For Janine Yieh, MS ’06, a six-month internship with EA Engineering, Science, and Technology last year allowed her to get her feet wet—both literally and figuratively—in the world of environmental engineering, including wastewater management. In one project for the Carroll County Department of Public Works, she worked to upgrade the municipality’s sludge dewatering facilities, going on site to inspect and gather information to evaluate alternative design proposals.
“The internship was extremely interesting and relevant for me because it directly applied what I was learning in the classroom,” Yieh says. “It taught me how consulting actually works.” Yieh is the first recipient of EA’s newly created Jensen Fellowship, established in 2005 to sponsor a student pursuing a master’s degree in the Whiting School’s Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering (DoGEE). Named in honor of EA’s founder and current chairman, Loren Jensen, the fellowship covers a student’s tuition for two semesters and provides an internship at EA’s Hunt Valley, Maryland, office. The completion of the two semesters and the internship earns the student the 30 credits needed to complete the department’s master’s degree requirements.
EA employs 430 people in 22 locations across the United States as consultants on water resource issues, environmental problems, and regulatory issues. Launched in 1973 by Jensen, an expert in freshwater biology and former professor of environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins, the company has always had close ties with the university. EA currently employees 10 DoGEE graduates, many DoGEE students have done their PhD work on EA projects, and some of EA’s staff members teach in the Engineering Programs for Professionals. The Jensen Fellowship was created to build on these existing relationships.
“The benefit to us is that we get someone who’s very bright in here helping us with our work,” says Ian MacFarlane, EA president and CEO. “By tying it to the master’s program we found that we can attract even better, brighter students.”
EA Vice President Jonathan Brownstein was Yieh’s mentor during her internship. “Because she was already working on an advanced degree,” he notes, “engineers from many departments were competing for her time. Everyone wanted Janine on their project.” During her internship, Yieh worked with EA’s Facilities Management and Engineering group, the Water, Natural Resources, and Ecotoxicology group, and the Site Characterization and Remediation group.
Having a bright intern in the ranks wasn’t the only benefit the executives at EA foresaw. “The mid-Atlantic region is an intensely competitive environment for finding talented people,” says Brownstein. MacFarlane agrees. “We aren’t a huge, national name brand,” he says. “By supporting these students, they get to know us instead of one of our competitors. If they decide to stay and become a full-time employee, it’s icing on the cake.”
Yeah, in fact, did sign on with EA after earning her master’s degree and is now a project engineer with the company. “It’s a pretty unique partnership with many benefits for all involved,” MacFarlane says. “I can’t figure out why other companies aren’t doing it.”