Nataly Hernandez has been with Tetra Tech since 2014 and works in the geosynthetic division of the company’s solid waste management practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering from Wichita State University. We spoke with Nataly as part of our #INWED19 campaign to not only celebrate our brilliant women engineers but also to raise their profiles and encourage those who aspire to become engineers and work in STEM. Follow #WomenInSTEM on social media for more stories.

What do you like about working at Tetra Tech?

I like Tetra Tech because of the work environment and because we have great benefits. I was fortunate to have a good boss who enjoys teaching and sharing his experiences. Thanks to him, I was able to move from being an assistant to an estimator in a short period of time. I am constantly learning new things to better my work as a geosynthetic estimator.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I have always been interested in how things work, and I have a good understanding of engineering concepts. My engineering background helps me in my work as an estimator to have a better understanding of the geosynthetic material properties, project specs, and engineering drawings for the projects we work on. My background also helps in communicating with project engineers.

How can we encourage female students to pursue a career in engineering?

Something that helped me pursue a career in engineering was an engineering class I took in high school. My teacher was a female engineer, and her class taught us about the different types of engineering careers available to study. We had work stations with activities for each engineering field. For our final class project, we designed two basic hovercrafts and raced them in the high school hallways. I thought it was a fun and exciting activity, and the fact that it was taught by a woman was a great motivator for female students to join the class.

What projects are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all the work we do on the West Coast of the United States. We install millions of square feet of geosynthetics yearly, which takes months to finish. These jobs are usually the ones I become more involved in because they require as-builts, and I enjoy the drafting part of my job.

What do you look forward to in the years to come in the engineering field?

I hope to continue my career at Tetra Tech and distinguish myself through hard work. Every year technology and materials in the geosynthetic field keep improving, thanks to our manufacturing engineers. I’m excited to see what new products come out and how they work to improve waste management and protect the environment.