Photo: Maria Jose Moreno Warfel
Veronica Jarrin has dedicated her life to STEM with multiple degrees in the fields of science and engineering. Currently helping the State of Georgia with water resource planning and forecasting, Veronica wants to empower women to choose their path and encourage more people to join her exciting career. This is her story in her own words.
Had you thought about moving to the US when growing up?
I did not give much thought to moving to the US when I was growing up. After high school, I planned to travel to Chile to study Environmental Engineering. I applied to the University of Georgia on a whim, and to my surprise I was accepted into the Environmental Science Program. I am very grateful for the experiences and education gained at the University of Georgia. The university experience was very fulfilling not only academically but also emotionally and socially.
When did you decide to move to the US?
After graduating with a Master’s degree, I accepted a job with CH2M, a large engineering company in the US. I have been with them for the past 15 years. The company offered a very diverse and global view of engineering. The team that I started working with was young and energetic with endless ideas. When I started working with them I knew that US was where I wanted to be.
What is your current profession? How did you prepare for it, both in education and prior experience?
I am a Water Resource Engineer and I work mainly with municipal clients. My job is to provide technical and regulatory support to water, wastewater and stormwater projects.
I have a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.S. in Biological Engineering and a M.S. in Agricultural Engineering. Before entering my Master’s program I worked in the US and also in Ecuador for a year and a half. I was hired because of my experience with Natural Treatment Systems, which are engineered wetlands designed to treat specific pollutants. My Master’s degree focused on the research and study of such systems.
In addition to Natural Treatment Systems, I started providing regulatory support to other projects for the Water Resources Group within the company. Because of the diversity of the project work available to me in the firm, I was gained expose to a variety of water resource projects including floodplain modeling and mapping, environmental planning and restoration, and municipal water supply. I became most actively involved in water resource planning and forecasting for the State of Georgia, and decided to focus on this field
What would you say are your contributions to your community and the country?
I feel as an Engineer my work is extremely valuable and focuses on the well-being of the communities I serve. Most people take many of the systems I work on and design for granted, and yet they are an essential part of protecting our environment, and enhancing our quality of life. As an engineer it is my responsibility not only to develop the best possible systems, but to execute these projects within strict budgets and limitations. In addition, I believe that it is part of my duty to increase awareness of water related issues, and to encourage more women to join this very exciting career.
Why have you decided to stay in the US?
I decided to stay because I enjoy my work, have a family and stronger ties to my community.
PHOTO: Browne Photography
What do you feel is your passion? Can you describe how this came about and how you express and live this passion?
After having children I think my passion is caring for them. I want them to follow their dreams. Career-wise I like doing the work and encountering new challenges.
What advice would you give to other Latina professional women, whether coming from Ecuador or other countries, or already in the US, to grow in their career?
I would advise them to take a chance when opportunities arise, and maximize each opportunity. We need to be reminded that we grow more from our failures than from our successes.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Empowering women is so important for our future and the future of the country as a whole. It does not matter if a woman decides to stay at home or pursue her career, both are very valuable activities that need to be supported and respected.
Thank you Veronica for sharing your story with us!