University of Maryland alum Maryam Dadabhoy hails from Karachi, Pakistan—one of the world’s busiest and most congested cities. According to a study conducted 2017, 90% of the water in Karachi is unfit to for human consumption—a major problem in a city of more than 20 million inhabitants. Maryam, who believes that “water is every citizen’s basic right,” is hoping to help solve that problem. According to Maryam, “The state of affairs in Karachi is unfortunate and has sparked my interest in water treatment.” She channels that interest into her work—in DC, Maryam is part of a project directly related to water treatment.
Maryam is a civil engineer working for HDR, Inc. who graduated with a Master of Engineering in Project Management (MEng) from the University of Maryland in May 2017. With HDR, Inc. she is part of a construction management team working on the DC Clean Rivers Project, a massive infrastructure and support program designed to capture and clean wastewater before it reaches the waterways in the District of Columbia (DC). The scope of the project entails the development of deep tunnels, sewers and diversion facilities to reduce combined sewage from overflowing into the Anacostia & Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek. As they are now, the DC waterways are so polluted that people are advised against swimming in them, especially following storm events. If the project stays on schedule, the waterways should be clean enough to swim in by 2025.
Maryam’s role on the team is that of a field and office engineer. “I am out on the field overseeing the work of general contractors, ensuring environmental provisions are put in place and general quality control.” One aspect of her job she really enjoys is how her team is made up of people with different backgrounds and perspectives, including teammates from the United States, Myanmar, South Africa, Iran, Pakistan, and Venezuela. “Working with a diverse team to overcome challenges has been very interesting because every team member brings a unique perspective and ideas on how to tackle the problems. We then integrate the ideas into solutions. I have learned a great deal from their unique perspectives.”
Maryam has a BS in Civil Engineering, but realized having a project management background would be just as important as her technical degree if she wanted to advance her career. “Technical skills are important, but in order to move up at any company, project management skills are a must,” Maryam stated.
“The University of Maryland’s Master of Engineering in Project Management (MEng) program was the perfect match for me since it provided project management skills while keeping my technical background in mind.”
While working on her masters, Maryam took a combination of on campus and online courses. “I was pleasantly surprised by how well organized the online courses were and the quality of the lecture recordings. Questions asked by students during the recordings were audible and I could even watch them on the Canvas app on my phone.”
One of the most meaningful aspects of the program for Maryam was the professors. “They are all very accomplished career-wise and know how to transfer that knowledge to their students. Any time I approached a professor, they were extremely helpful.” Professor Jocelyn Davis was one person who had a major influence on her: “Professor Jocelyn was very inspirational, intelligent, and extremely talented. She taught us the importance of positive psychology and personality types in the work place.” Maryam has been able to apply much of what Professor Davis taught her while on the job and has seen positive results. “Being in a trailer on the project with the same people for three years can result in challenges. What Professor Jocelyn taught in her ‘Managing Project Teams’ course helped me overcome these challenges in a beneficial way.”
Besides being helpful in her current position at HDR, Inc., Maryam liked that what she learned through the program is also are transferable to other career paths, since project management is such a broad field. “It has opened up many opportunities for me.”
Maryam Dadabhoy, Master of Engineering Graduate (MEng) May 2017, Civil Engineer, HDR, Inc.