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Shanae Heber is a 4th year Petroleum Engineering student at the University of Guyana, born and raised in Bartica.
She aspires to be a Drilling/Production Engineer to support Guyana’s oil and gas operations. Currently, Shanae holds an associate’s degree in petroleum engineering.
She is also a first year Bachelor of Business Administration Student at Texila American University.
Heber is passionate about women empowerment. She has high hopes of intertwining her knowledge of oil and gas and business to build several businesses, as she is also passionate about women in business.
She works as a Quality Manager at an Oil & Gas service company where she hopes to build their scope in the industry in Guyana.
She attended Mae’s Secondary School and copped 12 subjects at CSEC.
“I was a science student and after writing CSEC, I was unsure of which career path to take. In the end I decided I wanted to pursue chemical engineering, as such I checked UG’s website and I realised that they were not offering any chemical engineering program. During that time, I had also applied to sixth form at The Bishops’ High. So then I had to choose between the two,” she mentioned.
Further she stated, “I began checking for other suitable programmes at the University of Guyana and I stumbled upon petroleum engineering. At that time, I had no idea what it was about but I chose it because we have oil and gas and I wanted to be a part of the youth who will work in that sector. I spoke to my parents and they agreed and were excited for me…. Even though I chose UG, I wanted to attend sixth form, however, UG responded before Bishops’ did and I just went ahead with UG.”
“I went into the programme blindly, with no knowledge. But now I find it pretty interesting how the oil and gas sector works. I’ve seen how this sector impacts society and I’m glad I chose it,” Shanae noted.
When asked about her challenges, she mentioned, “We all have challenges, whether it’s financial, mental, physical, personal, and/ or work-related. But I believe in overcoming those challenges. Whenever I have challenges, I sit, reflect and talk with myself. Most of my challenges are mental, physical and financial because many days I feel burnt out because of my many commitments. As it relates to financial challenge, there are bills and fees to be paid.
“Pursuing two degrees isn’t a walk in the park, and this can be frustrating as well. Visualising my end goal, listening to music, inspirational speeches, and sometimes speaking to my friends and parents, keep me grounded, so I can persevere in the end.”
Shanae is a member of an all girl’s organisation called the ‘Girl Build Girl Foundation’ and served as the Junior President from 2020-2021.
“The foundation sets out to empower women and girls to be their best selves and has significantly added to my personal development and growth,” she added.
She also had the opportunity of joining the first cohort of “Girls, Assemble!”, a programme inspired by Pink Parliament which intends to increase the capacity of women in parliament as she has a keen interest in politics with a specific focus on Natural Resources, especially, the Oil & Gas sector and women.
When Heber is not working or studying, she loves attending activities that will boost her personal and career development and growth. She believes that attending these events will increase her knowledge and awareness of various areas of life.
When asked about how she juggles school, work and volunteering, she noted that her days aren’t scheduled, but she loves to keep herself occupied. However, most of her volunteering gigs don’t occur at the same time when she has class or work, as such she knows how to manage her time effectively. But if they ever do, she will apply the 80/20 rule and will prioritise the most important one. Most of her volunteering gigs occur quarterly, so she knows how to effectively use her time.
She is an influencer currently helping to build the Kabisa Drinks’ brand and has represented many other brands.
Shanae models occasionally and will host shows for What’s Happening Guyana shortly.
Shanae is an avid nature explorer, fond of meeting new people, gaining knowledge, and partaking in women empowerment activities.
“I feel that we’re all lighthouses, and my job is to shine my light as brightly as I can to the darkness.”
Growing up, she was always an overachiever, a young girl who always wanted more for herself and believed that she could do all things she dreamt of regardless of the environment she is in. Heber was never the type to fit in as she believes that she is outstanding and has goals and dreams of her own.
She added, “Where I am from, the norm is to drop out of school (while most may complete their secondary education, the options are still limited), get pregnant and “live home” as they would say. I have always believed that I never wanted to be a part of that per cent and so I began viewing life differently. Moving away from my home town was probably one of the best decisions I’ve come to make (apart from deciding to pursue a degree in Petroleum Engineering) but that has added significantly to my growth as a person.”
Further she mentioned, “Being in a space where you are surrounded by people whose main focus is about growth and development is one of the best things that can happen for you and I am privileged. I have always been passionate about Women taking up leadership roles in society and breaking barriers against us. But recently, I extended that passion to wanting more for Women and Girls in the evolving Oil & Gas Industry in Guyana and society at large and have since decided to pursue two degrees (An Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science) to help to build my skills and expertise in that field so that I would be better able to make a difference. I do believe that my light shines by the way people view me.”
“I am a young woman “doing the most”, as I am told and yes, that’s actually how I want to be viewed. I am passionate about all that I set out to do and regardless of all the obstacles that came my way and may still continue to come my way, I am persistent and I persevere so that I can successfully achieve all that I set out to. I am a resilient, strong, African girl that is creating change and new pathways for women and girls to follow. I am breaking barriers, creating history and most of all, inspiring people daily and that in itself is shining my light. Mind you, I am not done yet nor do I believe that I have significantly made my mark,” she noted.
According to Shanae, staying inspired and motivated has got to be one of the most challenging acts but regardless, as we are human, despite that she pushes on, until the end. As such she sets doable goals and reminds herself that she is working towards being successful and that can only come if she puts in the necessary work despite what may be happening around her.
“You have got to be confident, I keep the “fake it till you make it mindset” at the back of my brain when I’m feeling down and out. In fact, I boost my confidence by affirming positive words and living within that reality. I listen to podcasts, motivational videos, read sometimes, all in all to keep inspired. I look for highly influential people such as Oprah Winfrey and follow their journey but most importantly, I stay around the people who are inspiring and help me to achieve my goals and build the successful life I envision,” she stated.
“You can, you must and you will” are words that I live by. Follow your dreams, set reachable goals for yourself and make sure that everything you do, takes you one step closer to achieving that dream/goal. Ignore all of the naysayers, be positive, think positive and only then can you have a positive outcome.
Read, read, read, listen to podcasts, motivational speakers, journal. Do the things that will only allow you to develop yourself and stay away from negative people and situations. In essence, be the change you want to see,” is Shanae’s advice to youth.