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Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Robert Cornelius com-
mutes from Garland as a
student in the petroleum
technology program at
North Central Texas Col-
lege, Bowie branch.
“I was looking at get-
ting my petroleum engi-
neering degree,” Corne-
lius said. “Navarro Junior
College was limited, they
just have an oil-and-gas
production degree. It’s
more diverse here.”
Cornelius said he can
use the degree he will
obtain from NCTC with
a more diverse spectrum
of companies in the petro-
leum industry.
Cornelius reported he
stayed in one of Bowie’s
hotels during the first
semester he was enrolled
in the program.
“I’m here until 10 p.m.
at night sometimes,” he
That means Cornelius
has had a small impact
on the Bowie’s economy.
Students are spend-
ing their money shop-
ping and eating at local
restaurants – and even
moving to Bowie just so
they can attend school
Cornelius worked for
more than 17 years for
Rowan, a global provider
of offshore contract drill-
ing services, down in the
Houston area.
Cornelius suffered an
injury, and a doctor ad-
vised him against any
more manual labor in the
oil industry.
“Now I want to go to
work in drilling consult-
ing,” he said. “I think it
is well worth it to get a
degree, and I want to get
back into the field.”
Cornelius, 43, wants
to provide for his fam-
ily. He’s married to wife,
Theresa, and the couple
has four children, Mi-
chael, Coren, Kaitlyn and
Cornelius said he’s
enjoying his time as a
student at NCTC, and
he applauded professor
Steve Burnett’s teach-
ing style. Burnett is an
instructor and petroleum
technology department
“I think Mr. Burnett
is the greatest asset this
program has,” Cornelius
said. “He’s able to relate
the information to all
levels of students.”
There are students in
NCTC’s program from
everywhere, including
England, Chile and six
states. They come from
all walks of life, including
former military officers.
Bowie’s location – de-
spite about a 90-minute
drive to the Dallas-Fort
WorthMetroplex – hasn’t
been a hindrance.
“Are people going to
drive to Bowie and take
classes?” Burnett asked.
“The answer is ‘Yes, they
will.’ That’s because our
program is unique, and
there’s a demand for it.”
For example, there
are 17 students current-
ly enrolled in a natural
gas processing class at
NCTC, which takes place
on Tuesday and Thurs-
day afternoons.
In the natural gas pro-
cessing class, students
are learning concepts
such as gas behavior,
feed gas receiving and
stabilization and other
Edward Brown, who
worked as a store man-
ager for Bell Supply here
in Bowie, serves as the
instructor. There are cur-
rently two faculty in the
petroleum technology
department, and Burnett
reports a third will most
likely be added for the fall
2015 semester.
The programcontinues
to grow in popularity.
“I wanted to go into
the radiology program
at NCTC, but I also saw
the petroleum technology
courses,” said Clay Fu-
tch, who lives in Ponder.
“I called Mr. Burnett the
next day, and he walked
me through the program.
I’ve loved this ever since
Futch said he aspires
to be pumper/landman.
Gaili Osman, another
student in the natural gas
processing class, grew up
in Sudan and currently
lives in Denton.
Arabic was Osman’s
first language. He hopes
to take what he’s learned
at NCTC and become
a field liaison, bridging
the gap between those
petroleum workers who
speak Arabic to those
who speak English.
The students are cur-
rently in the process of
forming a campus group
called the Organization
of Petroleum Pursuing
Students, which wi l l
have more than 60 mem-
bers to start. The group
is still awaiting approval
of its constitution from
Carpooling to Bowie
is also popular with stu-
dents. For example, Da-
kota Cantrell and Marisa
Pels ride together from
Pilot Point for a natural
gas processing class.
Camaraderie is at the
heart of what petroleum
technology students are
doing. Cornelius said
he assists in putting to-
gether study guides for
“We help each other,”
Cornelius said.
It’s a gas. Well, the natural gas processing class at North Central Texas College, Bowie branch. (From left) Students
Marisa Pels, Dakota Cantrell and Robert Cornelius scan over material and also watch a video on natural gas
News photo by Eric Viccaro
Petroleum technology students come from
many varied backgrounds, experiences
“Are people going to drive to Bowie and take
classes? The answer is ‘Yes, they will.’ That’s
because our program is unique, and there’s a
demand for it.”
Steve Burnett, technology program co-chair