Make an Impact – Become a Civil Engineer


[MUSIC PLAYING] ANNA: I was getting
my engineering degree at the University
of Moscow in Russia, and during my course of study
I had a visiting professor who was from the United States and
he worked for the Environmental Protection Agency. I was very fascinated
by his teaching style, and his knowledge,
and experience. It had always been
my dream and here I am working for the
state government. I’m responsible for reviewing
permit applications. I review inspection reports that
they receive from consulting engineers, I review
emergency action plans that we receive for high
and significant hazard class dams. I review dam breach analyses. I do enforcement work
to ensure compliance. I investigate and conduct
ownership research to confirm the
current land owners. Besides having your civil
or environmental engineering degree and having basic
GIS skills and knowledge of hydrology and hydraulics,
time management skills are essential for this position. We do have our
internal databases and tracking systems
that help us. But even with the
help of computers, it is very beneficial
if a person comes with good
organizational skills. There is no typical
day here in the office. We do have our
scheduled meetings, conference calls, webinars
that we participate in. The rest of the day is
dictated by the early morning phone calls that we receive
from the public, consultants, and municipalities
that we work with. The biggest
challenge of this job is to stay on track
of your assignments and identify your priorities
for this particular day, week, or even a month. There are more than
4,500 dams in Connecticut and our dam safety
program consists of only four civil engineers. So it gives over 1,000
projects or dams for each of us to take care of in
terms of compliance with the state regulation. What surprised me
about this role was the level of
interaction that we have with the general public,
such as property owners, as well as municipalities
and consultants. So at the end of the day, if
one person calls me and says thank you, you’ve helped
me the most today, I feel accomplished. It is a very rewarding
feeling to realize that you were able to
resolve some issues for the other person. There is an opportunity for
professional development as well through online courses,
webinars, and trainings. There is even an
opportunity to receive an additional or
an advanced degree while working for the
state as long as it is a work related degree. There are other than dam
safety program employment opportunities for civil
engineers here at this agency. There are groups
of civil engineers that mostly concentrate
on drainage, design, and bridge design projects. So if you don’t
necessarily like dams, there are other
options for you here. I also like the fact that
this agency is very diverse. I’ve had colleagues
from all over the world while working here. We definitely share a
very unique engineering sense of humor and I love it. [MUSIC PLAYING]  

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