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Alumni who inspire: Bevin VanGilder

Graphic image of Bevin VanGilder on navy background with text "Alumni Who Inspire Bevin VanGilder" on left

Chevron’s first Lower Carbon Director, Bevin VanGilder, shares her expertise and advice as a Statler alumna in this month's feature (Graphic Illustration/Kaley LaQuea).

The Alumni Who Inspire! Program in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources recognizes alumni for their dedication to their professions, our college and West Virginia University. The program was launched in Fall 2023 as a monthly discussion board to inspire future generations of engineers and computer scientists in the College.

Q & A with Bevin VanGilder


“We believe that interactions with our alumni contribute to building a sense of community while also motivating and inspiring our students,” said Cerasela Zoica Dinu, program coordinator and associate dean for student, faculty and staff engagement.

For May's feature, we're excited to share our conversation with alumna Bevin VanGilder. Bevin, a petroleum and natural gas engineering (PNGE) alumna, grew up in Fairmont, WV. “West Virginia University was always a strong choice for me,” says VanGilder. After serving as Chevron’s first Lower Carbon Director, VanGilder recently returned to Tengizchevroil LLP in Kazakhstan to support start-up operations of the Future Growth Project - Wellhead Pressure Management Project.

Q: WVU was your first choice! How did you explore your intellectual and academic curiosity after you joined the Statler College?

Beginning in my sophomore year, I became a teaching assistant for Engineering 101 and 102 courses, which I continued to teach until my graduation. I was also able to assist with research on the application of neural networks to reservoir engineering problems as part of the PNGE graduate student work under Dr. Shahab Mohaghegh.

I was also very active in student organizations, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers, where I held leadership positions. I highly encourage students to become actively involved in student organizations that interest them. It is a fantastic way to learn more about your industry prior to graduation, as well as provide networking and employment opportunities through recruiting events held at technical conferences and other industry engagements.

Q: Why PNGE and Statler College? 

The immediate sense of family I felt as part of the PNGE department! This  helped me to stay motivated. I not only wanted to make my own family proud, but also my professors. Dr. Ameri, Dr. Mohaghegh, Dr. Bilgesu and Dr. Aminian challenged me to do my best and they were always there to mentor and support me.

Q: You have had an incredible career since graduating from WVU/Statler College. What did you learn along the way?  

This year marks my 21st year with Chevron, and I’m very fortunate to have had a very diverse career with varying types of roles in many different locations. I’ve learned so many lessons along the way, so I will share just a few.

Early in my career, as a production engineer, I learned humility and what it takes to be an operator: long hours, poor weather conditions (even hurricanes) and the needed ability to think on your feet. I was truly humbled by their knowledge and have the utmost respect for the operations crew. I recommend that you spend as much time in the field as you can, you will be a better engineer because of it. 

Years later, I started my first international assignment in Malongo, Angola. Here I learned the importance of cultural understanding, inclusion, and belonging.  When visiting a place with a culture different from your own, take the time to learn its history, traditions, and language.

By the end of 2015, I moved back to the US — this time working in Chevron’s headquarters as part of corporate strategic planning. In this role, I learned to think more strategically. This is what inspired me to go back to school to get my executive MBA from the University of Oklahoma.

In my last role as Chevron’s Lower Carbon Director, I was responsible for advancing Chevron’s global efforts to lower the carbon intensity of its operations.  In this role, I learned how to be an agent of change through influence.

Now, I’m happy to be back in Kazakhstan supporting the start-up of one of the world’s largest projects. Through FGP-WPMP, TCO continues to make a major contribution to the Republic of Kazakhstan's economic progress, helping to create a legacy of a trained and skilled local workforce, and upgraded infrastructure in the region.

Q: A story of success and perseverance ends with guidance for generations to come. What are your top 3 tips for students who want to follow in your footsteps?

The best advice I can give students is to be proactive. Your success in your career (and in life) is your responsibility. To do so requires you to put in the time and effort. Seek out additional opportunities. Get actively involved in student organizations. Begin developing your leadership skills early. 

The second is to work on your communication skills. You can be the smartest engineer in the room, but you also need to be able to clearly articulate your ideas. Know your audience and adapt your messages to meet their expectations. 

And finally, when choosing a company — especially if you want to have a long career with them — it’s important to understand that company’s value system and ensure it aligns with your own. At Chevron, we have what we call The Chevron Way – it guides who we are, what we believe and how we behave, focusing on things like trust, integrity, partnership and diversity and inclusion.

Thank you Bevin for your willingness to share your journey. We're proud to call you a forever Mountaineer!



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135