Skip to main content

SFA geologists on the rise

Graduates of the SFA Department of Earth Sciences and Geologic Resources have a rocky road ahead of them—and that’s exactly what they want! Whether they’re overseeing multiple drill rigs, modeling one of the biggest shale fields in North America or running a lab for a world mining leader, they are deeply immersed in their careers.

John Lebus, Class of '09, '11
MS in geology

John Lebus, Class of '09, '11

John Lebus launched his career while still in graduate school at SFA during a trip to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Convention Convention, where ConocoPhillips snatched him up. He began in reservoir characterization before receiving training as an operations geologist, quickly moving up to development geologist in the Bakken Shale, first at Conoco and then at Hess in 2014, where he became team lead overseeing 17 drill rigs. As operations team lead, John refined geologic models to improve wellbore placement, spacing, and targeting accuracy. As a senior geologist at Hess, he is currently working to understand natural and artificial fracturing in the Bakken Shale to improve predictive analytics when determining the best way to drill.

Kevin Ausburn, Class of '03, '06
MS in geology

Kevin Ausburn, Class of '03, '06

Kevin Ausburn has used his geology training at SFA to forge an interesting career in the mining industry, starting out at Phelps Dodge Mining Company as a process mineralogist. After Phelps Dodge was acquired by Freeport McMoRan Mining Company, he managed their automated production mineralogy laboratory, which is the largest lab of its type in the mining industry, processing more than 1,000 samples per day. In 2011, he joined FLSmidth, a worldwide leader of equipment and services to the mining industry, as their chief mineralogist. There he oversaw the construction and commissioning of their Ore Characterization & Process Mineralogy and their Automated Robotic Mineralogy laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah. His work focuses mainly on the implementation of X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Near Infrared (NIR), optical microscopy and robotics analyses for the mining industry.

Richard Ball, Class of ’05
BS in geology

Richard Ball, Class of ’05

Richard Ball earned his Bachelor of Science in geology at SFA. After he graduated from SFA, he earned a Master of Science in geology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Richard’s career includes work in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs during his 10-year career with Chevron, including onshore U.S., Gulf of Mexico Shelf/Deep Water and West Africa Shelf. At Detring, Richard focuses on upstream acquisitions and divestitures, in addition to market-leading basin research. Richard recently served as general vice chair for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ 100th anniversary annual convention, a four-day conference attended by more than 7,500 geologists. He served on the AAPG executive committee from 2013 to 2015. 

Christina Vasquez, Class of '99, '05
MS in geology

Christina Vasquez, Class of ’05 (graduate), Class of ’99 (undergraduate)

Christina Vasquez earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from SFA. During her time as a Lumberjack, Christina participated in the Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program at TXU’s Martin Lake Power Plant. As an intern, she worked in the environmental department, learning from experts in the field the ins and outs of efficiently running a power plant while maintaining governmental regulatory compliance. After graduation, Christina accepted a job with TXU Luminant in mine planning and later took a job at Halliburton Landmark, where she worked in quality assurance for the earth modeling application. She is currently working as a solution marketer manager at Landmark, supporting the Reservoir Management R&D group, where she works on go-to-market and commercialization strategy, solutions marketing, partner marketing, and PSL and portfolio-wide value propositions.

More notable alumni  

  • Kacey McCauley, Class of '12 and '13
    Geologist, EOG Resources
  • Daniel Sutton, Class of '13
    Geologist, Occidental Petroleum
  • Greg Anderson, Class of '12
    Geologist, Fairway Resources
  • Okoronkwo Kelechi, Class of '12
    Geologist, BP
  • Hal Bertram, Class of '11
    Geologist/Vice President, Sandero Midstream Partners
  • Sarah Power, Class of '10
    Geologist, Schlumberger
  • Chris Dale Sumner, Class of '99
    Land Manager, Lhoist
  • John Alton Ademick, Class of '97
    Senior Vice President of Geological Products, TGS
  • Chad A. Galloway, Class of '94
    COO, Energy & Exploration Partners
  • Leslie Allen Jeske, Class of '94
    Hydro Geologist, ETTL Engineers & Consultants
  • Donald Foster Craig, Class of '90
    Triton Data Services
  • Robert Barrett Riess, Class of '90
    Geology Consultant
  • Rolf Schmidt-Petersen, Class of '87
    Geologist, Daniel B. Stephenson & Associates
  • Kenneth William Mohn, Class of '86
    Geologist, TGS



Department of Earth Sciences and Geologic Resources

Physical Address:
Miller Science Building 
Room 301

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13011, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962