In celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to use this time to let you all learn a little bit more about our female team members. We asked them to tell us the how they got into the field of Environmental Sciences and if they had any advice to the women of the world who are looking to enter the industry!
Stormwater Specialist/Project Scientist
Hey! My name is Samantha and I am a Stormwater Specialist which means my work spans the construction, industrial, and municipal sectors. I am a recent addition to the Metric Team, and in my previous role I was a regulatory inspector with IDEM.
Much of my workload was focused on inspection of construction sites for stormwater compliance which includes evaluations of erosion and sediment control systems. To say that I had a steep learning curve in navigating my role as an inspector in the construction world, is an understatement, but I went from showing up to a site and hoping no one was there, to leading inspections on multi-million dollar jobs with an entourage of people.
It is no secret that the construction industry is a world that is androcentric, but it’s a slowly changing dynamic with more professional women emerging in this field every day. So, if I could give advice to young women out there trying to find their way, it would be that no matter the realm you wish to seek professionally, anything is possible! We all have to start somewhere and never be afraid to ask questions!
I’m Kennita and currently I am an environmental consultant with experience that includes: Phase I ESAs, asbestos inspections, soil and groundwater sampling and environmental research. Prior to my work in Environmental Services, I was stuck in retail and honestly, I didn’t know much if anything about the Environmental Services industry.
Long story short, a coworker of mine ended up coming into work late because he had some issues involving hydrofluoric acid. I immediately recited the chemical formula and some industry uses of the acid. My coworker (being shocked) said I was too smart to be in retail. He put me in touch with a gentleman that trains and provides environmental technicians to environmental companies. In 2010, I began working for a local engineering firm on a temp-to-hire contract. The rest is history.
My advice to you:
Don’t let labels such as “Nerd” or “Woman” define or discourage you. As long as you work hard and know what you’re talking about no one can stop you.
Luella Beth Hillen
Director of NEPA Services
I’m Beth, Director of NEPA Services at Metric and have over 30 years of experience in Environmental Sciences. I grew up wanting to be an archaeologist. I found artifacts in the garden and fields around our house and wanted to know more about how the people residing in the Midwest prehistorically really lived, so when I went to college that is what I studied.
I got my first job four days after I graduated and have been working in cultural resource management ever since. I started as a field technician, moved up through crew chief, field supervisor, and project manager. I then decided I’d like to be more involved in integrating cultural resources with the other disciplines involved in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Now I manage a division at our firm with NEPA specialists, Natural Resource specialists, and Cultural Resources specialists.
Some words of wisdom be curious, follow your passion, and be open to learning new things. If you are passionate about a particular facet of the environmental sciences, pursue that area. If you become the expert at what you do, you will find success in many forms, including life and career satisfaction. Continue to learn as you progress through your career, there is no point at which you are done learning.
NEPA Senior Project Manager
Hi there! My name is Susan and I am a NEPA Senior Project Manager in charge of the preparation and management of environmental documents for federally funded projects in accordance with federal, state and local regulations. I came to work in Environmental Services purely by accident. Started at an architecture and civil engineering firm preparing graphics for Phase I ESAs. When the environmental department was bought out, I had the choice of staying or joining the new company. I decided to join the new company and learned how to conduct Phase I’s, Phase II’s, and became licensed to conduct asbestos inspections. Once NEPA services were added to the company the rest is history.
Something to remember: Don’t doubt that your age or gender will keep you from achieving your aspirations!
NEPA Project Manager
I’m Jessica and I am a NEPA Project Manager with specialties in wetland delineations, environmental due diligence investigations, and environmental documentation. I selected Environmental Science as a major because I thought that this career would allow me to be one minor force working to protect the Earth.
My advice? Get an engineering degree if you can swing it. Start doing internships, even if unpaid, as early as possible. Take courses that provide some real-world skills (i.e., sampling, field work, GIS, etc.). Learn about environmental laws and policies.
NEPA Project Manager
I’m Elayna and I am a NEPA Project Manager at Metric. To answer your question, I guess I came to work in this field with my environmental/natural resources degree I got from Ball State. I’ve always been concerned with environmental issues and thought it would be an interesting career to get into. I wanted to work with the coral reefs and took a few trips to Belize and the Florida Keys to take classes before I even went to Ball State. I realized that that specific interest would obviously take me from the Midwest and there was a lot of math and chemistry classes I would have never got through.
If I had any advice for young women thinking of getting into this profession, I would tell them to follow their interests and not let anyone tell them they can’t do it. Your career, however humble is a real possession in the ever-changing times we live in. At this point, I believe there will be a continuing need for smart people who want to lean in and tackle the biggest problems on the planet. The good thing about science is that it’s true, whether or not you believe/agree with it. That’s my take on my favorite quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist.
Grow Your Career at Metric
Metric is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. Get connected, keep in contact, and explore a future at Metric. Visit the career section of our site to find all current job and internship opportunities.