Today we would like to introduce Emma Straughan, Petroleum Geochemist & UK HSE Coordinator at APT UK. Miss. Straughan has been with APT since 2008 after completing her Master's in Petroleum Geochemistry at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. During her time in the field, Mrs. Straughan has gained valuable experience working on both single-client and regional multi-client reports in the UK, NW Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
What sparked your interest in geochemistry, and what are you most passionate about?
To be honest, I fell into geochemistry by chance.
I originally intended to join the army, but the night I was scheduled to speak with the recruitment officer, they were out sick. That evening I saw an advertisement for the Petroleum Geochemistry course at Newcastle University, thought it looked interesting, and haven’t looked back since.
Tell us a bit about your role at APT and what you do day-to-day.
I tend to do a little bit of everything. Report writing and interpretation, sample preparation and storage, optical maturity, and databasing. I am also the Health and Safety representative at the UK offices, so I’m also involved with the ISO standards.
Work days are usually never the same. One day you’re looking at data, and the next, you’re grinding down samples to be sent to the labs; I have found myself spending a week inputting data into a database and then the following going through boxes of samples, looking for the best samples for vitrinite reflectivity.
During your time at APT, what has been your most memorable experience/project and why?
There hasn’t been one memorable project, but there have been moments from a number of different projects which all add up to create a collection of memorable experiences. One such example is the first multi-client you get to work on or when your name appears on a final report to a client.
Is there any advice you would give students looking to build a career in geochemistry?
Make sure you spend time in the preparation lab and try to involve yourself in the sample preparation of your projects from the beginning. I say this because there’s nothing worse than having to look back and wonder why the data quality is bad on a sample and finding it should never have been analyzed to begin with.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming months? (personal and work-related)
At work, I’m looking forward to what new projects will be coming in and what new things I can learn, such as developing my Girasol skill set.
At home, I’m looking forward to planning our family’s first holiday with my son and seeing how he develops in preschool.
Outside of work, what is your favorite pastime and why?
I like exploring a lot of historical sites (we have an abundance of castles in Wales), I have always been fascinated with history and how we have advanced (or not) over the years. Now with a toddler, I find myself outside in all weathers exploring everything.
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