Lauren Helland

Lauren Helland

Environmental Engineer
CDM Smith
MT, United States
Lauren Helland
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Growing up I was a rock collector, an animal lover and a space geek. I can't say I'm not still all of those things, but I pursued my love for math and science and transformed it into a career in engineering. I am now an environmental engineer for an engineering consulting company that dabbles in a variety of engineering fields. On the side I love to spend my time outdoors (hiking, biking, floating, fishing, etc), playing board games, arts and crafts, training with other women in Pink Gloves Boxing and working out with my husband at CrossFit.
Bachelors of Science degree in Geological Engineering, specializing in Hydrogeology and a Minor in Mathematics from Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Masters of Science degree in Geosciences, emphasis in Hydrogeological Engineering.
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Lauren Helland

Hi Lisa!

What a great question! Depending on what aspect of Environmental Engineering you are interested in (sounds like renewable energy!), you definitely have the opportunity to use computer science and programming skills. Though I personally have not done much with programming or renewable energy, I know there is definitely a need related to wastewater treatment system design, water modeling (groundwater, surface water, contaminant transport, geochemical modeling, etc), and other avenues of environmental engineering. If you get started with an environmental engineering program at a college or university, I highly recommend asking the faculty of that department if they have connections to people in the industry that would be able to answer your question more specifically.

Best of luck!


Hi Latoya -

So glad to hear from you! Though it is my personal opinion, I do not believe you are ever too old to get a new degree or start a new career. Though I was considered a "traditional student", starting college right after I graduated from high school, I had several college peers that were over the age of 35 starting or continuing their degree in engineering. Most of which had backgrounds that had nothing to do with engineering. And they now have very successful careers in engineering! 

A very basic description of engineering is problem solving. Be it environmental, structural, civil or whatever problem solving, that is (very basically) what engineers do. I found math associated with engineering was much more practical and "visually oriented" once you start getting into calculus and differential equations. Being that you love science, I believe the understanding of math will come with time as they tend to go hand in hand. 

Engineering is a very broad field, so the best thing to do now is to just get familiar with what your options are and potentially narrow down what aspect of engineering you are most interested in (for example, environmental, civil, structural, chemical, geological, petroleum, etc). Talking with people that are working engineers, or connecting with professors/teachers at local universities and colleges is a great way to become more familiar with your options. There is a lot of information on the internet as well. 

When you get to a point where you think you might know what you want to do, start researching schools. I used College Board to research schools based on degree, cost, and location: gh-cs. Contacting the faculty of the department you are interested in, is also a great way to become more familiar with the area of study you are interested in pursuing.

I hope this helps! I know once you decide what you want to do, everything will fall into place! Best of luck! 

Hi Mahalia!

It's so great to hear from you, and to see that you have interest in becoming an environmental engineer! Enrolling in a variety of math and science courses while in school is a great start. If your are interested in the environmental aspect of engineering, taking classes like chemistry, physics, astronomy and biology are an important base for engineering. When I was in high school, I found several science/engineering/math based summer programs/camps offered by local universites and colleges that I enrolled in, that really helped further my interest in engineering. 

Hope that helps!
Lauren Helland