Meet our P.G. of the Week: Carol May, P.G., Environmental Scientist, Halff Associates

Through out the state of Texas, Professional Geoscientists are working hard to to protect public health, safety and welfare, along with the state’s natural resources. Carolyn May is one of those Professional Geoscientists, as she works diligently as an Environmental Scientist in Richardson, Texas, having obtained her PG Licensure in January of 2018. That’s one of the many reasons she’s been chosen for this Employee Spotlight. Say hello to Carolyn May!

 
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Tell us about your background. What do you do, your interests, hobbies, etc?

I am from Bryan/College Station.  I played softball and have always enjoyed being outside.  I enjoy running, all sports, traveling, and hanging out with friends.  I am currently training for a double half marathon – a half marathon one day and a half marathon the next.

 

What college did you attend? Did college prepare you for the ASBOG?

I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Bioenvironmental Science from Texas A&M University and I am currently working towards my Masters in Soil, Water, and Environmental Science at Auburn University.  I anticipate graduating in the Spring of 2019.

 
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Why did you become a licensed professional geoscientist?

I became a PG to further my ability to protect the public and the environment.  With my PG, I am able to seal documents associated with environmental investigations that are required by state and local agencies.  This also allows me to supervise others that are conducting investigations and teach them the proper ways to complete investigations.

 

How long have you been a professional geoscientist?

I obtained my PG in January 2018 after a few attempts at passing the Professional Practice portion of the Certified Soil Scientist exam.

 

How have you helped the public with your PG license?

I help protect the public daily with the work that I am involved in.  I complete Risk-Based Assessment including subsurface investigations, affected property assessments, and municipal setting designation applications.  I review laboratory analytical data to determine if concentrations of chemicals of concern (COC) in environmental media exceed protective concentration levels and evaluate if human health and ecological exposure pathways are complete.  I develop site specific protective concentration levels by reviewing soil, hydrologic, and geologic information.  I also evaluate data to determine if effected media is potentially extending off-site, which would increase the potential for public exposure to COCs.  This protects the public by ensuring that COC concentrations are below levels that could impact the public’s health and this prevents exposure to chemicals that could harm them.

 
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How does your job require you to use your PG license?

The Risk-Based Assessments submitted to state and local agencies require that a PG seal the documents. This ensures the agencies that the investigations and data presented in the submitted documents were completed and reviewed in an ethical manner and that I have the education and experience to complete the investigations.   Without a PG license, there would be no way to hold someone submitting these documents accountable for the information provided and there would be no guarantee that environmental investigations were completed in an ethical manner.

 

As a licensed PG, what is the most interesting thing you have seen or done? 

This one is a hard question to answer.  Everyday, there’s something new to discover or learn in this field.  Everyday is presented with different challenges and potential.  I’ve had the opportunity to work at gorgeous, pristine properties where it didn’t seem like work and I’ve worked in some places that may not have even been safe to be at.  I’ve traveled all over Texas and have had the opportunity to meet with so many different property owners.  I’ve also had the opportunity to help those property owners.  So many times, I’ve brought a piece of a soil core back to the office as a show-and-tell, either because it was something so strange or because it was an interesting lithologic change.  I think one of the most interesting jobs was standing in the Rio to collect a surface water sample.  Opportunities like that don’t happen often.

 

What would you tell someone in school who wants to gain their PG Licensure?

Take the Fundamentals as soon as you can.  Pay attention in your classes and save your textbooks.  Start studying now.

 

Why is licensure in the state of Texas important to you?

Licensure in the state of Texas is important for multiple reasons:

  • Licensed professionals in Texas understand the geology and hydrogeology of Texas.  We’ve worked here for several years and we know which geologic features serve as preferential pathways and which serve to inhibit migration.  We also understand the importance of protecting our groundwater.

  • Each state has their own environmental organization and regulations.  PGs in Texas understand the regulations and the in-depth Texas Risk Reductions Rules (TRRP) that govern investigations conducted in Texas.  These rules may be interpreted differently by a licensed professional who does not have the experience of a Texas PG.  This would increase the time that regulators would have to spend reviewing documents submitted under TRRP and this would increase tax payer dollars spent.

  • Certain entities, banks for one, require or prefer to have PGs complete the environmental work and investigations that are completed on their behalf.  If they are not able to have a PG in Texas complete the work, they will find a PG in the neighboring states.  This would have an impact on the economy of Texas.

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