Friday, February 19, 2016

SBISD Students Dine and Network with BP Female Professionals

Nearly 70 Spring Branch ISD sophomores recently joined 22 professionals from BP’s Women’s Wells Association for an evening of conversation, networking and mentorship.

Part of an SBISD program titled Dinner with the Experts, the evening was sponsored by the Women’s Wells Association and designed to provide female students with access to professionals in order to improve their understanding of career opportunities in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

The BP Women’s Well Association, an internal network of women who work in BP’s global wells organization, promotes recruitment, retention and progression of females in STEM disciplines.

The SBISD students were selected by campus administrators based on a demonstrated promise in the STEM fields and represented each of SBISD’s five high schools.

The evening began with open networking and the opportunity for students to have their picture taken against a backdrop of a BP oil rig. As the dinner bell rang, students were seated at tables with two BP “experts” they had requested to meet after having read the professionals’ biographies.

Over dinner, students and the BP professionals engaged in conversations around what a day in the life of their profession is like, what advice the BP women have for students around course selection and extracurricular involvement, and what steps the professionals have taken to emerge as leaders in their respective fields.

BP’s Barbara Lasley, well superintendent for the Mad Dog platform in the Gulf of Mexico and the only female superintendent of a BP well, keynoted the evening.

Lasley’s message to students highlighted the range of career possibilities in the STEM fields, the projected increase in the demand for STEM positions, the power of personal strength and the importance of community from within one’s professional network – particularly for women.

She reflected on her life raised by a single mother and the pride she has for being the first in her family to graduate from college.

“The life I have lived because I chose a STEM career has been amazing,” she said.

From international travel to professional growth opportunities, Lasley encouraged girls to push themselves and to walk through any door that opens for them. “It’s limitless what you can do, where you can go and who you can meet,” she said.

Lasley encouraged the students to work together as women, not against each other. “You will be stronger together,” she said, thanking the BP Women in Wells Association members for their support as she advanced to become the only BP female well superintendent in the world.

As the evening came to a close, students had the opportunity to share their takeaways with the room.

“[I have learned] there are so many options and opportunities,” one Spring Woods High School student said. “All I have to do is look for them.”

Another student said the evening helped her understand “the only obstacles you will face are the ones you create for yourself.”

Thanking the SBISD students for their poise and professionalism, the BP women handed out business cards and encouraged the girls to keep in touch. The exchange mirrored Lasley’s reminder to build and lean on the network you create.

Business card in hand, one student smiled as she walked out of the room knowing she was now a part of the BP women’s professional network, and they a part of hers.

To learn more about sponsoring a Dinner with the Experts event, contact

Abby Walker
Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Volunteer Programs or 713.251.2289


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