Energy Sources

Q&A: Chevron exec encourages more girls to enter male-dominated technical fields

By Jordan Blum April 6, 2018

A Houston native, Janeen Judah was one of the few women to take up petroleum engineering in the 1970s. Fast forward, 40 years and she’s retiring this month as an executive at Chevron and as the president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She’s leaving her position as the general manager of Chevron’s Southern Africa business.

She’ll keep serving as a new board member for Houston drilling and fracking firm Patterson-UTI Energy, but Judah also wants to encourage more girls and young women to enter the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — that too-often remain male-dominated.

Q: What made you interested in the energy sector, and petroleum engineering in particular?

A: My dad was in the midstream (energy) business. He was and is an engineer. I’ve found that a lot of women who went into engineering in that first wave in the ’70s — a lot of them are either daughters or younger sisters of engineers. It was not something you kind of picked out of the sky normally as a major. I was always a problem solver, and that was really what appealed to me about engineering — the analytical side of it. And I was fascinated by the oil business. You grow up in Houston back then and it was very prevalent and a very fascinating wildcatter kind of business. There was no doubt I wanted to go work in the oil industry.

Q: You earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University. What was the experience and culture like then?

A: Back then, in the late 70s, only about 10 percent of the engineering students were women. It was pretty thin as far as how many women were there. There are some who stuck with it for an entire career, but I’d say probably about half of them ended up laid off in the ’80s or made a choice to stay home. From about ’86 until almost the late ’90s, there were layoffs every year or two at most companies. A lot of them left the industry.

Q: You worked with ARCO before joining Texaco and then Chevron. How was it starting your career in Midland with small companies and then ARCO?

A: I used to always have to explain where the Permian Basin was to people, and nobody asks that question anymore. I lived out there during the ’80s. It was tough times for all of my early career.

Q: Was it particularly tough as a woman?

A: When I first went there it was still the boom and women were extremely unusual in the business. When you went out in the field it was like an event. You were rare and unusual. When I had my first interview out there it was at the old Midland Petroleum Club and women were still not allowed to be members. They had to get special permission for me to eat. That’s the way it was in 1980. Now, it’s much more common to see women. But, back then, you were highly unusual. Almost every industry is male dominated. Energy is maybe a little more macho industry, or maybe more aggressively male than some other places.

Q: Was harassment prevalent?

A: It would generally open like, ‘What’s a women doing here?’ kind of thing. But it wasn’t that common. They knew you were there to do a job and they let you do it. I never experienced anything that was too egregious. It’s a good-paying job, and you work in the field, and you have to be a little tough. And, often as an engineer, you’re the one in charge, so you had to be authoritative. If you were a female rig supervisor, they’ll call you the company man. That’s just the job title.

Q: Is it frustrating to be singled out as a female leader or do you welcome the role model position?

A: Generally, we all want to be treated equally and fairly in our workplace — to just be treated as most of the guys. But we realize — at least I realized —that after a certain point you are an example. You have a duty and an obligation to be visible and to step up and help coach, mentor and give advice to the women who are following you. A lot of us have started doing that. I want to try to make the path easier for others, because mine was hard.

 Q: What’s your point of focus?

A: I personally tend to target mentoring the mid-career technical women. There’s not many like me who are late career with technical backgrounds. I can help with those hard decisions that a lot of women generally make in their mid-30s. I always get asked about work-life balance. I tell them I don’t really believe in a work-life balance; it’s more work-life compromise. Social media doesn’t help where people think everything can be perfect with Instagram and Pinterest. That’s just unrealistic. I don’t know anyone who had it all at the same time. Some things come off the table at certain phases in your life. There are compromises and decisions. If if you have a family and there’s another career involved, then there’s decisions you need to make as a family. I think a lot of women have an unrealistic expectation that there’s some kind of magical balance you can get.

Q: What do you tell them?

