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MSES Student Profile: Katie O'Shea

November 17, 2021
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Katie O'Shea
Katie O'Shea

Katie O’Shea joined the Master of Science in Energy and Sustainability (MSES) program to learn to create strategic solutions for companies transitioning from fossil to sustainable energy. She previously worked in global project management as a project engineer in the oil and gas industry and joined the MSES program to pivot her career. Her goal is to combine these knowledge areas into her future career.

O’Shea graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2010 with a BS in Industrial Engineering and Management, focusing on systems engineering and project management. Hailing from “small town Oklahoma” where everyone worked in oil and gas, O’Shea combined her passion for energy and engineering, developing her 11 year career in oil and gas project management for large upstream capital projects. While it was very fulfilling, she says she feels compelled to re-focus her efforts on making a lasting impact with the energy transition.

O’Shea is pleased that she has already gained new knowledge and expertise from her peers in the MSES cohort. She notes that “I've worked with the same company for 11 years, which is great, but there tends to be groupthink going on.” She was drawn to the diverse perspectives the MSES program offers, through varying work backgrounds, ages, and specialties of her peers.

O’Shea herself holds a diverse range of interests. She is concerned with the technology side of energy and sustainability and is auditing MSES energy technology classes in addition to her specialization courses in Energy and Sustainable Finance, which explore the underlying economic and financial mechanisms for energy and sustainability growth. “The MSES program is really broad and covers many important topics, which I've found really great. We have policy, the finance and economic side, technology, and then sustainability overall,” she says. She hopes to use this knowledge to pivot into a more strategic role in her future career, either focusing on companies’ energy transition between oil and gas to more sustainable sources, or how oil and gas companies might introduce carbon capture systems to reduce their carbon footprint. Her experience in the oil and gas industry gives her an intimate understanding of companies’ strong relationship to their energy sources, and how to best introduce a new one, based on modern sustainable technology. Her experience in the MSES Energy and Sustainable Finance specialization is providing her with the knowledge and skills to move an organization toward sustainable practices, whether it be in oil and gas or renewables.

The MSES program originally appealed to O’Shea because it is focused on the big picture, and allows for “a well-rounded education, and to be equipped and competent to go out in the world and get a job in any field related to energy or sustainability.” She was looking for a way to break out of her comfort zone and find a better fit in her career and education, finding it in the MSES program. She notes, “People keep asking me, how am I enjoying school, and I always reply, I'm loving every bit of it.”