New Friends & Initiatives

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For the past four months, I have been working in Albania as a Production Engineer learning about operations, well-servicing and production optimization. Given this highly technical role, I recognized the need for some ‘balancing’ experiences, while in Albania, and wondered how I could be of service to the local community. After some careful thought and reflection, I decided to create a unique opportunity that simultaneously allowed me to give back to the community while doing something that I love. This opportunity was a project consisting of two phases: impact and longevity – and was geared to the local youth. This project also served as a pilot for a much greater initiative that is still yet to come.

I can truly say that this past week was definitely one of the most memorable weeks of my life! I felt honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to run workshops at three local Albanian high schools on the topic of what it is like to pursue a STEM related career and how young women, in particular, should aspire for greater heights and career possibilities. 

In phase one, the impact portion of the project, I organized an engineering design activity where the students worked in teams to plan, develop, and implement a prototype within specific time and monetary constraints.

This is truly when the creativity and enthusiasm began to flow! The students were problem solving, thinking outside the box while being extremely cognizant of their “$20,000” dollar budget and “6-month” execution period. The students said they had so much fun and had no idea that engineering could be so cool! 

More importantly, many of the students mentioned that they felt inspired – and this is exactly the outcome I wanted for phase one. 

Coming from a privileged world, where information and education are readily available, this was a chance for me to share my experiences and knowledge, thus far, with students who are about to begin their post-secondary education. More specifically, being a female engineer in an industry and a country where this discipline is considered to be “male dominated”, I was able to demonstrate that gender is not an obstacle for girls to pursue their dreams and explore all academic and career options.

The second phase of this project was geared towards longevity. My aim was to develop a peer mentorship program with students at the University of Tirana and further motivate them to work hard to achieve successful careers. We invited several students to the oilfield in Patos-Marinza and I gave them a technical presentation on production and operations, central facilities and EOR. We then had a tour of the field where they had chance to synthesize the information presented followed by the opportunity to ask specific questions. The students and I further plan on having monthly meetings regarding career possibilities, technical oil and gas related topics of interest, and current events related to the industry. By fostering a collaborative and open platform for discussion, the peer circle will have the potential to flourish regardless of where we are situated in the world.

I am immensely proud of the results from this project, it was a team effort that required many hands to make it a success. I would like to thank the Community Relations team at Bankers Petroleum for making these workshops possible.  I am grateful for having made new friends, developing professional connections, and most of all, for the inspiration and motivation to effect positive changes where and when I can. 

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