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Undergraduate stormwater research influences career choice

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Undergraduate stormwater research influences career choice

Photo: Lauren Grubbs working on a USACE soil-sampling project.

Lauren Grubbs, CiE ‘12 worked as an honors undergraduate research assistant on Inniss’ stormwater project and attributes the work with pointing her down her chosen career path and with helping her land a job with CDM Smith as a water resource engineer. She is shown here working on a USACE soil-sampling project the company’s environmental group. Photo courtesy of Lauren Grubbs

Lauren Grubbs, CiE ’12, was an honors undergraduate research student who worked with Assistant Teaching Professor Enos Inniss during her senior year, evaluating bioretention performance for stormwater quality and quantity controls.

“As part of the research, we looked at methods to improve volume reduction capacity for these types of BMPs,” Grubbs said. “I also worked in the lab running water quality analyses for three model bioretention cell mixtures that filtered synthetic rainfall through the soil media to evaluate pollutant removal performance.”

Grubbs said that at the time she began working with Innis, the idea of stormwater control was new to her. Even before participating in the research, she was leaning toward environmental engineering.

“It was my first real introduction to green infrastructure, and it set me on the career path that I am on today. I work as a water resources engineer for CDM Smith, specializing in stormwater management. I can attribute my hiring directly to my undergraduate research experience,” Grubbs said. “It landed me my position in the water resources group with CDM Smith. I would not have had this knowledge, experience or interest if not for participating in Dr. Inniss’ undergraduate research,” she said.

Grubbs currently works on both green infrastructure design projects and specifications/design guideline development related to both water quality and quantity controls for cities throughout the U.S.

“Without my experience with the undergraduate research program, I may never have been introduced to this field. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Inniss for including me in his research program and giving me a base on which I could build my career.”

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