By Debra Dragseth, Ph.D., and Holly Forsness | Edited for content and consistency.
Popular wisdom tells us that all oil and gas related jobs require steel toed boots and the ability to withstand North Dakota’s legendary below zero wind chill. In reality, there are thousands of people working behind the scenes sitting at their desks in climate-controlled offices. Dickinson State University is building a pipeline of talent by preparing their students with professional skills they can put to work in the oil and gas industry and beyond.
A college internship is an excellent way to take skills learned in the classroom and apply them to the unique challenges of the oil and gas industry. Recent Dickinson State University grad and human resource management major Jessica (Henman) Wilhelm of Miles City, Montana interned with Sanjel USA, a privately owned global energy service company specializing in pressure pumping and completions.
During her internship, we had a chance to sit down with Wilhelm and gain some insight into her experience at Sanjel USA.
How do you think Dickinson State University’s human resource program has prepared you for this internship?
DSU has given me the skills to provide wonderful customer service as well as the fundamentals of how businesses work at all levels.
What is your proudest achievement so far in your position?
My proudest achievement is that I have proven to myself that my change of majors (from elementary education to human resource management) was a good choice for me. All the hard work that I have put into my classes has paid off in a positive way.
How do you think this experience will prepare you for your career?
I have learned a great deal while working at Sanjel and I am always looking for opportunities to learn more. The possibility of moving up within the company is exciting. Sanjel is a company that appreciates hard work and there are definitely opportunities for advancement.
How did you find your position?
I found Sanjel through an employment agency when I applied for a summer job.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day consists of answering phones, greeting and assisting employees, customers and vendors as well as offering information and directing calls. I collect, distribute and prepare mail, shipments and faxes coming in and going out of Sanjel. I audit and process monthly employee expense reports, receipt expenditures and record the minutes for our weekly safety meetings.
What career do you picture for yourself?
I picture myself working within an HR department.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself working in HR. I also see myself with a family. I know with my education and experience my future is bright and I am excited to see what it has waiting for me!
If you could clear up one common misconception about working in the oil and gas industry, what would it be?
One common misconception about working in the industry is that oilfield companies are only about getting the job done and getting paid. It is often said these companies do not care about their employees or the environment. But, as a matter of fact, that is far from the truth. Sanjel USA is committed to safety, for both employees and the environment. Our motto is “Pride by Performance” and every one of our employees is committed to this principle. Sanjel complies with all governmental laws and regulations, company-established policies, plans, practices and standards.
If your company is interested in working with a Dickinson State University intern or you would like to learn more about the program, please call our office at 701-483-2333.
Debora Dragseth, Ph.D. is a national award-winning journalist, a tenured professor and chair of Dickinson State University’s Department of Business and Management. Holly Forsness is lecturer at DSU who teaches the University’s capstone course in business.