Print this page

Katie Higgins's Profile Picture

Katie Higgins
Bachelor Of Science - Earth And Space Sciences: Geology
Class of 2013


What made you decide to get into geosciences?
I was originally a pre-engineering student. I liked the applied-science aspects of engineering but I had a hard time getting excited about the multi-year slog of preliminary coursework. Luckily I found myself advised by a wise civil engineering professor who suggested that I seek out coursework in fields that are complementary to civil engineering to make me a more versatile engineer in the long-run. I took one geology course (ESS 211) and was totally hooked, so I figured ESS was where I needed to be! The department community kept me engaged both academically and socially throughout my undergraduate career with opportunities to: attend academic field trips (Death Valley, Hawaii, the American Southwest, Southwestern Montana, and various places of geologic interest in the state of Washington), take part in undergraduate research, attend academic conferences, and be an undergraduate teaching assistant. The professors are really what make the program - they are laid back, fun-loving, adventurous, and always approachable, all while teaching rigorous courses and doing world-class science!

What was your favorite part of the ESS department?
My favorite part about the major was applying the science in the field. I loved the coursework, but you really learn when you are out in the real world and nothing looks like the idealized examples you see in class. All the field trip opportunities were fantastic, but the best and most necessary applied work was the six-week field mapping course.

What are you doing now?
After graduating from the UW, I completed a Masters in Geoengineering at UC Berkeley. After graduating from UCB, I worked as a Senior Staff Engineer for a geotechnical consulting company (Fugro USA Land, Inc.) for a few years, and in January 2017 I joined the Geosciences Department at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as a Project Engineer/Geologist in San Francisco, California. The work I do is very interdisciplinary, applying both engineering geology and geotechnical engineering. Most of my work involves detecting, monitoring, and mitigating geohazards affecting utility assets such as roads, pipelines, and hydro facilities. I'm now a licensed professional geologist (PG) in California, and I plan to continue working toward becoming a certified engineering geologist (CEG).

Additional Contact Information
Feel free to email me!