finished her B.S. degree, she was very interested in pursuing a master’s program and considered the University of Texas at Austin the top soft rock department in the country. She was advised by Duke University that it was very competitive in terms of admission, but fortunately that worked out for her and she also received an assistantship to teach undergraduate labs to help with her expenses.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
UT did turn out to be very challenging. Janice particularly remembers taking depositional systems with Dr. Scott in her first semester. Dr. Scott became her thesis advisor, and she feels very fortunate to have been able to study the mixed carbonate/clastic system of the Pennsylvanian deposits of the Taos Trough. Being out in the field with Dr. Scott was an amazing experience as his ability to visualize and interpret depositional sequences in the outcrops was tremendous. One of the highlights of working with Al was his beautiful water color renditions of the depositional history outlined in her thesis. These slides became the basis for her talk on her work at the 1979 national AAPG in Calgary. The highest compliment Janice ever received was from Lloyd Pray (University of Wisconsin, Madison) who asked if this talk was from her PhD.A Family Tree with roots at UT
As a second generation University of Texas alumni and third generation oil and gas employee, Janice probably got more direct advice than most on what career to pursue and the best educational options for that career. She grew up in Virginia, where her father worked at Texaco’s research lab studying jet fuels. His PhD was from UT in chemistry. Also, her husband, daughter, and son-in-law have degrees from UT. She is looking forward to many more years of serving UT through volunteer work and support and hopefully many, many more years of successful Longhorn football.
Mark Ver Hoeve
Denver Chapter Director
Mark received a B.A. in Geology from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1978 and an M.A. in General Geology from the UT Austin in 1982. After graduation, he went to work for ARCO Exploration in Houston. Mark’s first assignment was working the Cretaceous Edwards in Lavaca County, Texas. He stayed with ARCO for about 14 years, working the Overthrust of the Western US, Offshore Gulf of Mexico in Shelf, Deepwater and Subsalt plays, and Mesozoic Basins along the Gulf Coast States like Mississippi Salt Basin. Mark became an Area Exploration Manager fairly early in his career but returned to technical work after one of the many re-organizations at ARCO. He views this as a blessing in disguise, as it forced him to learn 2D and 3D seismic interpretation on a work station. In 1996, Mark hired on as Senior Geologist with Enron Oil and Gas International, exploring the Plio-Pleistocene of the Columbus Basin of Trinidad and Tobago and had a significant discovery – the Osprey Field, about 1 TCF of gas. In 2000, EOG Oil and Gas split from its parent Enron and formed EOG Resources. One of Mark’s first tasks with the new company was to find new exploration. In 2001 he became Exploration Manager and explored the UK, Egypt, Ghana, Columbia, Peru, Poland, Europe, and India for shale plays, eventually making a successful entry into the UK North Sea. In 2006, Mark joined Cimarex in Denver as Manager of New Venture Exploration. His charge remains to look for new plays in the Lower 48. At the time, shale plays were exploding across the country. The industry, including Mark, was struggling to understand shale. It was a very dynamic time, and many of the same challenges to understand and predict performance in these shales remains today. Mark worked a number of shale plays, including the Wolfcamp and Cisco Canyon (the Cline equivalent in the Delaware Basin), which have become principle focus projects for Cimarex over the years.Why UT?
