Anna Shaughnessy

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Anna Shaughnessy
BSc university University of Gothenburg
MSc university Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anna Shaughnessy received her undergraduate from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and her MSc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her industry career started as a geophysical interpreter and quickly moved to management of technical teams within the energy industry. She has held leadership roles in exploration and advanced technology at Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Texaco, and Kerr-McGee. After 30 years in the energy industry, she transitioned to the academic sector. In 2011, she became the executive director of MIT’s Earth Resources Laboratory (ERL). She retired from ERL in 2018 and is currently a consultant. Shaughnessy and her husband, Dan, are both geophysicists and have lived and worked in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Scandinavia. They successfully managed six relocations with employment opportunities for both in each new location.

Shaughnessy will become President-Elect of the SEG Board at the Annual Meeting in October 2020. Until then, she is the vice chair of the SEG Foundation Board (SEGF). The SEGF supports many of the SEG student programs and actively raises funds for existing and future programs. She also has served on many SEG teams including as secretary/treasurer for the Executive Committee and on the Women’s Network Committee. In 2019, Shaughnessy acted as interim executive director for SEG for three months while SEG was searching for a new leader. Mentoring young scientists has been a life-long passion for Shaughnessy. She thrives on sharing her enthusiasm for science and technology and guiding others in directions that suit their particular talents and interests. Her wide work experience has offered her a great appreciation of the role of geophysics during the past 40 years. Her unique background and experience provides her with unusual insights into the role of applied geophysics in industry, academia, and society today and in years to come. Shaughnessy is a member of AAPG, AGU and EAGE.

2020 SEG Honorary Lecturer, North America

Developing a successful career in geophysics today

Summaryː Career opportunities in geophysics are changing. Until recently, most geophysicists were hired by the oil and gas industry and worked in acquisition, processing, or interpretation of seismic data. This is no longer true, and today’s students need to be aware of emerging areas in geophysics and how to best prepare in order to be competitive in their chosen subfield. There is the traditional coursework to consider as well as many specialized courses. Artificial intelligence, drone technology, and carbon capture and sequestration are just a few examples of topics that are of increasing interest to society today.

Shaughnessy will discuss emerging areas of geophysics and what is needed to be competitive in each particular field. Successfully completing the geophysics requirement is clearly key for finding a job in geophysics. Extracurricular activities can make your CV stand out from others whether you are opting for a career in industry or academia. Prospective employers will notice achievements such as taking on leadership roles in local geophysical chapters, presenting at geoscience conferences, and completing an internship.

Finding the first job is clearly the first big step. Once employed, the early-career professional needs to understand the importance of proactively navigating his or her path to a successful career. Shaughnessy will review topics such as networking, finding a mentor, being a true team player, and expanding your skills beyond geophysics.

Dual-career families are the norm in today’s world. It presents challenges as well as wonderful opportunities. Shaughnessy will share some practical advice on how to balance your own career, support your spouse’s career, and raise a family.

A recording of the lecture is available.[1]

Listen to Anna discuss her lecture in Developing a successful career in geophysics today with Anna Shaughnessy, Episode 96[2] of Seismic Soundoff, in-depth conversations in applied geophysics.

SEG Life Membership 2017

Anna C. Shaughnessy has been nominated for Life Membership due to her extensive volunteer and leadership participation within SEG over many years of dedication and commitment to elevate the Society to new heights. Her efforts have increased in recent years as she firmly believes that volunteering for SEG is a way to give back to those that supported her in her career, as well as to help propel the younger generation of geophysicists forward, a much cherished objective of hers.

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2017 [3]

by Maria Angela Capello

Anna C. Shaughnessy is a multiterrain successful professional. Having received her MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1980, she spent her career developing initiatives for academia, research, and especially the oil and gas industry, spanning her efforts in several organizations, on three continents. She started out as a geophysical interpreter, but very soon her natural leadership and mentoring skills catapulted her to leading roles, something she enjoyed more than being a single contributor. Her contributions in this early phase were multiple in the areas of oil and gas exploration, technology development, and deployment of new technological advances at the pilot and full-field scales. A truly multicultural person, Anna’s career reflects a plural perspective, having resided in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Scandinavia and worked extensively on project teams in Australia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and Brazil. During her industry years, she worked for Mobil Oil, Saudi Aramco, Texaco, and Kerr-McGee/Anadarko.

The academic sector benefitted from Anna’s experience and insightful viewpoints in 2011, when she became the executive director for the Earth Resources Laboratory at MIT in Cambridge, one of the most prolific research centers with worldwide- renowned prestige.

Anna’s drive toward success and her ability to thrive in academic and corporate environments are a result of a systematic approach to work, coupled with gracious handling of the human aspects of business and professional relationships. Anna’s extensive volunteering for SEG is impressive, and a few highlights help me underpin her effectiveness on key initiatives of our Society, where she used her strategic vision, commitment, systematic approach, and personal touch to achieve goals of high impact:

  • SEG Foundation Board and Finance Committee (2014 to present)
  • Women’s Network Committee, Advisory Council (2014 to present)
  • Women’s Network Committee
  • SEG Executive Committee, Secretary/Treasurer (one year)
  • SEG Finance Committee (six years)
  • SEG Global Inc. Board (three years)
  • SEG/SEAM Audit Committee (three years)
  • SEG Foundation Campaign (one year)

Few people combine the qualities required to become a role model like Anna does: resilience, multiculturalism, knowledge, communicational ability, mentoring capacity, natural leadership, and true caring. This award is extremely well deserved for Anna, especially as it will highlight her as a natural role model for current and future generations of geoscientists and researchers all over the world.


External links

MIT Earth Resources Lab

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Anna Shaughnessy
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