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Shauna Noonan generously established an endowed scholarship to provide financial support for petroleum engineering students. | Image: Courtesy of Shauna Noonan
Shauna Noonan recently established the Shauna Noonan Petroleum Engineering Endowed Scholarship - Honoring Women in the Petroleum Engineering Industry. Distributions from this endowment will be used to provide one or more scholarships to full-time students in good standing who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.
 
Noonan is a petroleum engineering graduate from the University of Alberta in Canada. During her time there, she was fortunate to receive scholarships similar to the one she endowed to help alleviate the financial burden of attending college. She was proud to know she was able to help pay her way through her college journey and has always dreamed of paying it forward once she became established in her own career.
 
Why did she choose Texas A&M? Unfortunately, the University of Alberta’s petroleum program has changed considerably since Noonan was a student and no longer has its own petroleum engineering department. Many universities around the world have begun reshaping their programs away from the petroleum industry. Noonan wanted to present her endowment to a school that would have a strong petroleum department for decades to come.
 
“I’ve been in a bit of a quandary for probably the last five years as to where I even want to (endow) the scholarship,” Noonan said.
 
After researching and weighing her options for scholarship recipient locations, Noonan made her final decision after attending a Texas A&M petroleum engineering department former student event. Noonan spoke to many former students and learned more about the culture of Texas A&M Engineering, but the one person that solidified her decision was department head, Dr. Jeff Spath. 
 
“(Spath) ended his talk by saying that as long as he is around, Texas A&M’s petroleum department will be the last one standing,” Noonan said. “That was when I had the epiphany that I now know the home of where I want to establish my scholarship.”
 
Noonan intends for this scholarship to not only alleviate the financial burden students may endure but also to promote champions of gender diversity in the petroleum industry. Thus, Noonan has designated this scholarship for those involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) program.
 
“Whether you’re male or female, being involved as a student in SWE makes you aware of several things. If you’re female, how to best set yourself up on a great career trajectory. If you’re male, how to not only be a better collaborator but understand some of the unique issues that women in this industry have,” Noonan said.
 
Noonan did not have many women role models in her early career. Due to this, some of her biggest supporters and most influential mentors have been men that understand working women. She believes that the increased inclusion of women in oil and gas will be more beneficial for future generations and will encourage women to step outside of stereotypically female roles.
 
“I had few female role models available to me. I had to create my own doors of opportunity,” Noonan said.
 
Even after her role as the 2020 SPE president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Noonan still travels globally with work and speaking at industry events. Through the years, she has become confident in her position in the petroleum industry and has developed traits needed to succeed in her career, inspiring fellow women engineers to do the same.
 
“A lot of that is realizing those traits in myself, which has motivated me to seek opportunities,” Noonan said. “I try to instill these traits into my two daughters, allowing them to enter the workforce more self-aware than I was.”

How to Give

Endowments supporting students in the College of Engineering have an immeasurable impact on their education. If you are interested in supporting the College of Engineering and its departments or would like more information on how you can give, please contact Kelly Corcoran, senior director of development.