Tell me about your role and responsibilities as an Environmental Management System Program Manager.
I see myself as a steward of the environmental management system. This system is a framework for implementing environmental plans according to the required international standard. I don’t implement the plans by myself but work collaboratively with the different departments and divisions within Berkeley Lab. My role is to organize the analyses where we, meaning the Lab, interact with the environment, identify which of those interactions are high risk, and work with the subject matter experts to create an appropriate action plan to reduce that risk. We are currently working on 13 environmental action plans.
For example, we have a plan around improving our ability to prevent sanitary sewer overflows. Historically, we have been unable to identify blockages in the system which could result in wastewater overflows. In response, a collaboration between ESH and Facilities developed a plan to address this by installing flow sensors in the sanitary sewer called SmartCovers. If you’d like to learn more about this, come to our Brown Bag on April 20!
You worked in both the private sector - such as at Chevron - and at another National Lab. What excites you the most about joining Berkeley Lab? What do you want to accomplish here?
I’m excited that I now work for an organization that is trying to solve the world’s toughest problems. I want to support an organization that is making positive advances for society. In my last two companies, which were involved in oil and gas and weapons research, I was in roles that helped to mitigate the potential impacts of those industries. That was important work, and I have a lot of friends and colleagues still working in those industries and making a difference. I was at a point though where I wanted to do something different, and to work more directly to solve the world’s problems.
What is a personal and professional goal that you are working towards?
I believe passionately in equality and representation in engineering and science, and I want to see more women in these roles. When I started in civil engineering, women comprised only 10% of the profession. I look around now, 30 years after I was typically only one of a couple of women in a classroom, and that hasn't changed much. I ask myself, how do I leave the workforce better than when I started?
I organize annual mentoring events for students and new professionals through the American Society of Civil Engineers / Environmental Water Resources Institute’s (EWRI) New Professionals Council and serve on EWRI’s Member Services Executive Committee to enable new professionals to become contributing professionals. I recently joined the Women Scientists and Engineers Council (WSEC) here at the Lab and am looking forward to making my contributions there, too. My goal is to better enable the workforce to receive a pipeline of women engineers and scientists. I want to help build a work environment receptive to women engineers and scientists and to expect that much of the workforce in these jobs just happen to be female.