Questions about environmental engineering.

Hi Stephanie,

I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Business Economics and am looking into Environmental Engineering for a potential career change. I was drawn to environmental engineering because it's a field where public health, the environment, and engineering meet. I've already started classes so that I can continue my studies and eventually pursue a Master's in Environmental Engineering. I'm trying to get as much feedback as I can from people in the field, so that I can learn more about environmental engineering.

That being said, I have a few questions.

1. What do you love about Environmental Engineering? Is there anything you dislike?
2. Do you see the field growing in the future? I've looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it has a good outlook. (Approx. 15% growth…do you think this is true?)
3. My mom is also an engineer within the aerospace/defense industry and has faced some discrimination in the office because she is one of the few females. What have your experiences as a woman in the field been like?

Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate your help!

Sincerely,

Madeline
posted by Madeline, Yorba Linda, CA. on February 28, 2014

Answer by Mrs. Stephanie C. Bolyard

Madeline, 

Thank you for your questions.

1.What do you love about Environmental Engineering? Is there anything you dislike?

I’ve always had a fascination with water as a young child and was good at Chemistry in high school. I did not actually know about Environmental Engineering until my husband decided to dual major in civil and environmental engineering. After I graduated I wanted to work in environmental science but still wanted to get an engineering degree. Overall, I find all aspects of environmental engineering very interesting but have to say solid waste management and wastewater are my two favorite areas.

I do not have any specific dislikes within environmental engineering. It is a challenge sometimes for the public to understand environmental concerns or dealing with regulatory hurdles. 

2. Do you see the field growing in the future?

Yes I do see the future growing mainly due to more stringent regulations as well as our desire to be a more sustainable society. We are not going to stop throwing items away and using the bathroom. So to some extent I call that job security.  

3. What have your experiences as a woman in the field been like?

Environmental engineering seems to have the largest percentage of females (~50%) at the university level. I have not dealt with any negative issues being a “female” in a somewhat male dominated workforce. I actually enjoy the challenge.