TAMU GIS Graduate and Air Force Veteran Takes His Experience to Chevron

May 23, 2017

Paul Barth ’17 discusses his journey as a transfer student in the College of Geosciences.

Every Aggie has their own journey. Many grow up knowing about Aggieland from the time they are born, while others grow to know about it in time. Some travel more unconventional paths to get here.

Paul Barth ’17 of Las Vegas, Nevada did not take the common path to becoming an Aggie. But in May of 2017, he walked away with his degree, Aggie Ring, and a job with one of the largest companies in the world. Prior to landing in Aggieland, Paul spent 4 years in the United States Air Force as a geospatial intelligence analyst – and that is where his journey to Texas A&M began.

In the Air Force, Paul analyzed drone video feed and satellite imagery. “That’s what got me interested in GIS (Geographic Information Science),” he explained. “I didn’t know what GIS was prior to that. I really loved my job in the Air Force.”

Paul knew he wanted to work in the oil & gas industry, and that played a major role in drawing him to Texas A&M. “The GIS program (at Texas A&M) looked great – and it’s close to Houston, where oil & gas is centered. I knew that would be a great opportunity for me,” he said.

But Paul did not make the move on his own. He also has a wife and two kids, which meant Paul had to balance his time even more than the typical Aggie student. “It’s definitely doable,” he added. “My advice for people with families who are starting out as Aggies is to make sure you keep some time just for them.”

Having a family also meant Paul needed to support them, in addition to keeping up with his degree program. “One thing that really helped me, since I had to work to support my family, was getting a job on campus working for a professor in the Chevron Basin Modeling Center with the College of Geosciences Berg-Hughes Center – doing something related to my degree. That helped solidify the things I learned in class, and better develop my skills. That was definitely a blessing for me,” Paul said.

Having a busy schedule with work, class, and family did not stop Paul from making the most of his opportunities. He attended Texas A&M’s GIS Day, and acquired an internship with ConocoPhillips in the summer of 2015. He worked as a GIS analyst embedded on land teams – dealing with leases, property rights, drilling rights, and permits. “I loved it,” he added.

Paul was able to take that experience and secure a full-time position with Chevron in Houston, where he will work as a geospatial analyst. But it was not just the classes and internship experience that helped Paul get to this point.

“My favorite part of my GIS degree were the projects that I got to work on in class. They’re real-life projects that someone would do after they get out of school. I also really enjoyed the GIS events that A&M puts together, like GIS Day,” he explained. “I like the relationship A&M has with people in the (oil & gas) industry. It provides students the opportunity to network with professionals, and learn how to become one when they graduate.”

Networking with other people in his field was crucial for Paul.

“I also joined the Association of Petroleum Surveying & Geomatics (APSG), and helped lead the Texas A&M APSG Student Chapter,” he added. “I go to their meetings every 6 months in Houston. I’ve been able to network with people there and learn a lot more about the industry. I think that’s been key to my success in getting a good job at Chevron.”

In his time in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M, Paul discovered what it took to set himself apart from his peers – and he embraced it.

“In order to be successful, I would tell students to get involved with as much as they can outside of the classroom. Go to all the events at GIS Day. Network with people. Talk to everyone. Ask them questions. Get involved with organizations like Geography Society or APSG. Develop relationships with your professors outside of the classroom,” he explained. “An important part of my successes were the professors in the College of Geosciences.”

One of Paul’s professors, Dan Goldberg, had this to say:
"Paul is definitely one of the success stories of our GIS program. He took every opportunity that Texas A&M offered and ran with them. His hard work in and out of the classroom really paid off. He is an excellent role model for current and future students to follow. We know he will have a successful career, and we look forward to him mentoring future generations of Aggies."

For Paul, it’s very clear the hard work has paid off – and that he made the right choice.

“Applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to real life will give you great experience for your resume,” he added.

“All of the high impact learning experiences at Texas A&M helped me get my dream job.”

By: Andrew Vernon