Marine reservist helps returning veterans enter energy-related fields

Contributed photo

Staff Sgt. Christopher Magliolo has his hands in a lot of pots, and he’s fine with that.

In fact, not only is Magliolo a U.S. Marine Corps Reservist, but he’s also a graduate research assistant entering his fourth year at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he is earning a master’s degree in geology.

Magliolo also is a husband and father.

At the same time, the active on-campus volunteer also is passionate about helping military veterans navigate energy-related professions, which he thinks are a perfect match for vets seeking to stay connected to national security-related job opportunities.

TI News Daily recently asked Magliolo about the specific work he’s doing at LSU as he endeavors to help give back to military veterans. The following discussion has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Tell us a bit about your position at LSU. Forgive the wording, but what is the need for what you do and what is the value of that role to veterans?

A: I am a graduate research assistant conducting thesis research on the capability of the Mississippi River to transport sand and mud to the remaining natural floodplains within the confines of the levee system. The scope of the project is to determine whether the sand and mud remaining in the river will be sufficient for sediment-diversion projects that are planned to support maintenance of the lower reaches of the Mississippi River. The diversion projects are currently one component of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

I am also currently the treasurer of the LSU Student Chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. The organization supports geology students in their efforts to get hired, present their research at annual expos, and remain informed of new initiatives in the industry while specifically focusing on the role of geologists in the industry.

My role as treasurer within this organization includes maintaining chapter finances, directing fundraising efforts to support students during travel for conferences, social events, providing thank-you gifts for industry experts who conduct professional lunches, and assisting the chapter president with alumni outreach and finding new sources of philanthropic support for the chapter.

Q: Why are vets interested in energy-related jobs?

A: When I considered my options before leaving active duty, I still had more than a year before my end of active service. There were multiple government-contracting career opportunities at the base where I was stationed, but I was ready to move on from the government sector. I looked at business programs, but each industry that I was interested in was involved in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. 

Energy, particularly oil and gas exploration, grabbed my attention. I made the decision that I wanted to be involved in the science and operational aspects instead of the business aspects. That said, my goal in this industry is to be able to gain the experience and credibility to be able to use scientific observations to help make business decisions.

Other veterans I have spoken to have had numerous reasons to move into the energy sector. Some enjoy the challenge of finding new resources. Others see the importance of using their skills to help create an important suite of products that provide us with a high quality of life. And, of course, the industry can be lucrative. Considering my personal situation as a husband and father, I wanted to find a career that would provide a comfortable life for my family and keep me relatively close to home.

Q: What effort does LSU put in to find veterans jobs in this sector?

A: LSU has an active veterans organization called Student Veterans of LSU (SVLSU), which is part of the organization Student Veterans of America. We have begun the process of creating a group focused on veterans pursuing careers in energy exploration. Among the student veterans at LSU, there are many students within petroleum and civil engineering, construction management, geology and business fields.

LSU is among the primary universities where the oil and gas industry recruits. The engineers, geologists and managers that come from this university have a track record of success in the industry. By combining the efforts made by SVLSU and the various departments at LSU while bringing veterans in these fields together, we hope to enhance the knowledge of our veterans as they go through the hiring process. From this foundation, we hope to find student veterans who have interviewed and interned, and alumni who have been hired in the industry. In doing so, perhaps we can expand the number of fields being sought by a larger number of companies for LSU’s student veterans.

As we develop this group of veterans in energy exploration, we are attempting to gain support from the Departments of Geology and Geophysics, Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the LSU Flores Master of Business Administration Program.

Currently, there are numerous initiatives that have been developed by these programs, including the Flores MBA degree with a specialization in energy. The Geology and Geophysics Department has created the Applied Depositional Geosystems certification program for graduate students to guide them in pursuit of careers in energy, as well as a five-year Accelerated Master’s Program.

Additionally, the university recently created the Center for Energy Studies to study policy issues related to the energy sector.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your time in the Marines?

I enlisted in 2003 after graduating from college. I attended the Basic Arabic Course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and follow-on Signals Intelligence training before reporting to 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

During the training cycle for a deployment to Iraq, I received orders to the newly formed Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command that had recently been formed. I deployed to Afghanistan in January 2007 and again in September 2008-March 2009. Between these deployments, I attended the Basic Reconnaissance Course and SERE School. Following my second deployment, I reported to Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion and served four years in various billets within the intelligence community.

Following the end of my active-duty service, I joined the Marine Corps Reserve, and I am currently serving at 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company.

Q: From your personal experience, why should vets be proud to work in the oil and gas industry?

A: Each of us has served in the military and has done our part for the security of the nation. The recent wars have shifted to a new phase, and the numbers of our service members directly deployed in overseas conflicts have decreased.

Eventually, each of us has to make a decision to continue with an active-duty career in the military or to transition to the civilian world as a Reservist, Guardsman or veteran. No matter what path we choose, we will always be associated with the military. We will all have individual reputations, but with the added responsibility to maintain the reputation of those who came before us and continue to pave the way for those who will come after us.

Within the oil and gas industry, I believe there are additional opportunities to continue aiding national security by helping the United States gain energy independence or providing a more stable supply of energy to other nations. Geologists are one part of this effort, as are oil field workers, suppliers and transporters. There are numerous other majors leading to professional careers in the industry that veterans can explore, such as engineering, health and safety, environmental science  and business operations.

Organizations in this story

Louisiana State University 110 Thomas Boyd Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 70803

Get notified the next time we write about Louisiana State University!

Top