Dr. Quinta Nwanosike Warren is the Founder and CEO of Engineering Research Consulting, LLC., and the author of the book A Practical Guide to Oil & Gas Resource Characterization For Geologists and Reservoir Engineers. She is currently working as an AAAS Fellow with the Millenium Challenge Corporation and has served as Director of Professional Education at the Dakar American University of Science and Technology.
Having a career plan is certainly a great idea to implement. Defining a goal will help to bring focus and accountability which can provide momentum to a career track. Sometimes life can offer a curveball, however. After planning on going to medical school, Dr. Quinta Warren was offered an opportunity in the oil and gas industry. Despite the fact it operated outside of her goals, she saw the great opportunity and took it, forever altering her professional life.
Dr. Warren earned her PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She completed her undergraduate degree at Penn State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. It was at the former where she first met representatives from ConocoPhillips which set her on her career track.
What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks
[1:03] Introduction and background for Dr. Quinta Nwanosike
[3:19] What attracted Quinta to policymaking positions
[5:16] The internship that started Dr. Warren’s career
[8:52] Techniques for communicating complex scientific ideas to the general public
[14:25] How to navigate career changes
[19:21] What makes a good mentor, and how to be a good mentee
[24:26] Lessons that Dr. Warren find most valuable
[27:35] Keys to success in the workplace
Connect with Dr. Quinta Nwanosike
Internships can open up unplanned opportunities
Gaining experience is how we grow in our professional life. The most difficult aspect of starting out in a new career is the inherent lack of experience in a chosen field. Internships are a fantastic way to get valuable experience and gain the knowledge needed to grow. They are also a natural way to develop a personal network of contacts.
Dr. Warren had just such an opportunity in the second year of her PhD program at Georgia Tech. She was tasked with running a symposium that brought together industry professionals together with graduate students looking for internships. The delegation from ConocoPhillips was so impressed with how well her event was run that they offered her an internship on the spot. Even though she had not planned on working in the oil and gas industry, she accepted the offer. As Quinta points out in the interview, it was not what she had originally envisioned for her career track, but she seized an opportunity when it came to her.
Mentorship is a two-way street
Having a mentor can be a life-changing relationship. The opportunity to interface with people who have walked the path before is immensely valuable. It is important to find a mentor who is the right fit for you and your goals. They should have the skills and knowledge you wish to learn, but being comfortable with them is equally important, as Dr. Warren points out. But mentorship is a two-way street, and what it takes to be an ideal mentoree is often overlooked.
What are the ideal traits to have for those who wish to find a good mentor? As Dr. Warren speaks about in this episode, wasting your mentor’s time is not a good idea. Being open and clear about what will be needed from them is also important. No one will want to be a mentor for someone who they feel has wasted their time or has not been upfront or truthful.
Learn more about Dr. Quinta Nwanosike and her professional life on this week’s episode of When Science Speaks.
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