Katherine Leigh Herr
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, be an undergraduate teaching assistant , take part in department-wide social events like the holiday party and spring BBQ. 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 the necessity for outdoor work and exploration. I loved the coursework, but you really learn when you are out in the field and nothing looks like the idealized examples in the textbooks. All the field trip opportunities were fantastic, but the best and most necessary applied work was the six-week field mapping course. I loved applying the coursework I had been studying just as much as I loved working outdoors!
What are you doing now?
After graduating from the UW, I completed a Masters in Geoengineering at UC Berkeley. My background in geology lent me a unique perspective and skill set in this civil engineering program. After graduating from UCB, I worked as a Senior Staff Engineer for a geotechnical consulting company (Fugro USA Land, Inc.) for 2.5 years, further bolstering the engineering side of my career education. 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. I plan to continue working toward becoming a licensed professional geologist (PG) and certified engineering geologist (CEG), and perhaps also becoming a licensed professional engineer (PE) and geotechnical engineer (GE).
Additional Contact Information
Feel free to email me!