By Ellen Ternes, from E@M Spring 2016
Tunnel Vision Keeps Abate on Track for Master’s Degree
When civil engineer Bethel Abate (B.S. ’06, M.E ‘12) talks about her project management duties, she talks big. Really big. As part of the DC Water’s DC Clean Rivers Project team, Abate is a project manager on a portion of the 2.6 billion dollar, 13-mile tunnel system that is designed to improve the water quality in the Anacostia, Potomac and Rock Creek Rivers by 2025.
“By 2025, the project aims to reduce the combined sewer overflows by up to 98% significantly improving water quality and visibly reducing trash /floatables, making the rivers cleaner for both people and aquatic life”
“The project involves building huge metro tunnel sized (23 feet in diameter) tunnels that run 100 feet underground under the Districts roads and rivers, picking up combined flows from various areas in the district. Flow which would otherwise go directly into the rivers untreated during heavy rain events” Abate describes. “By 2025, the project aims to reduce the combined sewer overflows by up to 98% significantly improving water quality and visibly reducing trash /floatables, making the rivers cleaner for both people and aquatic life”
Abate joined DC Clean Rivers team soon after her graduation from the Clark School. While the idea of continuing her education was always in the back of Abate’s mind, the project provided the motivation to beef up her project management skills.
The Clark School’s Master’s of Engineering in Project Management was the perfect fit for Abate’s busy schedule. “As a Maryland grad, I already knew the quality of education I will obtain from Maryland,” notes Abate, who juggled her fulltime job while taking both campus-based and online courses after work. “Managing time for the course work, in addition to a demanding work schedule was a bit challenging. But with so many online courses to choose from, there is flexibility to work with your schedule, no matter how busy you are.”
“The faculties are amazing”
Abate has found the program’s applied approach especially valuable. “The faculties are amazing,” she adds. “They are professionals who have real-life experience from lawyers practicing contract law, to engineers working in the field, to owners managing the construction side with a plethora of knowledge and experience to tap from.”
Abate admits, “My master’s will be valuable for job promotion. It also makes people feel comfortable having a project manager with the education to back it up.”