Agatha Kim

Agatha Kim

Senior Civil/Environmental Engineer, TRC
CA

Engineers!

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Close Up
  • What I Do

    I am currently working on a number of construction-type projects for a National Park in San Francisco, CA. I am putting together plans for earthwork (excavations and backfill, grading, paving hardscape, and landscaping) for a major thoroughfare as well as assisting in a larger wetland habitat restoration in the immediate vicinity. I also assist in the management of environmental requirements and reporting for the responsible organization.

    I am also our office safety coordinator, responsible for making sure that our employees are up to date on all their safety training, have all the necessary safety equipment needed for the job, and maintain the safety program to make sure that everyone goes home in the same or better shape than they came into the office or the field that morning.

  • Why Engineering?

    I've always loved math and science, solving problems and figuring things out. I like to think about things in a practical way, to make things work, and to see how it all comes together in the end.

  • School Days

    I went to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering.

  • My Day At Work

    I've had a lot of different jobs and each one has been different. Sometimes I sit at a computer all day: writing reports, looking over data and drawings, putting together work plans, reviewing budgets and cost estimates, preparing proposals, and then going to meetings to discuss the office, projects, future work, marketing, etc. Sometimes I'm in the field, taking soil or groundwater samples, characterizing/logging soil, making observations about the site conditions of a construction site, inspecting hazardous materials and waste storage areas, and assisting with the labor and oversight as well.

  • Best Part

    I love being able to see project evolve, develop, change, and grow from an idea on paper to something I can walk or drive across or into or through. The bigger the project, the better. I get inspired and motivated by work that I can see from Google Earth/outer space. I also love seeing my designs/projects completed and see how they compare to what I was imagining in my head.

  • Proud Moments

    I am most proud of my work on a major construction project (we were building a bridge in a major metropolitan area in Southern California) and knowing that I was able to manage and work with 300-400 people, mostly men, and having my voice be heard, speaking up when needed, stepping outside my comfort zone, and getting really hands-on with construction field work, labor, equipment, and materials. When I was out in the field with "the guys," I was one of them, I belonged there, and I had their respect as they had mine.

  • Challenges

    The biggest challenge for me has always been my own personality. I am quiet by nature. I tend to keep to myself and let others speak instead. I finally have come to a point in my career where I understand that being an engineer, being intelligent, being practical, and getting respect and appreciation that I know I deserve... only happens if I can communicate my ideas to other people, to an audience, comfortably and confidently. I have to break out of my shell, step out of my comfort zone, put on my hard hat and throw myself forward full force. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's not. That's life.

  • My Family

    I am married to my best friend John and have a wonderful crazy curious daughter named Ashley. We have had several dogs in our lives and at the moment, we have a Shih Tzu named Lupe Green. I have a really huge extended family, with lots of cousins, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, as well as a great core group of friends whom I've known since high school, some since elementary school.

  • Dreams and Goals

    Short term goals: keep striving forward in my engineering career and keep working on fun and exciting projects.

    Long term goals: travel more, be a great mom, pick up new skills (I'm a beginner ukulele player) and languages (beginner French and Italian, I'd love to learn Japanese as well).

  • Inspiration

    My former boss, the Civil Department Supervisor on the major construction project, was my greatest supporter, encouraging me to speak up and letting me know that he had my back. He spoke to me like an adult, like I had more smarts than he did even if that wasn't true, and always with respect. I found my voice while working under his management and I haven't let it go yet.

  • Want to be an Engineer?

    Do it. It's fun! I see my job as a way to play. I play with different computer programs. I play in dirt, mud, and water. I play with equipment, materials, and all kinds of other stuff. And I've learned how to play with others in a way that we all move towards the same goal. Engineering solves problems, and it's a lot of fun discovering all the different ways to solve them because there are just so many ways to do it and people have so many different ideas and perspectives too.

  • Hobbies

    I ride motorcycles, snowboard, play the piano and sometimes the ukulele. I love dogs and the beach. I love my family and friends. I love doing science experiments and arts and crafts projects with my daughter.

Biography
I am a civil and environmental engineer. I don't hug trees or swim with dolphins (unless it's for fun!), but I do play in dirt, mud, and water a lot. I help build buildings, bridges, and schools. I also use the computer a lot to read and write reports, make graphs and tables of data, and to make drawings, all that help guide our customers to make the right decisions about the land that they are living or working on.
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Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.