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Annual Rocky Mountain Rendezvous for Geoscience Jobs Returns to UW

September 7, 2016

Despite the downturn in the petroleum industry the past two years, companies “loyal” to the annual Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, hosted by the University of Wyoming, still plan to attend seeking the high-quality students pursuing possible employment.

Students representing 55 universities across the nation are expected to attend, including those from UW.

The 15th annual Rocky Mountain Rendezvous (RMR) of Geoscience Students and Employers job fair is Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at the UW Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn, and the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

The RMR is one of five regional job fairs and is sponsored by the American Association of Geologists. The UW Department of Geology and Geophysics and the School of Energy Resources are co-hosts of the event. The job fair was developed to allow geoscience students from other colleges and universities -- who had no means to market themselves to recruiters -- an opportunity to do so, says Randi Martinsen, the RMR chair and emeritus senior lecturer in the UW Department of Geology and Geophysics.

“In addition, there are many smaller companies that do not have the recruiting budget of their larger counterparts,” Martinsen says. “Thus, such companies can’t visit every college or university they would like for recruitment purposes.”

Every September, petroleum industry recruiters and geoscience students from across the U.S. come to   UW for individual poster presentations, panel discussions and interviews with industry representatives. In years past, more than 25 companies (mostly oil and gas) and up to 400 students from 55-plus colleges and universities from across the U.S. have attended the RMR.

However, things have drastically changed in the industry, with declining oil and gas prices, meaning fewer jobs for college graduates in their respective fields.

“Unfortunately, the past two years have seen a significant downturn in the petroleum industry. Hundreds of thousands of geoscientists have been laid off worldwide,” Martinsen says. “In response, although companies want to maintain an age demographic balance, they have severely cut back on new hires.”

This year, only eight companies will participate in the RMR.

“Given the state of the industry, that is a very positive statement about how companies view the RMR,” Martinsen says. “In comparison, only 10 companies are participating in the Houston student job fair, and Houston is the center of the petroleum industry.”

She adds that students can expect that job offers will be few, and competition for those few jobs will be high. She still expects the RMR to draw not only UW students and those in the Rocky Mountain region, but others from as far away as California, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

“In response, we have limited the number of students who may attend to 150 graduate students. We hope that this will avoid having students travel here only to be disappointed,” Martinsen says. “We also have shortened the event from four days to two.”

The RMR is scheduled to coincide closely with the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver Sept. 25-28, so that students can combine traveling to both events.

This year’s participating companies are Anadarko, Apache Corp., Chesapeake Energy, Exxon Mobil, Hess, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell and Weatherford. The Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists also will be represented.

“Many recruiters that come here return each year because of the reception we give them. They say they feel so welcome, and it makes them want to come back each year. We have some loyal companies,” Martinsen says. “Their representatives are impressed with the high caliber of students that they see here.”

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