Native Tulsan Miranda Dunham is using her talents, drive and opportunities to create the life of her dreams. From a young age she felt what she calls a “click” with mathematics. The subject was a good fit with her solutions-oriented thinking. These days she’s finding solutions and personal fulfillment as a petroleum engineer in Oklahoma.
Dunham decided to pursue an engineering degree after touring the University of Tulsa. Graduating with only two other women in the department, Dunham was keenly aware she was entering a male-dominated field. But confidence in her abilities and optimism for future opportunities propelled her forward.
“You’ve just got to have the courage to know you can do it,” she said. “I would encourage any young girl with an interest in STEM to pursue it.”
Dunham’s enthusiasm for the oil and natural gas industry is evident. She’s quick to point out Oklahoma’s current standings in national energy contributions.
“It’s a sense of pride for me. We’re third in natural gas production, and fourth in oil production in the United States,” she notes. “It’s a huge revenue stream for our state, it funds different education programs and provides the power we need in our everyday lives.”
The current SCOOP and STACK plays in Oklahoma are producing more than vital energy for our state and nation, they’re creating interest among younger generations to consider oil and natural gas as a career path. Dunham notes the nationally-respected petroleum programs at Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma and her alma mater, the University of Tulsa.
“These top-rated schools have some awesome petroleum-related areas of study,” she said. “They’re producing students who will be wonderful employees that help this industry and add value to our state.”
Dunham finds her role at Bravo Natural Resources LLC rewarding, as it allows for the variety and independence she needs to thrive.
“On any given day I could be dealing with a pipeline, a well or service facility. I’m able to wear multiple hats and I really enjoy that,” she said. “I’ve been given flexibility to do projects the way I think, and the authority to handle them on my own.”
The ever-evolving technology used within the industry requires Dunham to constantly be learning and applying new advancements. She welcomes the challenge.
“It keeps my mind busy. Not only is our industry at the forefront of technology, we’re helping create technology that’s being used to advance other industries,” she notes. “It’s also added an element of safety. Technology allows us to model what is below ground, make modifications and take precautions for whatever we might encounter.”
Dunham also takes pride in the oil and natural gas industry’s commitment to protecting the environment.
“Many people don’t realize there are so many rules and regulations in our industry to keep people and the environment safe and many companies take these measures even further,” she explained. “The people working in this industry care about the environment. They’re good people who want to live and raise their kids in a world that is clean and safe.”
When presented with opportunities to use her experience and expertise in other states, Dunham chose to stay in Oklahoma. Being close to her family and friends is a top priority, but she also feels her work here is part of a bigger contribution.
“We’re doing something important. Oklahoma’s production is helping the United States, which is now one of the only countries able to export oil and natural gas. We’re making an impact on the world,” she said. “If I could go back in time, there’s no other career I’d choose.”
Discover more stories of Oklahoma millennials making a difference at EnergyHQ.com.