Tetra Tech Recognizes International Women in Engineering Day 2020
Tetra Tech is supporting International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2020 on June 23rd to inspire girls and celebrate women in engineering careers. We are highlighting our female engineers from across our global operations and sharing how they #ShapeTheWorld. By raising their profiles, we hope to encourage those who aspire to become engineers by helping them understand the opportunities and career paths that the engineering sector can provide.
With the aim of empowering and supporting prospective female engineers, we invited some of our engineers to share with us their journey and how they are inspiring the next generation of engineers.
Diversity and inclusion have always been among Tetra Tech’s core values. The diversity of thought that we achieve through true diversity of people enables us to better understand and provide innovative solutions for our clients’ most complex challenges. We celebrate the journeys of our female engineers of all backgrounds and stages of their careers. By leading with the stories of women in engineering at Tetra Tech, we continue to foster a supportive environment where inclusivity is expected and prioritized.
Lindsay Johnston, Senior Engineering Consultant
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I believe the key to developing innovative ideas that #ShapeTheWorld of engineering is to support people to strive for excellence by giving them career opportunities regardless of their demographics. Even the most junior student technician can have a new idea that can grow into a project solution. I try my best to lead by example for all Tetra Tech staff and colleagues and make myself available to provide mentorship. I also try to pass on the lessons I learned from my mentors throughout the years. We can encourage new ideas and innovate by providing a platform to share information and knowledge, and by encouraging collaboration rather than acting alone.
Kerry Williston, Environmental Scientist
Houghton, Michigan, United States
I lead the air quality program for the Joint Base San Antonio Fence to Fence contract providing support across five geographically separated facilities at the base in Texas. Compliance needs range from synthetic minor to Title V air quality programs. I managed five personnel and mentored them on all aspects of air quality compliance. For Tetra Tech’s Edwards Air Force Base Environmental Fence to Fence contract in California, I provided mentoring to educate clients, shop personnel, and Tetra Tech staff and ensured environmental compliance when deviations were identified.
Through these programs, I #ShapeTheWorld by working with and mentoring Tetra Tech personnel who have varying levels of expertise—from recent college graduates to personnel with more than 15 years of experience. As a mentor and team lead, I not only look for opportunities for my team to learn, grow, and develop their careers, but also provide them with the opportunity to share their ideas, knowledge, and experience.
Ying Tay, Senior Principal, Geotechnical Engineering
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I am a mother of three. Between juggling motherhood and my career, I have worked in the field of geotechnical engineering delivering projects worldwide, especially in the Middle East. My work over the years has varied from supervision of investigation and design to leading teams delivering large scale, complex substructure and infrastructure projects in Dubai, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. I co-founded Emirates Geotechnical Engineering Forum, organizing lectures and presentations in Dubai. After working in the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates since 2000, I moved to Australia last July for a new beginning for my family. I am passionate about my work and hope that I have inspired my kids and women in the engineering field to help #ShapeTheWorld.
Amelia Kulmatyski, Geotechnical Engineer-In-Training
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
It is important to give back to the community and encourage students to get involved in science and engineering. Volunteering as an engineering ambassador for the past four years as part of Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WISEST)—a group introduces girls to fields that are historically male dominated—has really shown me that these girls and young women are completely able to #ShapeTheWorld. There is nothing that can't be accomplished with a little girl power.
Abby Hunkler, Civil Engineer
Marlborough, Massachusetts, United States
I #ShapeTheWorld by being a good representative for engineering within any role I have. Many students of all demographics have no concept of the engineering field or assume it is too difficult for them. If I can provide a positive connection for them, then they may start to see engineering or other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as a feasible and interesting academic and career option.
Pamela Reed, Mechanical and Piping Engineer-In-Training
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I #ShapeTheWorld by being involved in various events that support women in engineering. I helped organize the Women in Work conference at the University of Calgary, and I represented Tetra Tech to discuss inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. I also organized a Women in Engineering night for Tetra Tech’s Calgary office for attendance by women engineering students and engineering technologist students from the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, organizing presentations by other women in engineering and design within our office to showcase the contributions of women in the industry. I am currently working on creating a program that identifies and fights conscious and unconscious biases women face in the workplace.
Carolina Barreto, Senior Technical Advisor
Pretoria, South Africa
I #ShapeTheWorld for women and girls in the engineering field simply by being a working engineer and showing them that it is possible. I make time to talk to young women entering the engineering field to expose them to all the opportunities that exist. I make sure our job descriptions for open positions are inclusive. I also am active in Women in African Power by sharing opportunities to young women.
Jennifer Bowyer, Client Manager and Operations Director
Farmington Hills, Michigan, United States
I #ShapeTheWorld by doing career day at my kid's school and talking to the students about engineering—both generally and specifically to environmental engineering. I also contribute my technical skills and expertise for my local church and community events such as preparing plans for permit applications; supervising and assisting with volunteer construction; and other technical matters with electrical systems, plumbing, permitting, asbestos and air quality concerns, and other engineering-related work. I especially enjoy working with girls at these community projects and showing them that they shouldn't be afraid of tools, reading plans, solving problems, or directing men.
