Being one of the few women working in petroleum engineering might be intimidating for some people, but not for Stephanie Reeves, a field engineer for the Chevron Corporation. Working as an engineering advisor for the company she was responsible for the management of the Facilities Engineering Framework in the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit.
But being the only woman in a large group isn’t totally foreign to Reeves who, after the events of 9/11, decided to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point with the plan to be a military doctor. While attending the school she realized that this wasn’t the career path for her and after speaking with a mentor she changed to engineering, graduating in 2006 with a BS in chemistry and systems engineering. She credits attending West Point for helping her learn to stand her own ground and how to be confident in her own skin. During her service in the Army she held various leadership positions including company commander and a senior advisor to the Battalion Commander.
After leaving the Army she accepted a position as a production operations engineer for Occidental Petroleum Corporation where she managed and coordinated daily operations of over 1,000 oil wells. Reeves also collaborated with a team of field operators, geologists, engineers, and other technical experts to create field development plans. Joining the male-dominated field of petroleum engineering helped her to see the importance of mentorships for women.
Reeves feels it is important for young girls to seek out mentors to help them navigate the world and that having mentors can make a huge difference. Through a program with the Society of Women Engineers, Reeves acts as a mentor helping students make connections with other women and to know they aren’t alone in their pursuit of STEM education and employment. Reeves finds her own support system of mentors equally important as it helps her maintain her confidence and to drown-out self-doubt. She believes that bringing diversity to STEM fields brings new ideas and perspectives and girls shouldn’t be afraid to challenge the notion that science isn’t for them.
Written by Angela Goad