Black HERstory | Inspire and Be Inspired
Public Affairs Specialist
Office of Communications
For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated the achievements and contributions of African Americans during the month of February - and every month of the year. I remember sitting around the dining room table with my parents and having them ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This sparked the beginning of lengthy debates about my career choice, where I would attend college, and how I would become what I wanted to be. But the most important question that I remember is “Who inspired your decision?”
What I did not know at the time was that my path would one day lead me to work as a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE). When I first arrived at DOE, I did not know what to expect. I was nervous about so many things and had many questions. I immediately scheduled introductory meetings with leaders and subject matter experts and enthusiastically began working on assigned projects.
I met Sheneé Turner, Director of the Office of Petroleum Reserves, during an introductory meeting at DOE. I think I arrived late because I did not know my way around the building and was constantly getting lost. When I finally arrived, she greeted me with a big smile and an enthusiastic “Welcome to FE!” We talked for about 30 minutes, and I left the meeting absolutely blown away by her knowledge, generosity, and candid spirit. I am inspired by Sheneé’s perseverance, hard work, and the support she gives to her colleagues and community.
Natenna Dobson is a force to be reckoned with. She is an International Energy Analyst and Physical Scientist in FE’s Office of Oil and Natural Gas and manages the Africa, Americas and Middle East portfolios for FE. I had the opportunity to work with Natenna during Africa Oil Week. As you might imagine, this is quite an undertaking, but Natenna handled it with precision. The event was very successful and prominently displayed FE’s capabilities to the global oil industry. I am inspired by Natenna’s impact on our industry and her very hard work.
Please welcome the newest member of FE’s Office of Oil and Natural Gas, Jennifer Wade. Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer face-to-face, my virtual interactions with her have been nothing but positive. Jennifer is the Director of the Division of Natural Gas Regulation in the Office of Oil and Natural Gas, where she manages natural gas regulations, oversees processing applications to import or export natural gas, and prepares procedural orders. I am inspired by Jennifer’s knowledge and determination. I look forward to working with her and cannot wait to meet her.
Although I set out to meet my colleagues and get answers to my many questions, I got so much more. These phenomenal women have inspired me during my time at DOE. Their inspiration and the inspiration of countless others fuels my determination to excel and make a difference.
As a young child, I did not know where my path would lead me. I am sure Kamala Harris did not know that she would one day be the first female, first African American and first Asian American United States Vice President. But we all have hopes and dreams!
If you have ever been to my office, you know that I have a gallery of portraits of #WomenInSTEM. Yet, if I put a portrait of every African American or woman on my wall who has inspired me to be the person I am today, I would need a much bigger office.
I continue to look for inspiration from others and hope that I might inspire someone else along the way.
Create your own gallery. Download the Women in STEM Posters here.