Laura Duggan, Principal Engineer, Infrastructure and Built Environment
Belfast, Northern Ireland
As a principal engineer within the structural engineering team in Belfast, I mentor female graduate engineers and help them realize their full potential by helping them achieve Chartership—a true mark of professionalism that they can carry with them for the rest of their careers. I believe in developing such talent to #ShapeTheWorld and provide inspiration to other young women. Almost half of our team is female, and I think everyone would agree that the diverse balance brings a great dynamic. I also take part in an apprenticeship scheme aimed at taking school graduates through a dedicated experience of workplace learning and training. My job is to cultivate the skills of students and graduates today to #ShapeTheWorld of tomorrow in their approach to engineering.
Outside of work, I am part of the Institution of Structural Engineers committee. I help plan professional development events and encourage young members to stretch their imaginations. I also organize events for students and graduates with the aim of making engineering more inclusive. Since I joined the committee, the table now looks much more diverse, with almost half of the seats taken up by females. As a board member of a primary school, I ensure that the school actively promotes STEM, and I volunteer my services to interact with the students.
Susan Cundiff, Water Resource Engineer
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
I strive to #ShapeTheWorld by sharing my passion for conserving the environment with my family, friends, and community. Through my career I’ve worked to find clear solutions to the complicated water issues we face in our world. We all know water is the heart of our ecosystem and plays a central role in all life on earth. Together we share a responsibility to not only ensure we don’t abuse this irreplaceable resource, but also to develop tangible solutions that can benefit both the natural environment and all the people who share this world with us. I’m incredibly proud to be a woman in STEM. I am proud to work every day alongside other women and men who are solving some of our world’s most challenging issues.
Michelle Schmidt, Environmental Engineer
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States
I grew up in a small Midwestern town, and the first time I recall meeting a woman engineer was in college. Therefore, my #ShapeTheWorld mission is to ensure that girls and women have ample opportunities to interact with female engineers and learn about career opportunities throughout their education and life. Over the past few years, this has translated into various outreach activities, including participating in STEM expositions for 5th-12th grade students; facilitating interactive engineering workshops for Girl Scouts and at high school engineering summer camps; discussing environmental engineering with a local STEM club for girls; and hosting graduate students in STEM fields at our office to discuss our technical work and answer their career questions.
Michelle Jelinski, Waste Management Project Engineer and Team Lead
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I've had some wonderful female mentors over the years, and I strive to provide the same type of leadership to my team. I love to travel the world and while doing so, will often visit landfills or chase garbage trucks (safely of course!) to take photos and share what I've learned about global waste management practices with my peers. I #ShapeTheWorld by inspiring other women and girls to combine their passions with their work, regardless of what engineering field they are in.
Jill Hoggan, Mechanical Engineering Associate
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
I #ShapeTheWorld by teaching in the industry, particularly the new starters when they are facing the biggest changes. It makes me proud to know that I have helped people and made a difference in their careers, especially when you meet them years later, and they make a point to thank you again.
Stereotypes still dominate our industry, particularly for graduates. When attending school events, I strive to show them just how wrong this is. Our industry is welcoming and seeks to attract the best talent and not gender.
It was my dad who has really inspired me to reach where I am today—he never saw any boundaries to my potential. I see no boundaries for my daughter if she works hard and is passionate in all that she does. You just need to find a company that seeks a skill set and not a typical image.
Aline Fonseca, Electrical Engineering Coordinator
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
I #ShapeTheWorld by contributing to the personal and professional growth of all women who work or have worked with me. I encourage my daughter and everyone around me to think and live in a way that contributes to the good in the world in all aspects. I think that this way we will make our world better for us and for the next generations.
Becky Whalen, Project Manager and Civil Engineer
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Over my career, I have helped #ShapeTheWorld by providing mentorship and advice to Girl Scouts, female interns, and junior engineering staff. I provide technical guidance, feedback, resources, and tools for developing engineers. I also network heavily with women in the industry and seek opportunities to empower and uplift my female colleagues.
Kristi Schuldt, Environmental and Water Resource Engineer
Chicago, Illinois, United States
I have participated in several professional organizations whose goals are to not only improve members’ engineering skills and understanding, but also to reach out to schools and share what we do to help students head into STEM. One of my favorite things was participating as a judge for many years in the Future Cities competition. It was so much fun to work with the kids and hear their fresh and creative (out of the box) ideas. I also think that the path I took in my career will help #ShapeTheWorld of engineering for women and girls. I have been on many projects where I was the minority as a female. In these circumstances, I worked hard, was always willing to learn and improve, and in many cases am now the manager of these projects, showing that women can be successful in this field.
Christine Arbogast, Solid Waste Unit President
Diamond Bar, California, United States
Over my 30-year career, I have helped #ShapeTheWorld by actively supporting women in both engineering and in leadership. I have served as a vice president in charge of the solid waste practice and most recently as an operating unit president employing and supporting professional growth of women in solid waste engineering. I currently serve as the vice chair of the Southern California Chapter of Women in Solid Waste and Recycling, an organization established to provide networking opportunities and tools needed for women to be successful leaders in the solid waste industry. I recently participated as a speaker and had roundtable discussions for a Women in Leadership forum at the Society for Marketing Professional Services Orange County chapter meeting. I also shared my experience as a woman engineer in a leadership position with both engineering and marketing professionals in the architect, engineer, and construction (A/E/C) industry.
