Hendratta Ali is Associate Professor in the Geosciences Department at the Fort Hays State University and is the coordinator of the Petroleum Geology program and student club advisor / mentor.
Dr. Ali established and developed a petroleum geology program in the department of Geosciences at FHSU. She supervises the FHSU geology apprenticeship program for students and mentors students to gain industry experience before they graduate. She typically teaches several courses per year including petroleum geology, geophysics, stratigraphy, well logging, and general geology courses. In addition to teaching and supervising apprenticeships, Dr. Ali has a vibrant research group that typically includes several undergraduate students; they advise the student chapters of the SEG (Fort Hays State University Geophysical Society) and AAPG petroleum club. She is also the faculty sponsors the Fort Hays State University IBA team.
Dr. Ali’s research interests are in magnetic susceptibility and chemo-stratigraphy applied to petroleum systems and the use of stable isotope applied to surface and groundwater systems. She engages the future generation of petroleum geologists to become well rounded industry professionals through teaching, hands-on mentoring, and apprenticeship and internship co-supervised with industry mentors.
Hendratta is also very active in SEG, AAPG, and other professional organizations. She has served in key leadership roles including serving as President of the Kansas Geophysical Society, Chair of the SEG Youth Education committee, and member of several committees. She offers petroleum-related short-courses and workshops to working professionals and non-geosciences professionals.
Hendratta is fluent in English and French. In her spare time she is a recreational soccer coach and enjoys camping and dancing.
SEG Outstanding Educator Award 2018 
Hendratta Ali of Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is an excellent teacher, has developed an apprenticeship program, teaches industry short courses, helped FHSU add more than 100 SEG student members, and is very active in all aspects of mentoring students. She served as 2014 chair of the SEG Youth Education Committee, has regular K–12 outreach events, and her inspirational work with FHSU students has significantly grown the petroleum geology program in a very short time.
Biography Citation for the 2018 SEG Outstanding Educator Award
Hendratta Ali is an associate professor of geoscience at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Hays, Kansas. Remarkably, though she is early in her career, she has achieved more with her students in the last eight years than many geoscientists achieve in a lifetime. Simply put, she is passionate about her students, the integration of science and education, and the transfer of knowledge to the younger generation including not only university students but also high school students both in the United States and in several countries in Africa. Hendratta is a true mentor, coach, and promoter of her students.
As the sole petroleum geoscience faculty, Hendratta developed 10 new courses including three graduate courses, one virtual online course, and one open education resource course. The three geophysics courses include Geophysical Analysis, Seismic Interpretation, and Advanced Geophysical Well Logging. In addition to these, she developed a unique and very impactful course, Apprenticeship in Geosciences. The Apprenticeship in Geosciences course allows students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as apprentices with established industry professionals while applying the skills and knowledge they have learned in the classroom. Hendratta also offers several short courses and workshops such as Reservoir Characterization Essentials, Well Logging 101, Fundamentals of Petroleum Geology for Nongeologists, and Introduction to Seismic Interpretation to industry professionals seeking continuing education.
Hendratta has great impact through these programs because she commits herself to optimizing the experience of students and professionals alike outside the classroom. In particular, Hendratta has an outstanding record in mentoring students. After creating and advising the SEG Student Chapter at FHSU, she recruited student members — some of which are now Associate Members of SEG — and mentored them to participate in SEG student club activities at national meetings and SEG student programs. Some of these include the SEG Challenge Bowl, Student Chapter Outreach Grant, technical expanded abstracts, field trips, and peer mentoring. Through her mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students, she has encouraged more than 100 students to become student members of SEG. With her encouragement, these students have gone on to benefit from multiple education programs and resources that SEG offers.
In 2017, she was nominated by her students and subsequently won the AAPG Inspirational Geoscience Educator Award — a true testament to how much she has inspired her students.
One of her students remarks, “Dr. Ali embodies the traits that every SEG mentor should strive for: (1) passion for teaching geophysics; (2) dedication to educational programs and the ability to energize students to succeed and draw out their best to succeed in these programs; (3) commitment to mentoring and guiding students no matter the time, whether it be day or night, weekday, or weekend; and (4) being an inspiration to upcoming geologists and geophysicists.”
Another student writes, “Dr. Ali's method of teaching has greatly influenced my ability to ask the right questions, to build my problem-solving skills, and to enhance my creative thinking. Lastly, and most importantly, her constant questioning of research interpretation and analysis allows her students to learn how to clearly articulate their conclusions and the steps taken to come to those conclusions … I believe Dr. Ali is a unique professor that is enthusiastic about her students and can recognize the potential that each of them possesses.”
A third student shares, “… I can personally attest that Dr. Ali has the heart for educating the next generation and has genuine interest in her students succeeding in life. Since my first course with Dr. Ali, she has been a steady voice to encourage all students to be a part of the local SEG Student Chapter and has guided the club in its activities. As long as I have been in the club, she has not taken matters into her own hands with club activities but has encouraged and motivated us to use our initiative.”
It is clear that Hendratta is genuinely inspiring and legitimately impacting the next generation of geophysicists.
University awards and recognitions
- FHSU 2017, Outstanding Graduate Advisor
- FHSU 2017, My-Go-To, Outstanding Mentoring to Colleagues award
- Oil on my Shoes-Fort Hays State University’s Programs of Distinction: Petroleum Geology. Inaugural Issue-Feature Stories pp 14-15, ROAR Magazine, Fall 2016 vol.1 no.1 http://issuu.com/forthays/docs/roar_fall_2016_digital_lo?e=16572374/41722223
- FSHU Phenomenal Woman (2015) https://www.fhsu.edu/news/Fort-Hays-State-University-honors-Phenomenal-Woman-Award-winners/
- “Oklahoma State University Branding Success” campaign. February 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbKB1KHwumY
Professional society awards and activities
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) 2017 Inspirational Educator Award Recipient
- Coordinator and host of SEG Women’s Network Committee Webinar series
Professional organizations and affiliations
- Society of Exploration Geophysicists
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists
- Geological Society of America
- Association for Women Geoscientists
- National Association of Black Geoscientists
- Kansas Geological Society
- Geophysical Society of Kansas
- Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association
- Fort Hays State University Department of Geosciences - Faculty & Staff Directory, (2017), https://www.fhsu.edu/geo/Faculty-and-Staff/
- The Leading Edge Volume 37, Issue 11