Civil Engineering, University of Florida
M.P.A., California State University - Long Beach
Ph.D. Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
I am originally
from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago where I graduated
from Bishop Anstey Girls High School in 1982. I then attended Columbia
University in New York where I obtained a B.S. in Civil Engineering in
1986. The program at Columbia was primarily structural with no environmental
engineering courses. I had seen open dumps in my native country, experienced
routine water shortages, and knew of the dangers of communicable diseases,
but I did not know that there was a professional track that dealt with
those issues. In my senior year of college I was very unsure of my career
path until I took an advanced course in geotechnical engineering that
included discussions about landfill design. Based on that course, I decided
to go to graduate school.
At the University
of Florida, I obtained a ME in civil engineering emphasizing geotechnical
engineering with a minor in environmental engineering. I then worked for
the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation for 2 years, and CH2M HILL
(an environmental engineering consulting firm) for 3 years. Most of my
work was in the area of solid and hazardous waste management, however
I was fortunate to gain a breadth of experience with projects at wastewater
treatment plants, landfills, contaminated sites, and industrial facilities.
During those 5 professional years, the one constant among the broad spectrum
of projects was the significant role of public policy in the final decision.
My technical education had taught me the theoretical fundamentals of design,
but did not prepare me for decision-making in the public arena. Therefore,
during that period, I decided to go to school part-time at California
State University - Long Beach and obtained a Master of Public Administration.
reasons, personal and professional, I decided to return to school for
a Ph.D. (graduated in 1996) and chose Carnegie Mellon University's Engineering
and Public Policy program due to my newly found interest in the policy
aspects of technology. At Carnegie Mellon, I rounded out my understanding
of the environmental arena by focusing on public policy as it relates
to regional and global environmental problems. I also became keenly aware
of the gap in environmental literacy that exists at the college level.
That awareness led to my involvement with Indira Nair, and eventually
to this environmental literacy curriculum. Currently, my research interests
focus on using geographical information systems for environmental and
infrastructure decision making, developing strategic environmental management
systems based on life cycle analysis for industrial facilities, and environmental
management issues related to developing economies.
life has paralleled the environmental trends in the USA. I was born at
the height of the environmental movement (1960s), started my career as
an engineer in the 1980s when the emphasis was on end-of-pipe technology,
gained a more well-rounded perspective during the 1990s at the beginning
of the shift towards pollution prevention and green design, and am now
involved with these issues at they relate to developing countries. I feel
my main contribution to this environmental literacy curriculum has been
to bring in the perspective of a practitioner who has direct experience
with many of the issues included. I hope this experience has translated
into a curriculum that is centered in the real world, and is applicable
to a majority of students regardless of major.