Rana Mandour, Project Engineer-in-Training
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I volunteered and worked for an organization that helped promote STEM to the youth, with an emphasis on girls and indigenous youth. That kick-started my interest to #ShapeTheWorld for women and girls in the engineering field. As I continued my degree, I was fortunate enough to gain a variety of diverse mentors who have helped shaped my career. What's great about the engineering field is that there is never a lack of mentors that I can gain knowledge from.
I have always been heavily involved in organizing events for others, and one of the highlights of my career so far has been volunteering for events related to promoting engineering to children and having the ability to share my experiences to them. What has really made me happy is to see more females getting involved with engineering at any level. My goal is to continue to normalize having women and girls in engineering and be someone who can provide mentorship to others.
Laurel Flanagan, Transportation Engineer-in-Training
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I #ShapeTheWorld for women and girls in the engineering field through volunteer work with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Women of ITE Sub-Committee, which fosters gender inclusion amongst transportation professionals and communities we serve through testimony and research.
Helen Unkovich, Geospatial Consultant
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The GIS industry was traditionally male-dominated, but that has certainly changed. With increasing numbers of women entering the industry, it is great to be able to mentor female graduates and take part in GIS networking events. I help #ShapeTheWorld by speaking at an all-girls secondary school’s careers night encouraging them to consider a career in GIS. Many of them don’t even know it is an option. Given the blank stares I am often met with when I describe my job to people, I plan to continue promoting GIS and sharing my passion at similar events in the future.
I never imagined when I was studying psychology at university that I would end up working as a GIS consultant on Australia's largest infrastructure projects. That all changed when I started working for Tetra Tech, and I discovered the fascinating world of mapping. I started on-the-job training in GIS 15 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Ingrid Geng, Geotechnical Engineer
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
I am grateful to be involved in the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project, which is the largest renewable energy project in Australia. This project involves linking two existing dams—the Tantangara and the Talbingo—through 27 kilometers of tunnels and building a new underground power station. I am proud to help #ShapeTheWorld and be part of the design team because the work we have been done is not only for our generation, but for many generations to come.
Kate Kowalski, International Engineering Project Manager
Marlborough, Massachusetts, United States
I primarily work on water and sanitation projects in the developing world, including supervising construction activities in Africa. Gender targets are included in most of the projects; however, most positions filled by women are in the unskilled labor category. It is uncommon to find women in technical roles such as engineering or construction oversight positions.
I realized that I was the first female manager when everyone on the construction site in Liberia kept calling me Sir during my first visit. With each visit I gained more respect from the men in charge on-site and demonstrated to the women in the communities that engineering is a great profession for both men and women. I greatly preferred my revised title of boss lady.
I help #ShapeTheWorld by making an active effort to talk to the women I encounter while working in Africa about whether they went to school and ask them if their daughters are going to be engineers. My intention is to plant a seed so they could see a different path that they may not have considered otherwise.
Arunakumari Selvaraj, Pega Certified System Architect
Delaware, Ohio, United States
I realized in the middle of my software engineering career that I was doing a monotonous job that was not giving me any creative freedom or career development. I wanted to move out of my comfort zone. Being a mom of two little kids, I knew it would be difficult to make a change but I pushed myself and learned a new technology that gave me lot of confidence and creative development. It helped me transition to a new and challenging environment in the software engineering field. Also, because I understand the difficulties of being part of the software engineering development team, I always help our female interns with understanding the development process and mentor them to learn software development.
Lisa Medve, Environmental Engineer and Project Manager
Denver, Colorado, United States
As an engineer, I #ShapeTheWorld by providing an example of what is possible for women in engineering. I work to share my experiences; for example, I participated on a panel at a Society for Women Engineers conference on work-life balance. With two active boys, a husband, a penchant for CrossFit contests, and work, finding a balance is important. I also have conducted presentations on engineering topics in area schools through PBS' Building Big program. Finally, I try to mentor our own women engineers and scientists to show them what is possible within Tetra Tech, where I have been provided with such strong opportunities and support.
Yulia Kravtsova, Geotechnical Engineer
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
I’m happy to be an engineer—my career gives me the flexibility to combine full-time work with a family life. I help #ShapeTheWorld by introducing my children and their primary school friends what being an engineer means. It is better to start young when inspiring our next generation. If you want to make an impact on this world, become an engineer.
Kristen Thordahl, Project Engineer
Middletown, New York, United States
I have been working in the field of civil engineering for more than 30 years, and during this time I have had the pleasure to #ShapeTheWorld by working with and mentoring other women, engineers or not. As a young engineer I tutored two young ladies in high school math, and they overcame their fear of math and have done well in life. I know that everyone learns differently, and some people need things presented in a different manner to understand the task at hand. My passion is stormwater management, and I have been fortunate to work with young women engineers who share this passion. It has been my pleasure to see these young women complete tasks on their own due to my guidance and mentoring.