A: I talk a lot about perseverance. A lot of women are socialized differently. Little boys, especially through sports, if they get knocked down it’s OK. There’s no broken bones, dust them off, put them back in the game. They’re socialized to not quit and to persevere. I think a lot of girls — it’s, oh, you fell down, sit over here. We socialize that it’s OK to withdraw. I coach mid-career women when they’re facing setbacks or problems to stay in the game.

Q: So it happens from an early age?

A: A lot of girls are discouraged, particularly in high school, from going into engineering by their parents or by school counselors. I don’t think it’s held up as being a good career choice for a girl. They tend to think the boys will be mean and you’ll have to go work out on a construction site or whatever. And you don’t. A lot of what we do is computer based and in an office. If someone’s majoring in environmental policy I ask why did they pick that? If they want to save the planet, why didn’t they go into environmental engineering? They could actually do something to save the planet. A lot of the grand challenges of society are engineering problems – clean air, clean water, clean energy, pollution. I don’t want to scare them off. I want to encourage them to stick with STEM. It makes so many career options open up for girls.

Source: Houston Chronicle:


Saudi Arabia ATS&E and Think Science Fair 2015

Our energy4me team in the SPE Dubai office has been quite busy in energy education the past few months, including our first ever event in Saudi Arabia! Check out details and pictures below.

Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition

Held annually in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, ATS&E is considered a prime event that highlights the mission of the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Saudi Arabia Section in providing a means for trading technical information concerning the oil and gas industry. Energy4me had the privilege of being invited to host an energy4me teacher and student workshop. This was the first ever event for energy4me in Saudi Arabia, thanks to an invitation from Mr. Yaser Khojah (Saudi Aramco), Young Professional & Student Outreach, Vice-Chairperson.

Mr. Khojah was invited to be a keynote speaker at the energy4me teachers workshop earlier in 2015 at MEOS in Bahrain. Being so impressed with the workshop, he invited the energy4me team to Saudi Arabia and requested that we replicate the hands on activities that so inspired him. The activities that were conducted were done so to highlight some concepts in oil exploration. From the experiments that show how oil is detected by geologists and petroleum engineers (Sound Waves, Core Sampling, Porosity, Density, Oil Seeps) to the mechanisms of extraction (Perforated Well Casing, Getting the Oil Out), students and teachers alike learnt that there are many exciting prospects in the oil & gas industry.

Another highlight was leading local female representatives from the industry were invited to present as keynote and young professional speakers, thus showing the female students that there are many opportunities for a professional career in the country. One particular student commented, “I never knew that there were female engineers that could work in the country successfully.” That’s successful energy education!


Students at ATS&E


Energy4me presentation at ATS&E


Think Science Fair 2015

A three-day science exhibition showcasing ground-breaking technological innovations from some of the UAE’s brightest young scientific minds was held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science Fair”, held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region attracting thousands of school and university students, parents, academics, investors and private sector representatives.

The Fair saw exhibitors showcase the scientific inventions designed and built by young UAE scientists as part of the Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science” Competition alongside a range of interactive, hands-on activities in various fields of engineering, energy, aviation and other technological industries. More than 8500 students and teachers attended form over 75 schools from the private and public sectors.

SPE exhibited the energy4me Oil & Natural Gas book, different careers within the energy sectors, and the energy4me teacher kit. In addition to this we conducted hands-on activities like Core Sampling, Getting the Oil Out, Sound Waves and how fruit can conduct electricity. The program was well received and many Heads of Science Departments and science teachers were invited to attend the next energy4me workshop in Abu Dhabi.

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair







We’re taking a short break after these events, the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, and our first ever New York workshop in Fredonia! We’ll be up and running again for the fall with even more events coming your way.

Be sure to sign up to receive invitations and visit our event calendar for more information.

SPE SA showcases at 2014 Science Alive!

By Helena Wu, SPE South Australian Section Vice Chairperson

How do you keep over 20,000 students, parents and children of all ages, dazzled and entranced in the science of oil and gas?

After months of planning, the SPE South Australian Section brought the science of oil and gas to life, at the recent 2014 Science Alive! event.  In its first foray into this annual expo, the South Australian Section partnered up with two local sections of other professional societies to share a 6m x 6m booth titled ‘Discover the Science of Oil and Gas’.

