WOGCC Engineer Sabrina Hamner was a featured presenter at the recent Women in STEM conference. 

Now in its 15th year, the conference is hosted by Wyoming Youth in STEM, a non-profit organization aimed at introducing science, technology, engineering, and math to the youth of Wyoming.  The annual event is held at the Central Wyoming College and this year was for young women throughout the state in grades 7 to 12.   

Working on the presentation with Sabrina (far right in picture) were three other industry professionals from Casper:  Geologists Mike and Marron Bingle-Davis on the left, and Drilling Engineer Julie Cruse in the middle. Together they formed three stations that featured several hands-on activities for the students. Each station represented a different phase of oil and gas exploration, development, and production that occur throughout Wyoming’s operations. 

Station I simulated reservoir fluids of varying densities undergoing different fluid behaviors as they migrated up the wellbore and reached the surface.  Four jars with six household fluids of different densities and viscosities gave a representation of what hydrocarbon fluids look like in reservoirs with different contacts between each fluid.  The students were asked to shake the jars to replicate fluid turbidity and turbulence as it leaves the reservoir and begins to mix as it moves up the wellbore.  Separation of fluids, high and low-pressure separators and rock and sands dropping out of fluids when they go through production facilities were replicated by dropping nails, corks and scrabble game pieces in the jars.  It demonstrated what takes place before selling pure, separated hydrocarbons.   

Station II displayed core samples and oil samples from different reservoirs and fields in Wyoming.   Oils with varying density and API gravities provided a visual of the different types of commodities that are sold in the state.  The core samples also demonstrated the different types of rocks that have porosity and permeability variations such as sandstones, shales, lava, and tight sands with natural fractures. 

Past and present-day tools and equipment used in the fields of Wyoming by operators to ensure their wells function optimally were on display along with showing the students how to identify sands off of well logs and to interpret these logs to know what the earth holds thousands of feet below us.  

Station III showed students how to build cross sections from cupcakes.  Each cupcake was made with three colors of batter. 

The yellow batter represented high-quality reservoir rock with oil shows; the green was shale or a confining layer that basically was nonproductive.  The pink represented a wet oil or lesser quality reservoir.  Each of the students was given a straw that acted as their drill bit.  They would “drill” down and pull cores out of their cupcakes to see the various type of rock and to see which students hit oil and which ones did not. 

Sabrina has been involved in the STEM program since high school when she attended what was then called the Women in Science conference.  She later went on to receive a STEM scholarship which was applied toward paying for secondary education.   Years later, when contacted by Wyoming Youth With STEM to be a presenter, she felt this was an opportunity to pay it forward.  “This conference is a great way to share your knowledge and encourage women by being an inspiration. It provides a dynamic opportunity to show young women that they can be active in the oil and gas industry and that there are many different niches that they can do,” stated Sabrina.  She noted that people encouraged her to study the technical sciences in college and thereafter when she was in high school and that she wants to do the same now for other kids.

For more information Wyoming Youth in Stem please visit their website at www.wyyouthinstem.org