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How a Recent UH Graduate Created the Largest Energy-Focused Community on Campus

06/16/2017 | By Claire Andersen

It is clear to anyone who speaks to Phillip Jefferson that the University of Houston is a significant source of passion and pride for him. When asked to describe himself in three words, he answered without hesitation: passionate, intense and loving.   

If there was room for another word, it would surely be dedicated. Dedicated to being the best, dedicated to making his mark and most of all, dedicated to UH.  

“I hope that any student or faculty or alumni would understand that we are all a part of something very special. Something that is not going on anywhere else in the country,” said Jefferson, who graduated in 2017 with a degree in petroleum engineering and will soon work at Phillips 66 as a Katalyst Associate. “We continue to grow, we continue to exceed all expectations and do way more with less. I’m proud to now be University of Houston alumni.”    

Jefferson shared about one of his biggest successes, establishing the Energy Coalition (EC). The EC was created as a collaboration between energy-related student organizations and colleges. Jefferson aimed to create a program that would empower each of these groups and enhance the impact that they have on their members.  

Developed just two and a half years ago, EC now has over 5,000 active student members representing more than 34 student organization and six colleges. According to Jefferson, it is the largest energy related student organization in the country.  

As he transitions from student to alumnus, Jefferson has passed the EC on to the new student board, which he hopes will continue to build upon the EC's national recognition.    

“It’s a strange feeling. There are so many possibilities, but I feel confident that we were able to prepare the next generation of student leaders to take over,” Jefferson said. “Change is good, so I’m excited to see the new direction that the organization takes.”  

Jefferson is quick to point out those who helped him get to where he is today. From within the university, Jefferson points to Ramanan Krishnamoorti and Suryanarayanan (Radha) Radhakrishnan as his mentors. Jefferson credits both Krishnamoorti and Radhakrishnan for boosting his love for UH and giving him the opportunity to advance his connections in the energy industry.   

“They are two people who truly care about the students and the students’ success. In everything they do and everything they say, at the core of every one of their actions they have the students’ interest in mind,” Jefferson said.   

Aside from his love for UH, Jefferson said he is passionate about energy. 

“When people think of energy, they think of turning on lights and this and that. But it brings people out of poverty, it extends life expectancy, it gives people access to education and healthcare,” he said.   

Jefferson was recently hired by Phillips 66 and will begin their Katalyst development program in the fall. Over the next three years Jefferson will be trained as a Katalyst Associate specializing in the commercial sector, offering him expertise in various areas, including business development or crude trading.  

"This is my calling. I've always been an energy-focused, commercially minded individual, and I'm excited to deliver energy to the world and change lives while I do it. What better place to do that than the greatest city in the world, my home; Houston,” said Jefferson.