BP engineers refine career paths for WISE students


Danielle Gaines (12), Taylor Duffy (12) and Megan Gabe (12) listen to engineers explain how oil is converted into usable gasoline for cars. Students in WISE were introduced to female engineers on their trip to the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind. Photo submitted by: Madelyn Ackerman (12)

Cassidy Niewiadomski, Author

WISE spent its first field trip at BP’s oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., on Friday, Oct. 2. The group was introduced to female engineers and given a bus tour of the plant, along with explanations about how crude oil can be drilled from the ground and converted into usable gasoline for cars.

“The most interesting part of the trip was how much I related to those people who were just coming out of engineering school. I was so excited to see that someone who was in my place a few years ago was actually an accomplished engineer at BP,” Duaa Hijaz (12) said.

Throughout the day, engineers shared that although their job at BP is often stressful and at times dangerous, the work they do is satisfying because they get to apply their knowledge in a challenging setting every day.

“I think for a lot of career choices, what you take in college or what you take in school don’t necessarily come up with your job. I think that’s really awesome how in engineering, everything they learned was applied in their job, so that they were practicing what they were learning,” Hijaz said.

Apart from describing what a typical day at the refinery entails for BP’s engineers, college and career advice was also shared during the trip.  

“Something that inspired me was when they mentioned that it didn’t really matter what major you went into because college was just there for learning how to think and how to process information. It was less there to stick to and know what you were going to do for the rest of your life, and it was OK not to know. It was nice to know that people who wanted to go into different things ended up in engineering and they were fine with it, so I know that I don’t have to be stuck on a certain thing. I can always branch out. I have options,” Allissa Aardema (12) said.