The calm before the storm – SPE-PESA-ASEG booth at 2014 Science Alive!

Held from 8-10 August at the local showgrounds, Science Alive! is a three day science and technology expo which attracted over 4,000 students on the Friday ‘Careers Day’ and an estimated 20,000 children and parents on the weekend public opening.

Through a mixture of presentations, exhibits and hands on activities, attendees were provided with an understanding of the petroleum lifecycle, starting from generation and migration, right through to production and integration into everyday society.

SPE members volunteering at the booth were kept busy dispelling common perceptions of oil and gas being found in underground caverns.  “Many were surprised by the numerous everyday products made from petroleum,” said James Griffiths, Event Coordinator and Community Liaison Chair for SPE South Australian Section.

Future petroleum engineers in training!


Prior to the event, SPE Senior Manager Communication and Energy Education, Paige McCown and SPE Southern Asia Pacific Regional Director, John Boardman, made a special donation of Energy4Me materials to the section, which were well utilised for the event.  The bookmarks proved to be most popular, while both students and parents shifted through the career brochures and quizzed each other using the IQ test questions.

The thinking caps are already out to ensure next year’s booth will be even bigger and better!

For more information about Science Alive! and Australia’s annual National Science Week, visit

We’re Back!

Taking a break from hosting workshops, we took some time to participate in some great energy education experiences this summer. In July, the entire Energy4me team (including our newest member from our Dubai office!) went down to Georgia for some extensive energy training with The NEED Project at their National Energy Conference for Educators.

A full week was spent exploring all sources of energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency. We had our minds and hands busy with energy projects, competitions, performances, and a visit to a local importing LNG facility on Elba Island. The best part was meeting teachers from all over the US and taking home new knowledge and activities to expand on the Energy4me curriculum and resources. Be sure to mark your calendar and apply for next year’s conference! Visit for more information.

Energy4me then traveled to Massillon, Ohio, for a workshop put on by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP). This 2 day workshop included industry speakers, hands on activities, and a field trip to several different types of drilling sites. At each site we were able to learn so much about their operations. Speakers not only talked about but showed us the equipment and technology needed for horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, injection wells, and natural gas storage. To learn more about the teacher resources they have available, visit

Thanks to OOGEEP and The NEED Project for the great #energyeducation this summer! We’re ready for the new school year, starting with our first professional development training in San Antonio this August. Interested in attending one? Visit our Events page for details on where we’ll be!

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Summer Science Programs

This summer take a minute to check out some energy science professional development or student programs in your area! Museums, science centers and professional organizations are all offering courses or experience opportunities throughout the summer months. The bonus for teachers is many of them will allow you to credit the hours back to your school or district requirements. Energy4me donates Oil and Natural Gas books and other materials for teachers to take home from many of these types of programs.

Energy4me staff is taking some time to attend some on our own this summer, we’ll be sure to share in future posts. We’ve put together a list of a few that we’re aware of, feel free to share others in the comments!

The Science of Racing Workshop
The NEED Project sponsored by Shell
Hands-on materials and activities to take back to the classroom will highlight the fuels of auto racing, polymers in auto racing, and the science of motors and generators. The training will begin with a workshop and continue with interactive exhibits and an opportunity to view qualifying races at Reliant Park that afternoon.
June 27, Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, TX, USA

Summer Institute for Elementary Teachers (SIET)
Canada Science and Technology Museum

The Summer Institute for Elementary Teachers is a three day interactive professional learning workshop for primary and junior teachers. The program shares innovative teaching strategies for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math into classroom lessons.
July 22-24, Ottawa, ON, Canada

OOGEEP Science Teacher Workshop
Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program
The goal of the workshop is to help foster energy education by connecting science education to the energy industry. The six learning stations include hands-on experiments, background information, industry guest speakers, graphic organizer ideas and career connections.
June 18-19, Marietta, OH, and July July 30-31, Massillon, OH, USA

Exploring History Summer Camp
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
For students! Activities will include science experiments, field trips and art class. Children will be learning all about energy conservation, renewable and nonrenewable resources, where energy comes from, and an in-depth look at petroleum and offshore drilling. Ages 7-11.
July 7-August 8, College Station, TX, USA

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Cheers to the New Year!


from the Energy4me team!

