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Casey O’Brien, Geological Sciences Alumni Advisory Board Member

Casey O’Brien, portrait outdoors
Casey O’Brien

Ohio University B.S. Geology '14, The University of Texas at Austin M.S. Geology '16

I grew up in Stark County, Ohio, about a three-hour drive from Ohio University. The route to Athens was one that I knew well, even before my freshman year, as I frequented Ohio University Homecomings with my alumni parents, aunt and uncle, and their college friends. OHIO was the only choice for me, and I showed up in the fall of 2010 undecided in my major, but quickly found geology as the perfect intersection between science, art, and the outdoors.

After some quick research into job prospects in the oil industry and being told I could spend two more years in college for a master’s degree, I was sold. From there on I had a wonderful four years in the Geology Department, learning fundamentals and spending late nights in the old geology building, Clippinger Laboratories, and occasionally 18 W. Union St.

I was afforded many opportunities during my time in the department, including attending field camp at the Yellow Bighorn Research Association in Montana, traveling across the U.S. to national parks on an alumni-sponsored Sigma Gamma Epsilon trip, being a member of geology club, and completing a senior thesis in geophysics with Dr. Douglas Green; for all of which I am very grateful.

After graduating from Ohio University, I moved to Texas and completed a master’s program in geology at the University of Texas at Austin. I was a graduate research assistant in the Bureau of Economic Geology and Fracture Research and Application Consortium and had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the San Rafael Swell of Utah, studying deformation bands in Jurassic eolian sandstones. During my master’s program, I learned more about petroleum geology and the energy industry, as well as how to use a scanning electron microscope, and why everyone loves Austin, Texas, so much. I also met my husband, Mason, who is a geophysicist and works in climate science consulting.

I interned at ConocoPhillips in their Eagle Ford asset in 2015 before coming to work for Shell Oil full time in 2016. My first job at Shell was working as a sedimentary petrology and reservoir quality specialist for three years. I spent a lot of time in the lab behind a microscope interpreting cores from a variety of wells and depositional systems across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, South America, and offshore Africa. In 2019 I moved into the Upstream Deepwater Exploration business in the Gulf of Mexico — my current role. On a day-to-day basis, I do seismic interpretation and create maps of the subsurface to find hydrocarbons, evaluate the potential value of prospects to Shell’s portfolio, and plan and drill frontier exploration wells.

I am fortunate to be in my career and have been helped tremendously by OHIO geology alumni along the way to get here, so for that reason and many others, I am very excited to participate as a member of the alumni board to support the department and help students and new alumni to successful careers. I am also passionate about fundraising to provide scholarships for studies and field camp endeavors. Let’s connect!