Office of Fossil Energy Celebrates Black History Month 2021: Author Gallow

For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated the achievements and contributions of African Americans during the month of February – and every month of the year. I remember sitting around the dining room table with my parents and having them ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This sparked the beginning of lengthy debates about my career choice, where I would attend college, and how I would become what I wanted to be. But the most important question that I remember is “Who inspired your decision?”

What I did not know at the time was that my path would one day lead me to work as a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE). When I first arrived at DOE, I did not know what to expect. I was nervous about so many things and had many questions. I immediately scheduled introductory meetings with leaders and subject matter experts and enthusiastically began working on assigned projects.

I met Sheneé Turner, Director of the Office of Petroleum Reserves, during an introductory meeting at DOE. I think I arrived late because I did not know my way around the building and was constantly getting lost. When I finally arrived, she greeted me with a big smile and an enthusiastic “Welcome to FE!” We talked for about 30 minutes, and I left the meeting absolutely blown away by her knowledge, generosity, and candid spirit. I am inspired by Sheneé’s perseverance, hard work, and the support she gives to her colleagues and community.