Jen graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree in Earth & Energy Resources (EER). While in the EER program, Jen focused her studies on water resources and oil and gas.  She is based out of Houston, TX, where she works as Production Manager for Brigham Resources. In her current position, Jen handles all software, manages production and sales, and assists the land department. Jen has also worked for Deloitte as National Petroleum Services Manager.

How did the EER program influence your career path?

I worked in oil and gas prior to going to the EER program. EER opened the door to go from an individual contributor to a managerial role by giving me a body of specialized knowledge. In oil and gas, at least in smaller companies, you wear a lot of hats and it’s good to have a wide base of knowledge. Some important classes in the program were finance and economics, and in particular project economics.

Did you have any internships while in the EER program?

I worked for Brigham full-time while going to school. I also did an independent study course, through which I followed the Texas legislature and went to hearings through the Natural Resources Committee. I studied things that would impact Texas in a time of drought, such as water planning for the state and industry.

How do you suggest EER students pitch the degree in interviews?

I suggest that EER students say, “Let me tell you all of the things I’ve studied, researched, and am interested in.” I also suggest telling them about the opportunities that the program provides, such as the different tracks, etc. Describing the program has helped those interviewing (and hiring) me to know that it’s a legit, robust program. I also recommend tailoring your “pitch” to a company’s operations. It’s important to know how you could fit in and what you have to offer.

What publications, professional organizations or events should students check out for additional information?

I would advise setting up Google news preferences with certain keywords so that relevant news is delivered to your inbox. Other resources include the Fuel Fix blog, created by Rice & the Houston Chronicle. Scan headlines, and seize the opportunity in an interview to talk about current events. This shows that you are engaged in the industry. The company wants to know that their problems are going to be your problems. Also, read the energy sections of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Check out the Railroad Commission website for news and statistics like how many wells were drilled and permits taken out. It’s key to target specific companies and stay on top of their news. Community involvement is often really important to companies, so take advantage of opportunities to get involved and volunteer.

What other advice do you have for current EER students?

Networking is so important. Join AAPG and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Go to other cities; the opportunities in Houston are insane. Check out the big accounting firms, because they consult for oil and gas and need people that have an understanding of energy.

-As told to Chelsea Ochoa