Mark received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1978 and became interested in sedimentary rocks. Austin was suggested as a good place to apply and was his top choice for graduate school. Much to his surprise, he was accepted!Importantly, once Mark started work after graduation, he realized that he had a superior background which has been a huge asset throughout his career. In addition, he has lived in Texas a large part of his career and loves the state. His wife, daughter, father-in-law, and son-in-law are all Texas graduates. That is a lot of burnt orange from a guy who grew up in New Jersey. Hook ‘em!Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
UT was a dynamic place in the late 70s and early 80, with leading researchers in sedimentology, stratigraphy and petrography. Mark’s advisor, Earle McBride, was probably his biggest influence, giving him clear advice, helping to scale his efforts which allowed him to graduate in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, Bob Folk’s course in Sandstone and Carbonate Petrography (and his Orange book) were huge in Mark’s development as a geologist. “Neither of these professors would not let you get away with a lot of BS, which graduate students excel at,” he remembers. Al Scott was another inspiration with his clear grasp of depositional systems. Mark was Lynton Land’s TA for the graduate Carbonate Petrography course, and that “built character.” Last but not least, Mark reflects that peers are a huge influence, coming from diverse backgrounds and incredible schools. And he ended up marrying one of them….Words of Wisdom
Be a life-long learner. Looking back over 30 plus years makes Mark appreciate how much change he have seen – from a world of paper maps and logs to fully digital, 2D to 3D seismic, amazing advances in seismic processing, geochemistry, petrophysics and petrographic imaging of nano-scale pore systems. And let’s not forget the revolution in our geological thinking where shales are now our reservoirs.
Second, be humble. There will be set backs and down turns. Keep your head down and keep learning.
Marcus A. Chroback
Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter Director
Marcus received a B.S. in Geology from the Jackson School in 2010, and earned an M.S. in Geology from the University of Houston in 2013. He worked as an intern with EOG Resources in the summers of 2011 and 2012. After grad school, he started his career as a geologist with EOG Resources in September 2013.Why UT?
A prestigious reputation in geosciences and overall quality at the University of Texas attracted Marcus to the Jackson School.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
Some of Marcus’ favorite memories of his time on campus include involvement with the UT Ice Hockey team as well as the field course Geo 660. His biggest influence would have to be Mark Cloos.Words of Wisdom
“Get to know as many people as you can while in school, from friends to professors. Do your best to get involved with companies during the summer to gain valuable experience, and never hesitate to ask questions.” – Marcus
Houston Chapter Director
Bruno earned his B.S. from the University of Texas in 1982 then accumulated a wealth of professional experience. He immediately went to work for Sun Exploration & Production Co. in Dallas, TX as an Exploration and Production Geophysicist, and stayed there for almost a decade, he working in the Gulf of Mexico Shelf, Gulf of Mexico Deep Water and US Mid-Continent. Over the next few years, Bruno managed geophysical technical marketing efforts for North and South America at PGS Tensor, Inc., then directed worldwide geophysical technical marketing at Diamond Geophysical Service Corporation. Next, he got into exploration with Burlington Resources and Newfield Exploration Company before accepting a role evaluating SE Asia exploration and production opportunities with Ping Petroleum (Bermuda) Limited. Currently, Bruno is a Senior Geophysical Advisor at Apache Corporation assigned to the Worldwide Exploration and New Ventures Team. In addition, Bruno is a member of the FANS board, SEG, and AAPG.Why UT?
First of all, being a native Texan, I grew up with the hopes of attending UT and discovered geology through a friend. Having taken my first geology course with Dr. Long, I was fascinated with how we could tell a lot about the earth’s history through its rocks. In addition to this, I always had a love for math and physics and chose the geophysics option for my undergraduate degree.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
Bruno would have to say meeting my wife of 35 years was his best memory of being on campus. But attending the UT football games during the Earl Campbell years is a close second. And his biggest influence while here was the Geology Department. “It helped mold who I am today. The professors and TA’s always showed a great passion for sharing their knowledge,” says Bruno.Words of Wisdom
“Study hard, play some. You will have time later in life to play more.” -Bruno
R. Michael Looney
Houston Chapter Director
Mike earned two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, a B.S. in 1971 and an M.A. in 1977. With more than thirty-eight years of experience as a petroleum geologist and geophysicist, Mike has worked in a number of roles with Exxon, Hunt Energy, Terra Resources, Edge Petroleum and Aspect Resources. Adept at coordinating the efforts of a multi-disciplined team and forging an effective exploration effort, he has opened district offices, founded independent companies and managed company exploration programs. His technical areas of expertise cover a range of trends across the Texas Gulf Coast and South Louisiana. Currently, Mike is President for Black Pearl and is responsible for overall guidance of the company, including partner and investor relationships, directing and managing company exploration efforts, generating new business opportunities and establishing strategic alliances with industry partners. He is a Certified Petroleum Geologist and a State of Texas Licensed Geologist and a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Houston Geological Society, Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists, Onshore Exploration Independents and Texas Wildcatters.Why UT?
