Andromeda DuMont
Andromeda DuMont
Water Resources Engineer, CH2M / Jacobs
Austin, TX

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My junior year of undergrad, I received an internship/co-op in environmental engineering with Golder Associates doing groundwater remediation and an assortment of field investigations (Phase I activities). The field work was exciting and it made sense that I loved it in small bursts: I crave the feeling of having a set objective and being able to complete tasks above expectations. However there were weeks where I fixed borders on spreadsheets and listened to ted talks for hours on end. Apart from the challenges of navigating an office scene, I could see myself becoming bored eventually. I knew I wanted to go back to grad school to work in a more technical, groundwater niche. I applied to three schools thinking, "there's no way I will even move to Texas!". So when a female professor I admired gave me an offer to research in Costa Rica through Texas A&M, I packed my stuff and moved to rural Texas. 2 years and a lot of new friends later, I was back in St. Louis living with my parents frantically filling out job applications. professional engineer Right now, I live in Austin, TX (heh about never moving to Texas) and work at CH2M, a large civil engineering firm where I get to find sustainable, unique solutions to how and where we get our water supply. I also support projects where we design hydraulic systems for wastewater including treatment design and conveyance (pipelines). Because I'm the youngest (and therefore the cheapest) engineer in the office, I find myself helping on the most unique projects: constructing a water management plan for a city (figuring out future demands and how to conservative/find supply to meet those demands), organizing the senior engineers when they design dam rehabilitation measures for a 60 year old dam (and all the fun site visits and model interpretations that go with this!), construction management of a 5 ft diameter waterline (including creating the O&M manuals, overseeing construction out in the field, and reviewing LOTS of paperwork), and designing a filtration system and sizing pumps for wells which are considered groundwater-under-the-influence [of surface water hazards]. My career trajectory is groundwater based (though I'm not delusional enough to think that I have any control over this!). These hydrogeology projects excite me knowing there are so many unknowns! At any given time I could be conducting a feasibility assessment for aquifer storage and recovery (storing drinking water underground) or sitting out on a drill rig to take measurements during a well pumping test. The pulse of the projects are construction-based community-supported future-thinking engineering design held up with desktop investigations, political assistance for groundwater law, and interdisciplinary teamwork. The coolest part is how satisfying it feels to create something that impacts an entire city! Plus, there are many perks: business travel to beautiful field sites, working from home with my cat, and challenging myself every. single. day. Or you know, every few days.

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