Carol Avery is a geologist in the Production Geology Department of Chevron U.S.A. in the New Orleans office. She was attracted to earth science because it dealt with the outdoors. Her first contact with earth science was her childhood best friend who used to collect and tumble rocks. The summer before 12th grade she took introductory geology at a junior college and decided she wanted to be an earth scientist. She earned a B.S. degree in geology at the University of South Carolina-Columbia with a minor in mathematics and then a M.S. degree in geology at the University of Texas-Austin. Almost all oil companies require that earth scientists have earned a M.S. degree.
Her speciality is Petroleum Geology which she did not study much in school but learned on the job. She chose petroleum geology because she knew oil companies employed many geologists and that the job would be exciting, challenging and well paid. She and her colleagues try to find gas and oil by looking at data from the Earth and making a believable model or story of where the gas and oil might be found. To do this they draw maps of what is down in the earth based on different kinds of geologic data. Carol learned how to make these maps through on-the-job training and various short schools that her company sends her to, both in-house and out of town.
Although she works in the office most of the time, Carol has had the opportunity to go offshore onto many rigs that were drilling oil and gas wells. She works with engineers, draftspeople and many different types of people. In her work she uses trigonometry and geometry almost every day. She regularly writes short reports and memos and gives informal presentations to both co-workers and supervisors. Some basic business knowledge is also helpful, but what you don't know you can usually pick up on the job.
Carol got married when she finished her master's degree just before she started work for Chevron. She and her husband are expecting their first child in the summer of 1991 and Carol plans to return to work full-time after having the baby. She says that balancing family life and a career can be difficult at times but it is definitely possible and well worth the effort. Understanding and listening are very important qualities, as are being flexible and open-minded. She doesn't feel that you must choose between career and family; if you want both in your life you can work out a balance to satisfy everyone.
She advises you to take English, math, chemistry and physics classes. They will give you a good head start in college. Communication and problem-solving skills are very important. The geosciences have many, many different specialities, so explore as much as possible and see what strikes your fancy for they are all fascinating!