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OSU DISCOVERY: Baker Hughes partnership creates new engineering opportunities

Thursday, December 17, 2020

From left: OSU President Burns Hargis, Baker Hughes Vice President Taylor Shinn and Oklahoma City Innovation District CEO Katy Boren.

The future of engineering innovation now has a name: OSU DISCOVERY. 

In late July, OSU announced a new public-private partnership between the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and Baker Hughes. The company donated its research and innovation center in the Oklahoma City Innovation District to the university to develop a learning environment to benefit both students and industry professionals. 

An ardent proponent of partnerships and collaboration, President Burns Hargis celebrated the partnership and the newly branded facility as major advancements in OSU’s engineering programs and prestige. 

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Oklahoma State University to secure a world-class research and innovation center and establish a collaborative relationship with a leading technology company like Baker Hughes,” he said. “Baker Hughes is a global company that has set the bar high in technology and innovation, and OSU is excited and honored to increase its collaboration with their industry experts to grow our already strong mechanical, industrial, and aerospace engineering programs. This collaboration, combined with the opportunity to add the worldclass Energy Innovation Center and its facilities to OSU’s engineering and research offerings, will enable OSU to graduate engineers with meaningful experience on significant real-world projects.”

The center will house new hands-on learning opportunities in mechanical, aerospace, electrical, chemical and petroleum engineering that will allow students to tackle real-world problems in a state-of-the-art facility. The center aims to house classes for CEAT’s master’s degree in petroleum engineering as well.

CEAT will take operational control of the building and occupy the building’s fourth-floor office and meeting room spaces. Baker Hughes will retain management of the building’s two lab spaces on the first floor as well as the auxiliary lab. The company will also lease the fifth-floor offices and retain space for about 50 employees who are currently working on energy- and industry-related projects. OSU and Baker Hughes will share the thirdfloor conference rooms, as well as the auditorium and showroom spaces on the first floor.

The collaborative effort will also provide both entities additional resources for recruitment efforts. 

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for OSU, CEAT and our faculty and students to directly affect the technologies of tomorrow through coursework and hands-on experiences conducted in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Paul Tikalsky, dean of CEAT and professor in structural engineering. “The center will provide the brightest minds of tomorrow limitless possibilities to prosper and thrive, while providing current industry leaders the ability to pursue the greatest challenges facing their respective disciplines.”

OSU and Baker Hughes will also work to develop diversity and inclusion programs aimed at bolstering the pipeline of STEM talent by creating more learning opportunities for students and community members. Baker Hughes, for example, will continue to engage high schools and student groups from Oklahoma City Public Schools to connect them with technologists and demonstrate new technology they can pursue in higher education and their careers. 

CEAT and Dr. Tikalsky aim to recruit, develop and retain welleducated, well-trained individuals with backgrounds in these emerging technologies in order to help bolster the Oklahoma economy. With this mission, the college hopes to produce more engineers to meet the rising demand in the job market. 

“The center’s location in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District gives this relationship a strategic advantage, as we unite higher education, research, energy, aerospace and advanced manufacturing into one ecosystem,” said Taylor Shinn, vice president for Baker Hughes Digital Solutions. “Baker Hughes will also continue to invest in Oklahoma City’s diverse talent, supporting technology and inclusion programs in local schools and connecting academia with industry.”

The donation gives OSU and CEAT the ability to adapt curriculum that will cater to a co-op education, split between university coursework and hands-on training with leading industrial technologists. Also, it will increase the exposure CEAT and OSU have to the people of central Oklahoma. 

“Access to the center’s research facilities and ability to collaborate with global entities will allow our students the ability to gain real world experience,” said OSU/A&M Board of Regents past Chairman Tucker Link. “On behalf of OSU and the Board of Regents, I want to thank Baker Hughes for their vision to make this once-in-alifetime opportunity for Oklahoma State a reality.”

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