Indira Nair
Sharon Jones
Sheila Flavin
Ashley Deal
Diana Bajzek

Sharon Jones
M.E. 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.

For various 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.

My professional 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.

  ©Copyright 2003 Carnegie Mellon University
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 9653194. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.