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ConocoPhillips gives $1 million to support development of data science certificate program for Texas A&M undergraduates

Credit: Laurence Dutton /

Texas A&M University has created an Undergraduate Certificate in Data Analytics for the Petroleum Industry (CERT-DAPI), supported by a $1 million gift from ConocoPhillips, the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science (TAMIDS) announced today.

The five-year gift is part of ConocoPhillips’ commitment to help meet the growing demand for data science coursework in universities.

The certificate program will admit its first students during the 2021-22 fall semester. The program resulted from a collaboration between Texas A&M’s colleges of engineering, science, geosciences and Mays Business School. TAMIDS and the Department of Petroleum Engineering in the College of Engineering are managing the program.

The program is organized following the Curricular Paths framework developed by TAMIDS, which builds on students’ varied disciplinary preparation, culminating in interdisciplinary team projects in a practicum that was developed for the program. Curricular Paths draws on practices from industry where researchers with varied disciplinary groundings acquire knowledge outside their fields to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams,” said Nick Duffield, TAMIDS director and holder of the Royce E. Wisenbaker Professorship in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering.

Texas A&M faculty members who contribute to the development and operation of the program will receive recognition as ConocoPhillips Data Science Faculty Fellows. Four will receive the awards for their work in 2021 for creating or redeveloping courses in the program.

The 2021 fellows are:

  • David Bapst, instructional assistant professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, College of Geosciences.
  • Michael Ketzenberg, professor, Department of Information and Operations Management, Mays Business School.
  • Siddharth Misra, associate professor and Douglas Von Gonten Faculty Fellow, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Shahina Rahman, instructional associate professor, Department of Statistics, College of Science.

In addition, the gift will provide funding for:

  • ConocoPhillips Data Science Graduate Assistantships for two students, who will assist in design and delivery of the practicum.
  • The ConocoPhillips Data Science Scholars program, which will provide scholarships for up to eight undergraduates, with eligibility based on scholastic achievement and partial completion of certificate requirements.

“We are honored to help advance data science education at Texas A&M and proud to equip the next generation with the vital data science skills necessary for solving critical challenges in our industry,” said ConocoPhillips Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Technical Functions Michael Hatfield. “Data analytics is spreading to every part of our company, resulting in better and faster decisions, so it’s important to prepare students with enhanced data science experience.”

In addition to this data science contribution, ConocoPhillips supports Texas A&M by funding scholarships, programs, faculty and facilities as part of the company’s ongoing investment in education and job readiness.