Carnegie Mellon University

Omar DeLeon (MS '11) - ExxonMobile

Omar DeLeon received his M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering with a focus in Advanced Infrastructure Systems in 2011. After graduation, he followed his interest in public policy to Washington D.C. where he applied for a fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, Omar received a position in the Senate Finance Committee working on issues related to energy, the environment, and the Hispanic community. After a few months, he began work at the American Petroleum Institute and focused on similar issues in Government Affairs.

“Being in Washington D.C. and working in the energy industry, I was quickly approached by several companies regarding employment. The one that stood out to me was ExxonMobil,” said Omar. After completing his fellowship, he began working for ExxonMobile in Houston and has been at the company for almost two years as the Environmental & Regulatory Advisor on several of the company’s exploration projects, first in the Black Sea and now in South America. Omar assesses and manages social and environmental risk for ExxonMobile, and also handles regulatory compliance and environmental management including government approvals and permits for operations. “Besides working on complex projects and interacting with governments, traveling to the locations where we operate is very exciting,” Omar said. “ExxonMobil is a global company with operations all over the world …[which] means you are given the opportunity to learn about those operations, as well as those different countries and locations.”

Omar used his time at CMU to learn about the ways that research at the university was having a real impact on society and industry, and feels that the distinctive combination of technology and creativity is what makes the department stand out. “When an employer hears that a candidate is from CMU, they know that the individual comes from a unique environment that produces intellectually capable and curious individuals that will help take on the world’s toughest energy challenges. CMU opened up my eyes to the very close connection between research and industry.”

When asked about his favorite part of his time at the university, Omar said it was the community here that he enjoyed the most. “In addition to the rigorous curriculum and academic workload, there was a culture of unity and support amongst members of the CEE department, which stemmed across professors and staff, through to the students. Despite the workload, everyone found time to attend the social events: the canoe outings, ski trip, happy hours, department seminars, intramurals, talent show, spring carnival, and all of the events supported by the department and university. It all helped to further drive that environment of mutual support and collaboration.”