Karen Hagedorn Joins Alumni in Residence Program

May 25, 2022

The Hildebrand Department welcomed Karen Hagedorn (BSPE ’86) in April as its newest participant in the Alumni in Residence program.


Hagedorn met UT PGE faculty, staff and students and talked about her plans for her yearlong residency at a Women in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (WPGE) reception generously hosted by Sheri Henriksen (BSPE ’84) last month. The Alumni in Residence program brings experienced alumni from all areas of industry to campus to mentor and teach students about real-world industry problems and processes, particularly in business and other nontechnical aspects that receive less coverage in standard curriculum.

“I’m thrilled to be back on the Forty Acres as part of UT PGE’s Alumni in Residence program,” says Hagedorn. “The industry is constantly changing, perhaps now more than ever as we transition to a new mix of energy solutions for the world. Petroleum engineers are a key part of this transition, and I’m excited to talk with students about all that we’ve accomplished and all the opportunities they might choose to pursue.”

Hagedorn, who recently retired after nearly three decades with ExxonMobil, began her career with Exxon in Houston in 1992 in the Alaska Interest Organization before relocating to Anchorage as a reservoir engineer. She has also served as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) research supervisor at ExxonMobil Upstream Research, reservoir manager for US Lower 48 Production, joint interest manager and development manager for Esso Angola, asset manager for the Netherlands and Southern North Sea, and joint interest and development manager for US Conventional, including most recently serving as president of ExxonMobil Alaska Production. She has conducted research and field testing of innovative methods for improving oil recovery and has worked on design, implementation, operation and business analysis of commercial oil and gas recovery projects worldwide.

After completing her B.S. from UT Austin, Hagedorn earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University. She is a recipient of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Young Member Outstanding Service Award and the Alaska Section Engineer of the Year Award, and SPE named her a Distinguished Member in 2014.

No matter where her career has taken her, Hagedorn has always been a Longhorn at heart. She was honored as a UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering Distinguished Graduate in 2019 and an Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate in 2004, and she is a founding member of the UT Austin Women in Engineering Program Advisory Committee. She has also served on the UT PGE External Advisory Committee.

“Karen’s service to the university as well as her professional accomplishments make clear her dedication to excellence and innovation,” says UT PGE Chair Jon Olson. “We’re extremely pleased to have her as our Alumna in Residence for the coming year so that she can forge connections with our students as she shares her industry knowledge and experience.”