A member of the Pitt-Bradford faculty testified Tuesday before a
subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on NaturalResources.
Dr. Matthew Kropf is director of the
American Refining Group/Harry Halloran Jr. Energy Institute and assistant
professor of petroleum technology and energy science and technology.
He was one of six educators who
testified before the subcommittee on energy and mineral resources during a
hearing titled “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Education.”
The hearing was part of a series
being held to explore opportunities related to changes in the production and
consumption of American energy. The hearing on Tuesday focused on the skills
and education required to fill future energy-related jobs and how community
colleges and colleges and universities are working to fill the need for
expanded geology, engineering and energy programs.
Pitt-Bradford has two
multidisciplinary energy-related programs: an associate of science program in
petroleum technology and a new bachelor of science program in energy science
Kropf developed the curriculum for
the four-year degree. He said that while he was developing the curriculum for
the program, which was launched last year, he recognized two opportunities.
He testified that the first
opportunity is basic energy competency at the college level. “There is an
inherent need to teach about the complex interplay between energy resources,
economics and environmental outcomes in order to create a rational and informed
public capable of understanding energy policy.”
Kropf said that to encourage
students of all majors to become more well-versed in energy matters, he created
a new general education elective, Introduction to Energy Science and
Technology, which he began teaching in 2011.
He said that the second educational
opportunity is to increase student proficiency in the areas of science,
technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Energy production – whether drilling
gas wells or installing solar panels – is a multidisciplinary endeavor,” he
said. “It is STEM skills that drive innovations in energy production and
efficiency, and it is STEM education that will be the only means of achieving
and maintaining energy independence for future generations.”
Kropf went on to say that a common
thread he has found throughout energy fields is the integration of sensors and
computers for automated monitoring and processing. He told the subcommittee
that he has developed a multidisciplinary curriculum to emphasize the use of
sensors and computers for energy applications.
Video of Kropf’s testimony and the
full text of his comments are available on the Committee on Natural Resources’
In the video, Kropf’s testimony begins at 1 hour and 9 minutes.