CECorps Affiliation: Director
Employment: Engineers Without Borders USA
Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering, Marquette University
What is your role: I am the Director of the Community Engineering Corps program and could not be more excited about the potential for the program. I came aboard in September of 2016 to a small but mighty team that includes staff at Engineers Without Borders USA, American Water Works Association (AWWA), and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Now beginning its 4th year, the program is poised to grow as volunteers from all three organizations are busy developing projects in their own communities. We are also working on outreach directly to communities that can utilize our engineering services.
What part of your job are you most excited about and why: I was excited to start with talented staff that are eager to see CECorps succeed and had history with the program. And, while much emphasis is put into development overseas, I love that there is an outlet for our volunteer engineers to apply their skills to underserved communities right here at home.
What’s the most unique/interesting/impactful engineering project you have helped implement: My time in Peace Corps was probably the most exciting and the most challenging. I was in N’Djamena, Chad in central Africa. I spent most of my time working with women’s groups to help them prioritize what sanitation issues they wanted to address and how best to go about it. These were women with families that didn’t even have an extra container to store or transport trash in. We came up with the idea to make trash bins out of old tires and develop regular trash collection cycles. It was gritty, dirty work but the excitement of such a small solution to a big problem was so humbling.
What’s your career background: I have a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I started out in the HVAC industry in Scranton, PA and moved into the water industry when I took a job at AWWA and moved to Denver, CO. After that, I was consulting in the water industry for a few different firms (Malcolm Pirnie, ARCADIS, myself) working with small, rural water systems in need of technical, managerial, and financial capacity development. I really enjoyed working with these underserved communities so was excited when the CECorps Director position opened up so I could combine the non-profit world and underserved communities into my ideal job.
What’s your motto in life: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
What do you like to do in your free time: There is always a DIY project going on at our house. I love to travel and fortunately my husband and kids do too! My flowerbeds and vegetable garden are favorite downtime activities when I’m not binge-watching Game of Thrones or Homeland.
What is your biggest accomplishment: The job isn’t done yet, but I’m pretty proud of my two kids.