Petroleum geology has always attracted bright young people.
Thankfully, diversity is now entering the profession, as evidenced by an increasing number of them today are women.
AAPG member Jennifer Scott, who goes by “Jenni,” is a petroleum geologist for the Regional New Ventures Team at Hess Corp. in London, England.
Geology was a natural choice for Scott, if not an obvious one.
“I wasn’t sure when I was at college what I wanted to do – I actually thought for a long time that I wanted to be a lawyer,” she recalled.
Scott is from Northern Ireland. Her uncle, a minister in Dublin, once allowed a fledgling rock band to practice in his church hall, she said.
That Irish band was U2.
Ireland’s relatively small size and social closeness mean such coincidences are not uncommon, according to Scott.
“In the rest of the world, they say there are six degrees of separation,” she said. “In Ireland, there are about two.”
Scott attended Cambridge University in England, where she joined and was president of the Cambridge Union debating society and contemplated life as an attorney.
That changed after she took a summer internship at Shell Exploration in Rijswijk, the Netherlands.
“The internship was a real project,” she said. “You were part of a team.”
At Shell she witnessed first-hand the arguments over a drilling prospect.
“With the debating and the thinking and also the science, I found that working at an oil company really pushed my buttons,” she said.
After graduating from Cambridge, she went into a master’s program at Imperial College in London.
“I ended up specializing in geology at Cambridge. I’d say my focus at that time was structural. At Imperial I broadened and did quite a bit of work in sequence stratigraphy, biostratigraphy,” she recalled.
Involvement with AAPG contributed to her development as a geologist. She was on the Imperial College Imperial Barrel Award team that captured second place at the 2008 AAPG annual meeting in San Antonio. Also helping was experience gained on field trips as a graduate student to Utah and the Wessex Basin in England.
The highlight of her AAPG experience so far might be winning the 2010 Gabriel Dengo Memorial Award, presented for giving the best oral presentation at the AAPG International Conference in Calgary.
“I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I got the email. I have the award on my desk and I still look at it and think, ‘How did that happen?’” she said.
Closing in on three years as a geologist at Hess, Scott said she couldn’t be happier with her choice of careers:
“I am so grateful, because for years I could have been a lawyer. Oh, dear!”