Cinque Terre

Aelisa Carr

Civil Engineer, Engineering Educator, Entrepreneur
10+  years of work experience
Favorite Quote or Motto: Do it!
UC Davis - Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Civil and Environmental Engineering2004

My Story

External Video

Our education collaborators are working on programs to implement the app in STEM classrooms and clubs for kids and teens nationally and around the world to learn about how engineering shapes our every day lives. Kids and teens in these programs will be invited to connect with engineers through the app so they can meet and interact with professionals in their fields of interest. Please contact us to learn more about the program and how you can participate.

Technical Expertise

flood study, stormwater, project management

Career Status

  • Currently working in engineering-related field
  • Previously worked as engineer

I am...

A civil engineer turned entrepreneur, software developer, and engineering educator with an energetic 3 year old that keeps me on my toes and inspires me.

I chose to be a Civil Engineer, Engineering Educator, Entrepreneur because...

I've always been fascinated with the built environment and had a love for the outdoors and the natural environment. Civil Engineering offered pathways to be part of shaping and influencing both.

I like my job because...

My 11 year career engineering was full of ups and downs. There were exciting times of getting to work on challenging, fast-paced, and impactful projects with great people and amazing teams. There were also challenging times where I felt like despite all the hard work it wasn't getting me anywhere. At the end of the day now I look back and think wow! How amazing that I got to work on all these projects that people will benefit from for decades to come. It's easy to get caught in the day-to-day and lose sight of the big picture of what you're doing.

My typical day at work involves...

When I was practicing as an engineer my day typically involved emails, meetings with colleagues and team members, drafting designs, and talking with clients.

I want others to know...

That there's flexibility in engineering, and lots of opportunities to create whatever life you want to lead. All this work helping others discover the joys of engineering makes me want to be an engineer again! Fortunately I am discovering there are still opportunities to do so. That and engineering is an exiting field that needs more people of ALL types, including extroverted people-people that you may not think of as being engineers. Engineering is for everyone.

My engineering education has helped me ...

My engineering education helped me get over my fear of problems and made me look forward to and enjoy challenging problems. This extends to other areas of my life where I allow myself to be outside my comfort zone (giving me access to the growth and opportunity that comes along with that). It also helped me to become resourceful and more systematic, and to have faith that if you continue to stick with a problem, work on it, and persist with it you will find a solution.

This is My Story

Neither of my parents went to college so I relied on helping family friends and public school counselors to navigate the application process. Though it was not easy it was well worth it! Going to UC Davis, meeting new friends there, and studying engineering was a transformative experience that put me on a positive upward trajectory. Growing up I always knew I wanted to be more financially secure. Now I know that matter what there is an underlying sense of security that my degree in engineering affords as I have a strong safety net and foundation that I can always fall back on. Plus, the more I work on encouraging others to consider engineering, the more appreciation I gain for the great honor and privilege it is to work as an engineer, so it is a great "fall back" to have. You get to meet and work with lots of awesome and talented people, and on top of that with every project, big or small, you get to have a real and tangible impact on the world around you.

Hobbies and interests

Hikingrunningswimmingswimming

What college classes have you used most?

Hydrology and Statistics

What skills have been most important to your career?

I found that the ability to work with others and effectively communicate have been most important to my career. In addition, it has been important to be willing to work outside your comfort.

Projects I've Worked On

RePicture App

San Francisco, CA, United States

Discipline

Ideator, Outreach Officer, UX Design

Description of Role

One of my jobs on this project has been to reach out to educators, organizations, companies, municipalities and engineers to enroll them in our project. Another job I've had is to work closely with the designer, the product manager, and the software developers to develop the App from our initial concept to what it is now. A big part of this is prioritizing what we should do first, which is constantly changing!

A Typical Day On This Project

What I love about working on this project is that over the course of over 2 years there is no typical day, though lately a typical day often starts early and ends late as we pushed to complete the Alpha App. The project has had me meeting with and keeping up with collaborators, reaching out to and meeting new people, learning how to make and edit videos, interviewing engineers for podcasts, and throughout the process constantly re-evaluating what we should be focusing on first.

