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Career Advice from Lilly

2013 May 28

Lilly-PictureMy sister and I didn’t always get along growing up, but we both always had a strong interest in protecting the environment.  Now we are both doing environmental work, but in different ways.  You may remember my interview with Nefertiti.  Turns out her sister, Lilly Simmons, works at the EPA as well.  I decided to sit down with Lilly and find out more about her role at the EPA.

What is your position at the EPA?

I am an Environmental Scientist in the Underground Injection Branch within the Water Division.  I work with the regulation of shallow and deep injection wells. I help protect drinking water.

Do you have prior work experiences that lead you to the EPA?

I started at the EPA as an intern the summer before my senior year of college and have been here since.  During college I worked in my schools Admissions Office and have an appreciation for organized files, which is very helpful at the EPA.

What is a typical day like for you?

I start my day by checking my email and responding to any pressing matters.  I use excel to create spreadsheets for tests and tracking.  Some of my work involves technical review of permit files, mechanical integrity tests to make sure deep injection wells are not leaking, compliance assistance, and public notices. 

What is the best part of your job?

There are times when I almost forget about what I am doing at work because it is so specific, but then realize that I am helping to protect drinking water.  My work does have an impact.  This is my dream job, knowing I am doing my part to help the environment. 

Did you always have an interest in the environment?

Pretty much!  As a child I grew up in California when literally everyday was Earth Day.  Every day was about saving water, turning off lights, and planting trees.  I remember the first time I saw rain and I was actually frightened by it. 

What classes did you take in school that you use on the job today?

Math classes are obviously helpful.  I also took two engineering classes, where we did a lot of work in spreadsheets.  The environmental policy class I took was helpful for understanding the context of what we do at the EPA.  I have my Masters in Public Administration, which has also helped contextual.  I can understand the budget, policy and planning of the Agency more. 

Do you have any advice for kids today who have an interest in protecting our environment?

Learn everything you can about the environment.  Tell people that is what you want to do, and it will happen. 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

One Response leave one →
  1. Catherine Hall permalink
    May 28, 2013

    Dear Lilly,
    I really loved you comment you shared with me as we both have simmilar circumstances with our sisters. You sparked a memory, when I was about thirteen years old attending high school at break times, I would collect all the potatoe crisp bags around the school grounds and send them to the RSPCA in England. In return, I was very excited to recieve posters, badges, and other itmes. My soul I felt good about this because I was preventing less trash on the playgrounds and less plastic bagsscattered around the school grounds and best of all, I was raising money for a very good cause. In my young teenage mind, I felt I was making a small difference on the planet and animals were reaping the benfits finacially to get helptrhogh raising monies.
    Like you, I have always been passionate about the enviroment, the animals, hugging trees and anything that can make an impactthe earth in some way. As a returning adult to higher education, I decided to con tinue my education in the United states. During my classes I was blessed with most passionate professors at my college located below the Tamapa bay area in Florida.
    Once again, my heart was touched and my compassionate nature surfaced during the Oceanography evening classes located in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I felt that pull again from my childhood years, nature and the enviroment. Read furhtere books and the one I most enjoyed was by the auther, Willa Cather and her experince on the Nabraska praries and beautifully landscape, her connection tonature and the immigrant experince.
    Sea turtles being such magestic creatures of the sea and their amazing ability to return to there homes to lay te eggs for the nest generatin of sea turles just amazes me that furthere inspired me to become a volunteer during the sea turtle birthing season in Florida. Many years prior living in Casey Key, Florida, I witnessed the on a June full-moon night when a mother sea turtle came to the shore and laid here eggs under the brilliant glisening moonlight. Later informed that this was most indeed, ‘A rare event to have witnessed.”
    Rachel Carlsons book Silent Spring, brought a new awarness during the 1960′ movement here in the United States, and stressed the awareness of chemicals and their impact on the planet both animals freinds and humans emphasizing the need for protecting the enviroment. DTT was used at that time for the moskitoe control and demostrated it’s a direct effect on the birds that were found dead in gardens where the chemical had been sprayed. lawns. My heart weaped, I felt angry which propelled me to investigate further so I had to delve deeper reading othere books. I was also made awre how the top scientist came to the US goverment in 2006 and pointed out the pressing issue of the sea turtles who generaly can adapt to their enviroment and being the longest creature living over thousands of years on the planet, now are unable to survie or adapt and are falling to health issues and almost dissappearing from the oceans in large numbers.
    The Saint Petersburg television network for the university had a local channel on the television for the general public whcih I enjoyed watching so I enjoyed emensly. During the scinec classes I discoverd the both the east and west coast had similar issues with water contamination.
    How do I get involved in a movement where like you I can enjoy my passion to make a difference in the world. What is your suggestion of the first steps to be engaged in employment that I can utilize my passioons? I have loved to be in nature on Earth day and the Earth needs us more to use our voice in protecting here and making the planet a bettere place for others who will be birthed here wehter ehumans or animal kind.
    I await your guidence dear, I am happy you shared your voice and touch my heart.

    Blessings and love for mothere earth.

    Cathereine.

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