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What's Up in the Environment?

   Before becoming Executive Director of the Environmentors Project, I worked as an environmental engineer, which is a kind of civil engineer. Civil engineers design public works like bridges, highways, harbors, and dams. We use our knowledge of physics to build structures that can meet human and environmental needs and withstand loads of wear and tear. An environmental engineer is basically a civil engineer who designs devices and structures that help clean up, or restore, the environment. An environmental engineer might design a waste-water treatment plant, an improved sewer system, or a scrubber for cleaning a large smoke stack.

   Currently, I am the Executive Director of The Environmentors Project, an education program that matches urban teenagers with environmental and science professionals. Prior to holding this position, I was a senior environmental analyst for the Center for Watershed Protection where I developed workshops and environmental design courses.

   I like the hands-on physicality of engineering and always wanted to be an engineer. My college advisor recommended that I wed my passion for engineering with my love of sailing, camping, and hiking. Following his advice I embarked on a four-year exploration of environmental engineering.

   To provide stronger science and environmental education to minority students through improved educational programs like The Environmentors Project.
Photo of Whitney Montague

Whitney Montague:    
7:00 AM Heading to office to meet with my team--a wetland scientist, an aquatic biologist, and a junior engineer.

8:00 AM Team prepares for today's site visit. We will be studying and gathering data from a degraded urban stream.

9:30 AM - 1:00 PM Arrive at the site and begin documenting the current state of the stream. The biologist collects water samples and looks under rocks for macroinvertebrates. The junior engineer and I take measurements, noting utility crossings, and proximity to houses and other structures.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM We pack up our equipment, then head to the nearest restaurant for lunch. We review our impressions of the stream.

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM We return to the office. The biologist runs her water samples to the laboratory where they will be analyzed for coliform bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals, and other pollutants. The junior engineer and I begin transcribing our notes and transferring the observations from the field maps onto a clean copy of the map.

5:00 PM Everyone goes home to take a long shower, get a good meal, and get ready for tomorrow's brainstorming session.

Career Advice: Do not shy away from math and science classes. Volunteer at a local nature center, learn how to canoe, subscribe to POPULAR MECHANICS, and read SCIENCE magazine. Be aggressive about learning! It's your life!

For more details about my career path, look through my resume. (pdf file)
Learn more about the topic of WATER
Go to the Class Project Whitney Montague designed
Check out the other mentors whose careers are related to WATER: Roger Peebles
Check out WATER Resources

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