Megan Eves | Arcadis | Associate Vice President & Principal Scientist
Beginning Interests… I fell in love with chemistry when I was a junior in high school. The thing that really hooked me was when we got to burn stuff. Learning that different metals and metal ions burned different colors was so fun, and immediately got me thinking about the process for creating fireworks. It happened again in my first-year college chemistry class when the professor poured some liquids into a beaker, stirred a bit and then pulled out an ever-growing chain of polyester. As I worked my way through college, I realized I could build an inter-disciplinary major in environmental chemistry, taking classes in chemistry, biology, geology, physics and math – this was such a great way to develop a broad-based understanding of how the world works, how to ask questions and how to go after the answers in a logical way.
A Day at Work… The best part of my job is there is no typical day. I’m a consultant, so I solve problems for my clients. One day I might be focused on accounting for all the oil that spilled and burned when a train derailed and caught fire. Another day I might spend the morning creating online training materials to prepare people to evaluate working conditions at global manufacturing sites, and then in the afternoon, develop a strategic plan to help a company improve their approach to complying with environmental protection requirements. I love looking for the unexpected threads of connectively across really different types of projects.
Career Evolution… I started out my career thinking I wanted to work in a chemistry lab, and I did that for a little bit. But before long, I realized that while there were quite a few nerds like me who loved to do the science, there weren’t that many people who were great at explaining what we were doing or why it was important or why people should care. I was working for a state environmental agency, so helping non-scientists understand and answer those questions was really important. I purposefully made a shift to bridge the gap between the technical experts and the people we need to reach – I often feel like a scientific and technical translator. Then I leveraged that ability to see things from another’s perspective to become a master problem solver. All my training in logic and the scientific method help me analyze and question everything so we can find interesting and exciting possibilities and solutions.
LOVE the Work… The absolute best parts of my job are that I get to work with super smart people all over the world and team up with them to tackle a wide variety of ever-changing challenges. I really do learn new things every day.
Surprising, but True… You absolutely do NOT have to have it all figured out. If you head into a career with intellectual curiosity, ready to ask questions, listen to what people share and be open to possibilities – you’ll probably wind up somewhere really exciting.
Advice… Seek out other people who are life-long learners, regardless of their area of expertise. Everything is connected – none of the STEAM disciplines can exist in a vacuum – so look for the linkages. Read novels, visit art museums, take apart machines and try to put them back together. Keep your curiosity alive.
These wonder women are redefining what “full STEAM ahead” means in Arkansas. With exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics – each reflects WIT (Women in Tech) and true grit for making the most of every opportunity. Here’s to the powHER of knowledge.
Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography