Sharon Kenny
Sharon D. Kenny
Environmental Engineer, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Bala Cynwyd, PA

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I protect human health and the environment.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    I chose to study engineering because it enables me not only to understand the science behind a problem, but also to develop and build solutions to these problems.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I have two master's degree: one in Civil Engineering (2003) from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a second one in Geochemistry (2001) from the University of Florida. GO GATORS!
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    I am a Project Manager for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action program, which addresses investigation and cleanup of past and present contamination at operating industrial facilities. I also assist in the advancement of new regulation for toxic substances, and in the development of strategic planning and programmatic goals for the Sustainable Materials Management program.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    Working with math
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    Becoming ordained as a minister of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    Attending college full time while raising a child.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I have three amazing kids (two teenagers and a toddler), and a wonderful husband. We love to go camping, play tennis, and discuss topics we discover in Reddit.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    My short term goal is to purchase a sailboat and travel around the world while finishing my PhD studies in Engineering Economics.  Once we return from our circumnavigation of the globe, I would like to continue my career at the World Bank or the United Nations Environment Programme.  During my free time, I would love to teach math, science and engineering.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    Carl Sagan; Stephen Hawking; Tim Minchin; and the 14th Dali Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    I love to read!  My favorite books are: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz;  How The Rich Are Destroying the Earth by Hervé Kempf;  Skinny Bitches by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin; and  Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Sharon D. Kenny has over 15 years of experience in the environmental field, with particular expertise in the fields of hazardous chemicals and site remediation. She has directed projects related to compliance assistance; health and safety auditing; and land contamination for numerous industrial sectors, including manufacturing (coil coating, plating, foundries), water treatment, and federal facilities. Sharon has extensive experience in research, and has worked for several organizations, including National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She is currently employed as an Environmental Engineer, serving as a GIS Training Coordinator in the Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division (EAID) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez; and two master’s degrees: one in Geochemistry from the University of Florida at Gainesville, and a second one in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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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.
Latest Questions
  • Sharon Kenny, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Answered Friday, November 3, 2017 at 12:59 PM
    Congratulations on the completion of your B.S. in Industrial Engineering!  A graduate degree in environmental engineering will require knowledge in a particular set of fields that you may have not been exposed to while a student in industrial ...
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  • Jenny

    Added Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 11:31 PM

    I want to be an environmentalist engineer. How can I compete with people that have been to robotics camps and science camp? I read about alternative energy and I like math. But I don’t have a background to prove my worth, because stem was never pushed with girls at my school. Can I do anything to prep now?
    Answers 1
    Sharon Kenny, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Answered Friday, November 3, 2017 at 12:22 PM
    I think that having a non-STEM background does not limit you; it enhances your perspectives and the set of skills you have as an engineering student.  So do not be shy when describing yourself and your interest in pursuing a degree in engineering in your ...
    Read More
  • Caitlin, Orlando asked Sharon Kenny, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

    Added Friday, April 8, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    Hi, My sister is a rising 9th grader and she has been looking into what she wants to do. She likes the idea of traveling, making an impact, but also having a major that isn't too hard. So, I think the EnviE gives the traveling and the impact component, but I'm unaware of the difficulty. I don't know much about the career besides what I have looked into briefly about the career. Is the major hard in math? Or is it a relatively easy major for a good career? As well as, what are the jobs like ...
    Related to Choosing a Degree, Environmental
    Answers 0
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