What I Liked About This Project

I love that this project has allowed me the opportunity me to meet so many people doing so many inspiring things, and has also had me doing so many different types of things on any given day of the week. From meeting with the CEO of a large international engineering company or large national trade organization to learning how to make and edit videos and podcasts, to interviewing businesses about their needs, to pitching our idea to investors and classrooms of brilliant entrepreneurs, to visiting high school classrooms to talk about what it's like to be a Civil Engineer!

How many years of relevant experience did you have when you worked on this project?

10 to 20 years years


RFK Stadium Campus Assessment Study

Worldwide

Discipline

Civil Engineer

Description of Role

My team gathered and compiled existing utility information and translated the raw data into design parameters. Using our experience working in the District we understood and were able to relay the options and limitations around building above existing underground infrastructure.

A Typical Day On This Project

Coordinating with the client, visiting the site, attending meetings with the team, visiting DC Water to conduct research, and developing existing conditions plans to be part of the final report.

How many years of relevant experience did you have when you worked on this project?

5 to 10 years years


The Wharf Phase I

950 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

Discipline

Civil Engineer

Description of Role

This project had unique water-related considerations and requirements as it is adjacent to the Washington Channel, a large watereway in DC, and is also within the Anacostia Waterfront Development Zone so must comply with more stringent stormwater regulations. My role was to gain FEMA approval of the Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR). To get a CLOMR you have to show FEMA that you are meeting all of their requirements, such as that the development will not adversely affect other landowners. I also had to ensure that water being captured on the site was retained and treated to meet stormwater regulations.

A Typical Day On This Project

Running stormwater models, designing underground retention facilities, preparing stormwater permit plans, reviewing plans and checking other's work.

What I Liked About This Project

The Wharf is a high profile project and it was fun to be working on something that would have such a big an impact on the the nation's capital and that people from around the world will be able to visit and enjoy.

How many years of relevant experience did you have when you worked on this project?

5 to 10 years years


Intercounty Connector MD 200

Intercounty Connector, Silver Spring, MD 20905, USA

Discipline

Civil Engineer

Description of Role

Lead Engineer for Erosion and Sediment Control

A Typical Day On This Project

Designing erosion and sediment control facilities, preparing and reviewing plans, working closely with other teams doing other parts of the design (such as roadway, stormwater, bridge design, etc). The challenging part of this work was the fast pace and planning for different phases of construction. The erosion and sediment control facilities had to be adjusted as the work progressed to ensure that the water was captured and filtered as the new road grading progressed.

What I Liked About This Project

What I liked most about this project was working with my team. We called ourselves a well-oiled machine and I'm really proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

This was a past-paced and high-profile project that often required staying late into the night. Everyone pulled together to get us across the finish line and meet our deadlines and it was a rewarding team effort.

How many years of relevant experience did you have when you worked on this project?

2 to 5 years years


I Look Like a Civil Engineer Photo Booth

National Building Museum, F Street Northwest, Washington, DC, United States

Discipline

Owner


The Wharf, DC – Floodplain Study

The Wharf DC, Maine Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC, USA

Discipline

Civil Engineer

Job Title At Time of This Project

Senior Engineer

Description of Role

This project had unique water-related considerations and requirements as it is adjacent to the Washington Channel, a large waterway in DC. My role was to gain FEMA approval of the Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR). To get a CLOMR you have to show FEMA that you are meeting all of their requirements, such as that the development will not adversely affect other landowners.

A Typical Day On This Project

The projected involved a lot of coordination with the City's floodplain manager, the project designers, and the project's owner.

I also ran the hydraulic computer models to show the project had no upstream impact and I did the CLOMR paperwork.

What I Liked About This Project

The Wharf is a high profile project and it was fun to be working on something that would have such a big an impact on the nation's capital and that people from around the world will be able to visit and enjoy.

How many years of relevant experience did you have when you worked on this project?

5 to 10 years

Who would you like to thank or acknowledge for their work on this project?

Jerry Kavadias and James Gapinski (my supervisors at the time), and Matt Steenhoek, for putting their trust in me and for providing support and resources, Phetmano Phannavong (DDOE) and Ben Kaiser (representing FEMA) for guiding me through the process


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