Career Paths in Geophysics

This webinar will include panelists from very diverse backgrounds who will discuss their own unique experiences related to their career paths and answer questions submitted by the attendees.

Speaker Bios

Katja Akentieva

Katja Akentieva graduated with a Master’s degree in Geophysics from Moscow State University and was lucky enough to practice it around the world on seismic vessels owned by Schlumberger. A few decades later she is leading the charge as the Vice President for New Ventures and Business Development for TGS, establishing innovative ways to apply geophysics in the alternative energy business. She is as excited today as she was when she started this journey and is very optimistic about what the future holds for geophysics and its applications.

Maria Angela Capello

Maria Angela Capello is a renowned leader in the energy sector, working as an executive in Kuwait Oil Company. Author of two books, she was the first woman to supervise seismic crews in the jungles of Venezuela, to advance a career that spans three continents. She was knighted as “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (Order of the Star of Italy) by the President of the Italian Republic, and received the highest SPE award, the Honorary Membership Award. She is SEG Director at Large 2019-2021 and has chaired the WNC twice. She is a Physicist from the Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela), a M.Sc. of the Colorado School of Mines (USA), and is certified in coaching and marketing.

Dr. Jeffrey Shragge

Dr. Jeffrey Shragge is an Associate Professor in the Geophysics Department at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in Golden, CO, is a co-PI of the Center for Wave Phenomena (CWP) industrial research consortium, and is the current Editor-in-Chief of GEOPHYSICS. Prior to arriving at CSM in July 2017, he was an Associate Professor and the Woodside Professor of Computational Geoscience in the School of Earth Sciences and the School of Physics at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, WA, Australia. Dr. Shragge leads a research group focusing on computational applications of full wavefield modeling, imaging and inversion of earth materials for problems related to hydrocarbon exploration and production including microseismicity, CO2 sequestration, and near-surface hydrogeophysics. He holds a BScH degree in Physics from Queen’s University, a MSc degree in Geophysics (Earthquake Seismology) from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in Geophysics (Exploration Seismology) from Stanford University.

Dr. Blair Schneider

Dr. Blair Schneider is an Associate Researcher and Science Outreach Manager for the Kansas Geological Survey in Lawrence, KS. She received her PhD and MS in Geophysics from the University of Kansas and her BS in Geology from James Madison University. Dr. Schneider’s geophysics research is focused on the application of near-surface geophysics to address archaeological and forensic problems. An additional component of her research is focused on STEM education, in particular broadening participation in STEM and the geosciences. She is currently a co-PI of the NSF-funded ADVANCEGeo project and was the 2019 winner of the SEG Special Commendation Award.


Dr. Ellie Ardakani

Dr. Ellie Ardakani is a geoscientist by training, a high-tech entrepreneur by occupation, and marketing enthusiast by heart. She is a cofounder and CEO of Meta, an AI analytics and training software company based in Ottawa, Canada. Prior to Meta, she worked at IOOC, Athabasca Oil Corporation, and ESG Solutions as a QI and R&D geophysicist. With more than 50 scientific publications, she consciously contributes in advancing geoscience scientific and professional community knowledge particularly in domains of reservoir characterization and microseismic monitoring and analytics. She believes our profession moves forward in full force when innovation, integrity, and inclusion collide.

Renee Richards

Renee Richards is a Geophysicist with the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Renee received her Bachelor of Science in Geophysical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and her Master of Science in Geophysics from Texas A&M University. After university, Renee pursued a career in the private oil and gas industry working as a geophysicist with Chevron in Bakersfield, California. After spending her early years in the private sector, Renee transitioned to the government in 2016 where she currently works regulating oil and gas production and development in the Pacific Region of the Outer Continental Shelf.

Manika Prasad

Manika Prasad is a Professor of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). She leads the Center for Rock Abuse with two industrial research consortia (DHI/Fluids and OCLASSH). Before joining CSM, Manika worked at Stanford University, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and Indian Institute of Geomagnetism. Manika’s research group focuses on experimental multiphysics evaluations of earth materials that relate to storage capacity and integrity of carbon sequestration sites and energy exploration. She is the First Vice President of SEG until October 2020. In her spare time, Manika agonizes about the lack of equity and the cost of education in academia.

Dr. Hendratta Ali

Dr. Hendratta Ali is an Associate Professor of Geosciences-Geology at Fort Hays State University. She served as 2018-2019 Chair of the SEG Women’s Network Committee and also serves in several other SEG committees. In 2018 she received the SEG Outstanding Educator award and the AAPG – Inspirational Geoscience Educator in 2017. She also advises the SEG Student Chapter at FHSU.