Christina Scott decided to be an earth scientist after taking some geology classes in college and she still remembers the great field trips. She relates earth science to reading mysteries; both are investigations in which you take pieces of information and solve the problem. She has a B.S. degree in geology, has done some graduate work in geology, geophysics and geochemistry, and in 1991 is working on a M.S. degree in environmental management. She considers herself a generalist - part hydrogeologist, part engineering geologist, part geophysicist, part regulatory affairs specialist, and part technical editor. These are in addition to being a wife and mother.
Chris has worked as a geologist and a geophysicist with an oil company, consulting firms, and industry. She has investigated property prior to development to look for landslides, faults, or contamination. Although these projects have taken her as far away as Japan, most project sites are closer to home, sometimes even as close as the neighborhood gas station with a leaking underground fuel tank. Currently she is an environmental project manager for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in California. She reads and interprets environmental regulations, oversees soil and groundwater investigations and clean-ups, and ensures that company procedures won't result in pollution problems.
Chris uses her geology training to search for hazardous wastes that have moved into the ground. Understanding the layers of soil and rock and the movement of groundwater are the keys to finding and cleaning up contamination. By collecting soil and water samples, a map of the underground pollution can be made. Then an environmental consultant determines whether the contamination is harmful to animals or people. Chris reviews these reports, presents them to her company's upper management and government regulators, supervises consultants, and keeps projects organized. To keep her projects organized, she leads weekly status meetings, keeps records and notes, watches the budget, and keeps people informed of the project's progress. She is largely responsible for making sure that the company fulfills environmental regulations. What she likes best about her work is that she has a lot of independence and responsibility and that her recommendations are accepted by her superiors.
The environmental field encompasses preventing, finding, and cleaning up hazardous wastes, water and air pollution, and soil and groundwater contamination. It is a growing area for both non-scientists and earth scientists that also has plenty of opportunities for women. As a scientist, you would collect and analyze data, prepare your conclusions and recommendations, and write reports. It helps to be organized, detail-oriented, adaptable to changes, and able to communicate clearly. Keeping our environment clean and safe for future generations is a great career goal.