Environmental Scientist, Georgia-Pacific

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Find a classmate/colleague that will help be your champion too.

Ellen Speace

What do you do?

I ensure environmental compliance with all applicable Federal/State regulations. My work revolves around identifying, quantifying, and reporting actual emissions and potential emissions from manufacturing processes and facilities. I focus on air pollutants, stormwater quality, waste disposals, and equipment maintenance and aim to reduce environmental impact day after day.

Why did you choose this field?

Yes, in the middle of a 500 person lecture hall - I realized I was never going to apply Organic Chemistry in my everyday life. On the flip side, I saw an infinite potential to use my Applied Environmental Science coursework and improve the community around me. I loved every environmental science topic, assignment, and challenge.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

In today's world, there is an environmental impact from everything we do. You can literally work anywhere and in any field. Lean in to operations and don't settle for being "a corporate service function" of the company.

Why do you love working in STEM?

My STEM career is so fulfilling in two ways: I love being able to apply concepts I have learned and work through the results, plus there is room to be creative and continue to use the scientific method to generating more value for society. I wake up looking forward to helping the community around me.

Best advice for next generation?

Find a classmate/colleague that will help be your champion too. You are smart, you are talented, you are the best person for this job, but occasionally there will be obstacles set against you from years of unrepresented female workers. A good champion will motivate you in the hard times. Oh and don't forget, that new girl on the team needs you to be her champion too! We rise together.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Go big, or go home."

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