Lynn Williams Stephens talks about a career in environmental engineering

[ Film projector starting up] >> Lynn: When I thought about what I most enjoyedgrowing up, it was going to my family’s cabin and being outdoors in the environmentand so I craved the act that I did to be involved in continuing to protectthe environment.[ Teacher speaking] You know the University of Michigan merely has such a great program forcivil and environmental engineering and when I met with different academic advisorsI really liked the manipulate that Lutgarde Raskin was doing looking at biofilms andtrying to be protective of public health. >> Jordon: That’s awesome. Lut’s actually my one of my professors rightnow from my engineering laboratory. >> Lynn: Cool. When I was a graduatestudent, I was a teacher, the TA, for that lab and went to the Ann Arbor wastewatertreatment plant and collected tests and made them to my automobile, to the labs. >> Jordon: How did you decide on grad school? >> Lynn: I wasn’t ready to be done with schoolyet, right? I was experiencing it and having fun and really liked the learning, still, and conceived, I want to learn more to be better at this racket. I understood that you were involved in BlueLab, I’m involved in Blue Lab as well. So I’m looking forward to like that that mainaspect of like talking with community leaders, talking with the community and figuring outthe best ways to solve these issues that are, you are well aware, hurting the communities today .>> Lynn: Yeah, I would say the work we didin Guatemala really was the foreground. We constructed these biosand filters and implementedthem into institutions, and that was an incredible learning experience. We improved them withthe community. So they spoke Q’eqchi’ and you know my Spanish is just okay, soit was two conversations removed. But you know, formerly we did ocean tone testing and they couldsee the petri dishes and the bacteria, right, the fecal and total coliform testing we did, andwe could explain, okay this is your rain water, this is your evaporated irrigate, this is what’s comingout of the biosand filter, here’s the river; you could tell based on people’s actions thatthey were get it and it was, you are well aware, helping them understand that connection. So I’ve takenthat those lessons learned into what I do now. I work for Brown and Caldwell. It’san environmental consulting conglomerate. I is currently working on projects all over the country.I’ve actually worked with the same company all the 12 years since I graduated.So I startedout as a personnel designer doing clean drinking water and waste water projections and doing more kindof field work and sampling and, you know, learning. Now i’m more focused on drinkingwater and recycled irrigate for potable and incidental potable reuse. I’m the pilotstudy guide for the Portland Water Bureau. Currently the City of Portland’s water supply isunfiltered, but they’ve gotten cryptosporidium reaches in their watershed and are now adding afiltration system. So iI’ve been helping with a squad of people, immense beings that I’m workingwith, to inform a brand-new greenfield 145 MGD water treatment plant. I don’t think, you are well aware, I couldhave foreseen all the opportunities that I’ve had .>> Jordon: Yeah for me jumpingfrom high school to college like that was a big step from seeming how Iwas in high school to being at the University of Michigan and the stuff that I wanted toget involved in. Every time someone asked where do you see yourself in five years old, 10 years, 15. I don’t know.I don’t know. >> Lynn: That’s a hard question. I don’tknow if I know either. You don’t have to have the whole future, you know, laid out.I know lots of people who are similar to me or even later on that are stillfiguring it out and and that’s okay. >> Jordon: What would you say would be likethe main advice you’d be provided to students in environmental engineering to like getinvolved with these things after they leave Michigan, whether it be from theirundergrad or their graduate degrees. >> Lynn: You know, I determined a lot ofvalue from get my graduate degree in Michigan. And I think that really gave me aleg up to do the type of work that I was necessary to do. And so that was a huge benefit. You’re absolutelydoing the right thing by looking at internships.I did several internships throughout my undergradand between undergrad and grad school to try to figure out what what part of, you know, environmental engineering do I just wanted to do. I stressed out a lot about where my futurewas going and where my future was taking me and you know the options with jobs andemployers and I guess I stressed out too much. You know you can try something andif it doesn’t work out, that’s okay, you know don’t worry. It’s gonna work out justfine and you’re gonna have a lot of recreation doing it.[ Introspective music ].

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