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UTPB & ECISD offer dual credit geoscience classes

Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 12:49 AM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - UT Permian Basin is helping students earn a degree in geoscience quicker and enter the energy industry sooner.

The students are out for Thanksgiving break this week, but when they return, many in the dual credit program will be another step closer to graduating high school with an associates degree.

The dual credit program is a partnership between UT Permian Basin and Ector County ISD.

“They are our future,” UT Permian Basin Professor Joshua Swigert said. “I was once sitting in their seats.”

Professor Swigert, a Permian High School grad himself, spent many years doing environmental consulting in the oilfield before switching gears.

“I gave my life, every bit of myself to it,” Swigert explained. “It was always a chase. I was always chasing the the next pipeline, the next job.”

Professor Swigert found greater personal fulfillment in higher education.

He’s now back at Permian High School each week day morning teaching college-level geology.

Thanks to funding from community partners, the UT Permian Basin class comes at no cost to the high school students.

“Coming into this program, I just thought we had learned about rocks,” student Dylan Winchell explained. “But this program gave me a different viewpoint on Earth itself and how beautiful Earth can be.”

“When I’m going on road trips and you see the rocks on the side, like you start: ‘Oh, that sandstone, there’s limestone,’” Kyson Moreno said.

The entry-level college course is giving the students applicable knowledge and new perspectives in high school.

In this first year of the dual credit geoscience program, 16 students are enrolled across Permian and Odessa High School.

The hope is the program will continue to grown with even more students enrolled next year.

“I have some students that are leaving here with their high school degrees and they have associate’s degrees already,” Professor Swigert explained. “They can go straight to UTPB and just a matter of two years or less, they can already have a bachelor’s degree. They can be less than 20 years old and already be entering the workforce.”

If you’re an ECISD student interested in the dual credit program, UT Permian Basin says contact your guidance counselor.

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