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to think about what we can improve upon in 2014.  Most people make resolutions about eating healthier or saving money, but why not make a resolution to stay educated in energy!  Stay up to date with us on where our energy comes from, new developments in energy technology, your energy use, and how to be smart about saving energy. So in the spirit of the New Year, consider the following resolutions:

  • Change out those old light bulbs to new LED bulbs.  Yes they are more money upfront, but LED’s last 50 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and they can reduce your yearly lighting costs by 75%.  Who wouldn’t love only having to change light bulbs once every 50 years?
  • Turn off electronics when they aren’t in use, and better yet, unplug them.  Many electronic devices like TVs, cell phone chargers, and computers use power even when they are turned off.  According to the Energy Star statistics, the average US household spends $100 dollars a year to power devices that are turned off.  On a national basis, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.
  • Keep the tires on your vehicles properly inflated.  You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the optimum pressure.  Not only that, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
  • Teachers – stay connected with 2014 workshop training opportunities and classroom resources.
  • Subscribe to the Energy4me newsletter to receive information year-round and share energy education with your family, friends, students, colleagues, and community! Sign Up Here>>

What are your plans for the new year? Share with us in the comments!

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Hydraulic Fracturing, the Facts


Did you know that hydraulic fracturing has been around since the 1940’s?  Lately we have been receiving a lot of questions about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” so we thought it would be a great time to pass along some reliable resources and fast facts you can use in your classroom. 

Presented by the Society of Petroleum Engineers is a brand new resource called Hydraulic Fracturing.  Here you can find the facts behind the process that is helping to unlock oil and natural gas that is trapped within small spaces in the rocks below our feet (way below our feet, between 3,000 and 6,000 feet down!).  You can also check out the media center for recent articles and videos about hydraulic fracturing.

Other great resources we have come across include the U.S Department of Energy’s  free graphic poster that you can request hard copies of to display in your classroom and the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) unit called Exploring Oil and Gas.  This unit is free to download and full of wonderful lessons; all correlated to the National Science Education Standards.

So get informed and get ready to explore how the industry 


has innovated one of the ways they will uncover our future energy source. 

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US Energy Use – Rise in Natural Gas, Solar and Wind

The 2012 data is in! The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, operated with the Department of Energy, collects data to share unique graphics about American energy consumption. In their latest flowchart, energy sources of production are detailed with how the energy is used and how much waste exists. In 2012, an increase in natural gas, solar panels, and wind turbines were used to generate electricity.

Because of sustained low prices and technology advances, natural gas has become a strong substitute for coal as an energy source. The rise in the renewables, solar and wind, also has to do with decreasing costs of electricity-producing panels and turbines. Overall, U.S. energy use fell by 2 percent from 2011.

Check out the Laboratory’s flowchart, and see how the sources are represented!


For the full article linked to the Laboratory’s flowchart and more facts about the data, VISIT HERE. 

Energy4me provides in-depth detail about each energy source in a comparison chart. See the pros and cons, challenges, and conservation efforts of each one HERE. 


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Energy Drives Canada, Energy BOT Squad

Canada is home to many oil and gas resources and an abundance of energy education enthusiasts. Energy4me held teacher workshops in Canada in 2012 and have plans to hold similar type events in 2013! 

We came across a pretty cool resource we wanted to share with you: The Energy BOT Squad! Powered by the Centre for Energy, The Energy BOT Squad is 10 BOTS, one for every major energy source in the country. With these members of Canada’s Energy BOT Squad, you can discover how they power your home, your car, your city and your life! 

PICK A BOT and learn details about solar, oil, gas, coal, geothermal and more!



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