Environmental Engineering

Pam McLeod's Dream Job

Pam works for an online travel company called Whole Travel, which promotes sustainable tourism. As Pam says, “Tourists should leave a small footprint, natural ecosystems should be preserved and protected, and tourist activities should directly benefit the local community.”

What she does
Pam is a sustainability specialist, responsible for evaluating the environmental practices of the hotels and resorts featured on the company's site. Pam examines a resort’s water and energy conservation practices and recycling programs, and determines whether the resort does a good job of protecting local plants and wildlife.

“But we also need to think about how the hotel interacts with the local community, “ Pam says. “A more sustainable hotel or resort will train and employ local citizens, keep most of its revenues in the local area, and support local businesses.”

Where engineering comes in
 “My background as an environmental engineer has exposed me to a host of environmental issues that feed directly into my work at Whole Travel. But while the job builds upon my technical skills and knowledge, it is not an ‘engineering’ position per se.”

Where she lives
Pam lives in Menlo Park, California.

Education
B.S in environmental engineering, Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York; M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

Research
In grad school, Pam researched how harmful chemicals such as PCBs and DDT spread from water and sediment into the aquatic food web. She evaluated the effectiveness of new technologies that are designed to absorb these contaminants and prevent them from spreading into animals.

The best part of being an engineer
“For me, the most rewarding aspect of being an engineer is knowing that I’m helping solve problems. Whether the problem at hand involves contaminated sediment or unsustainable tourism, I like being on the front line developing new strategies to improve the situation.”

Hobbies
Pam loves cooking and hiking, and she recently joined an improvisational acting group.

  • Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer
  • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Special fields and Interdisciplinary Engineer