Originally, Mike was a pre-med major until his sophomore year. He changed majors and took a freshman geology course taught by Dr. Sam Ellison. “I was hooked,” says Mike.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
Mike’s favorite memories are of the friendships developed with a close group of undergraduate and graduate school classmates that continues to today. The biggest influence came from my professors and teaching assistants that instilled in him their passion for geosciences.Words of Wisdom
“My advice to new students and young alum is to choose your path carefully. Determine the discipline you love early and get passionate about it.” – Mike
Houston Chapter Director
Lisa earned her bachelor’s’ degree in meteorology from Penn State in 2009 and her M.S. in geology from the Jackson School in 2012. Since graduation, she has worked as a Geologist at Hilcorp Energy Company in Houston, TX. She is also currently a member of the Houston Geological Society and AAPG.Why UT?
Lisa chose to attend UT for her master’s because she enjoys mapping and also loves the outdoors.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
Lisa’s adviser, Liang Yang, was her biggest influence and challenged her to do more than she thought was possible; He had her focus her efforts not only on academics, but on being an ambassador of the Jackson School at every opportunity. Her favorite memory would have to be the Sequence Strat field trip to the Guadalupe Mountains.Words of Wisdom
“Make good grades, no matter what you think your career will be, it could change abruptly and you’ll need a good GPA when you may least expect it. Also make sure to make time for activities related to geosciences that may not be in direct focus of your thesis/concentration. Networking is the most important tool after graduation and you want to make sure you know your peers and colleagues well. Enjoy being a student at UT! Go to the sporting events and learn to bleed ORANGE!” – Lisa
John Michael Long
San Antonio Chapter Director
John earned a B.S. in Geology from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1974 and an M.S. from the University of Texas in 1978. Throughout his career, he has done petroleum exploration in the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico, then West Texas, Kansas, and Wyoming. Currently, he is a Petroleum Geologist at Osborn Heirs Company in San Antonio. In addition, he is a member of AAPG, SEG, South Texas Geological Society, and San Antonio Geophysical Society.Why UT?
John selected UT for grad school because everyone at Texaco, his first job, told him that it was the best petroleum geology oriented department around.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
John will always remember learning to make a slide show from Professor Al Scott, and Ralph Kehle’s Gulf Coast Tectonics course that taught him “most of what he needed to know in life.”Words of Wisdom
“Get a well-rounded back ground, including liberal arts courses so you can write and give speeches, specialize in what you like, and hope that what you like stays popular.” – John
Corpus Christi Chapter Director
Frank Cornish received his B.S. from LSU in 1973 and M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975. He has worked in the industry in Midland, Oklahoma, Houston, and Corpus Christi for Getty Oil, Texas Oil and Gas, Yuma, Suemaur, and SV Energy. He currently serves as President of Imagine Resources, LLC. He is also a member of the Corpus Christi Geological Society, South Texas Geological Society, Houston Geological Society, AAPG, SEG, and SIPES.Why UT?
One of Frank’s professors, Dr. Clyde Moore at LSU, recommended that he consider the University of Texas for grad school. UT offered him an assistance-ship, and the rest is history.Best Memories and Biggest Influences at JSG
Frank’s favorite memory from Austin was time spent at Hippy Hollow, but his biggest influence was Depositional Systems and the teaching team of Fisher, Brown, and Scott, and Folk/McBride. “They taught us how to think,” says Frank.Words of Wisdom
“Don’t forget whose shoulders you are standing on (professors) and those students around you that helped you to achieve your success.” -Frank