Women in Science: Noha Gaber — Building Bridges of Leadership and Collaboration

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By Noha Gaber

When I meet with college students to talk about the benefits of government service and the great work that we do at EPA, I usually put up a slide of a number of beautiful bridges and challenge the students to think about what I do here. After several guesses, I reveal that although I am an environmental engineer by training, I use my technical knowledge to serve as a metaphorical bridge builder at EPA. In my role as the Director of EPA’s Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling, I work with staff from across EPA to help ensure the quality, consistency and transparency of the computer models that EPA relies upon in its work. We are also working with a large number of U.S. and international collaborators to use these powerful tools to help promote sustainability and think of the environment as an integrated whole.

Shortly after I joined EPA, I came up with another bridge-building project! In early 2006 I started the EPA Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and worked with a small group of young EPA employees to develop ELN into a thriving organization that is helping to create a more collaborative, innovative and effective EPA. In just 5 years, ELN has grown to over 1000 members in EPA’s HQ and Regional Offices.  One of our coolest activities in 2010 was the ELN Chesapeake Bay Expedition, which provided a great leadership, development, networking and community service opportunity for about 50 ELN athletes and volunteers.

I joined EPA five years ago driven by a dream to make a significant positive impact in environmental and human health protection. I’ve learned a lot in this short time — about the Agency and its diverse programs and activities, the many dedicated and talented individuals who work here and about myself as a woman who builds human bridges. Above all, I’ve learned some important lessons about leadership, collaboration and making innovative ideas a reality. I leave you with my favorite motivational quote: “Collaboration: When a collection of brilliant minds, hearts and talents come together … expect a masterpiece.”

About the author: Noha Gaber is a team leader in the Office of the Science Advisor and enjoys participating in many community service, cultural and outdoor athletic activities in her spare time.

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