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From intern in the Remote Operations Center to a Performance Engineer in Abu Dhabi, Silvia has found her home at H&P.

This International Women in Engineering Day, we thank all of the incredible female engineers that keep H&P moving forward, Silvia Goicochea Olano, a performance engineer who recently started her first international assignment in Abu Dhabi.

Looking back, she didn’t always want to become an engineer. Silvia was deciding between becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer when she talked to her brother who was working as a petroleum engineer at H&P at the time.

“From the conversations I had with him I decided to pursue engineering,” she said. “Then it was deciding between a chemical or petroleum engineering degree.”

She started her college education at Oklahoma City Community College before transferring to Oklahoma University. “I joined H&P as an intern the summer before I graduated,” she said. “I worked for our Remote Operations Center in Tulsa. When I was halfway through my internship, they gave me an offer letter to work for H&P.”

She went back to school after the summer ended. H&P allowed her to stay on and work at the Oklahoma City office and commute to Tulsa weekly while finishing her degree.

Silvia said that she has always had an interest in working internationally. She thought she might go to South America but when the opportunity to work in Abu Dhabi presented itself, she jumped at the challenge. “I feel like if it’s easy it doesn’t make me as happy in the end,” she said. “I like conquering a challenge.”

She arrived in Abu Dhabi the first week of April 2022 and says she finds the country beautiful. So far, her favorite part has been enjoying the healthy food. While going to school in the states she would miss her mom’s Peruvian homemade meals.

“Here in Abu Dhabi the food is healthier,” she said. “Everywhere you go they have real juices of every fruit which I love because I could live off juice sometimes.”

Before applying for the international assignment, she and her husband had discussed moving somewhere with a coastline or mountains. The hardest part has been arranging travel for her three dogs to Abu Dhabi, but they have finally arrived safe and sound.

Silvia Goicochea Olano, Performance Engineer, on assignment in Abu Dhabi.

She said women shouldn’t be afraid to embrace international assignments. “Don’t be scared,” she said. “A lot of people, even my family and friends, have said the Middle East is not great for women but although it is a different culture, I have had a positive experience so far.”

The H&P team in Abu Dhabi has been one of the best parts of the move, she said. “There is amazing support,” she said. “Everyone has been helpful and supportive even when we encounter problems. There are people always willing to help us... They will help with any little thing. No matter if it’s trying to get WiFi or figuring out the different phone apps.”