Early Career Profile Network

Early Career Profiles:
Recent bachelors-level graduates in the mathematical sciences


  • Name: Kristen Gilbert
  • Undergraduate school: Northeastern State University
  • Position: Engineering Technician
  • Company: Newfield Exploration
  • Industry Sector: Manufacturing

What she does:

  •  Kristen Gilbert is an Engineering Technician for Newfield Exploration.  She has held this position for about eight months and worked for Vintage Petroleum for eight months before this job.  Her job involves database maintenance, forecast production for gas and/ or oil wells, tracking production, and compiling data for reserves calculation and reporting.

Math on the job:  

  • Kristen says that, in general, algebra and statistics are needed to do her job, but most of all she relies on her reasoning skills that were developed through mathematics.  Kristen finds comparing production on wells very interesting.  She says she has to take into account how much water was injected to get the well flowing as well as how long the water was in the rock to determine if a well will be considered productive.

Kristen’s background:

  •  Kristen graduated Northeastern State University with a degree in Mathematics in May 2005.  While her company has no formal prerequisites for the job, they were looking for someone with a math or science degree.  She feels she uses statistics, number theory, and algebra to do her job well.  “These aren’t necessarily “needed” for the job; I just find the skills come in handy.”  Other skills that she thinks are important include reasoning skills and deciding how data is best represented.  Having a familiarity with computer software such as Microsoft office, and ARIES (well database program) are also important for the job.  She says “there aren’t a lot a Math majors in the field, but I know a few, and all technicians tend to be more analytical thinkers.”


Advice for students:

  •  Her advice to high school or college students considering majoring in mathematics: “Mathematics is an awesome choice.  Math will help you, whether directly or indirectly, in most fields.  It amazes me how much I can tie back to my mathematics background.”