bob standing in the mountains
In his 23 years at UTPB, Dr. Trentham has mentored and taught hundreds of students. “I believe it is our role to prepare both our undergraduate and graduate students in careers in exploration and production."

UTPB faculty member, Dr. Robert Trentham, is the recipient of the 2023 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Distinguished Educator Award. This yearly award is given in recognition of distinguished and outstanding contributions to geological education.

robert trentham headshot“When I first received notice of the award I thought this couldn’t be real, I felt truly honored to be considered for this. I am joining a select group of previous awardees who I have admired for many years. I never thought I would be nominated for an award like this, much less receive it,” said Trentham.

Trentham teaches many petroleum related courses at UTPB. From Geology of the Permian Basin, Petroleum Geology, Sedimentary Rocks for Engineers, to Core Analysis, Volcanology, and Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. Trentham has been passionate about geology since childhood. Living on a beach in a tidal marshland in New York through those years sparked his interest in the environment. Years later, after taking a trip to the southwest, Trentham decided to receive his doctorate degree at The University of Texas at El Paso and work for Gulf Oil in Midland in 1980.

After spending a career in exploration and production in the Permian Basin for 20+ years, Trentham decided to switch professions. He began his teaching career at UTPB in 2000 as an adjunct for the Geology department. In 2001, he became Director of the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification and Lecturer in Geology. Finally, in 2019 Trentham transitioned into Senior Lecturer and Research Associate in the Geosciences department where he currently resides.

“I believe it is our role to prepare both our undergraduate and graduate students in careers in exploration and production, and allied fields such as environmental. Many of our students work in the industry during the day and come to UTPB in the evenings to upgrade their skill sets to help them advance in their careers,” said Trentham.

In his 20 years at UTPB, Trentham has mentored and taught hundreds of students. He has served as a thesis advisor to graduate students and also served on multiple committees. “I plan to continue mentoring and teaching as many students as I can. Receiving this award will allow me to easily access other award winners and in turn provide a broader spectrum of resources for our students.”
robert with studentsrobert trentham with students
Robert Trentham has elevated the profile of UTPB through a series of efforts with the Department of Energy and other federal grant programs. He has partnered with industries and other academic institutions on topics that both enhance the understanding of our oil reserves and also increased production. Recently, Trentham has worked with other institutions such as New Mexico Tech, The University of Utah, and The University of Kansas on Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS).

“We are The University of Texas Permian Basin. We are the heart of the oil industry. There is no place where there is a larger concentration of geoscientists, engineers, and students who realize that geology is critical to the sustainable future of the Permian Basin. We are a small tight-knit department but provide a broad range of knowledge and skills that our students need to be successful in their careers. The “kids” keep me young. Their thirst for knowledge and their inquisitive nature forces me to stay up to date and provide them with cutting edge understandings. This, in itself is invigorating.”