Even as a young girl, I had an interest in how things work and how to put items together. In high school, I had a great science teacher who recommended me for a state college science camp. The camp exposed me to different aspects of a career in science and technology as well as what life was like on a college campus. After taking my first college chemistry course, I began exploring opportunities that were available with a degree in chemical engineering. Petrochemicals, refining, environmental, pharmaceuticals, and food were just a few of the fields that needed chemical engineers. My college internship was at a refinery where I learned the importance of a safety culture and the organization’s behaviors that supported that culture. Little did I know at that time that my career would be grounded in those elements of process safety.
I am often asked what I do for a living, and my response is: “I help operating facilities and the people working within them work safer.” It seems like a logical way of engineering, but process safety is complex and essential for all industries. As a process safety engineer, you must understand all kinds of processes to protect people, the environment, and property. We analyze what can happen with components within the vessels, pipes and machines from multiple factors—human error, weather, mechanical failures—and we engineer layers of protection to prevent those factors. At Siemens Energy, our core values are centered around energizing society by being open and inclusive and leveraging our differences to innovate for better solutions, and that is especially true in the work I do.
As I have built my career as an engineer, the coaching and guidance I’ve received from colleagues and mentors have provided the building blocks for me to succeed. I have worked in many atmospheres throughout my career and have learned that being adaptable to different circumstances and personalities is key to growing and expanding your experiences. I now lead a diverse team of process safety engineers that are located all over the world, servicing customers across the globe. Incorporating different ideas and input from my team to come up with a solution for our customers gives me a true sense of accomplishment.