Patricia – Environmental impact assessment coordinator

Patricia Tumwine is an Environmental impact assessment coordinator working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a major new sewer that will help protect the River Thames from increasing pollution.

Here, Patricia talks you through her role in the project and why she became an environmental scientist. Read on to find out if this is an area you could see yourself in and maybe you will follow in her footsteps…

What is your role on the project?

I am a co-ordinator for the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). We are undertaking an EIA to understand the environmental benefits and impacts that construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project may have. This involves working with a large team of specialists ranging from ecologists who undertake surveys on current environmental conditions, to the noise team who use models to predict anticipated noise levels during construction and operation of the tunnel.

Can you describe how you became an environmental scientist?

I studied a degree in biology at Royal Holloway University and then went on to do a Masters (MSc) in Aquatic Resource Management at Kings College London. During the MSc I studied environmental management of aquatic resources. Following university I obtained a job with the engineering company Ove Arup and have been working in their EIA team since 2007.

Why did you become a STEM Ambassador?

I have always had an interest in STEM subjects, particularly science. As a student I was unaware of the vast range of careers available through the study of STEM subjects. I became an ambassador to pass on my enthusiasm of science and promote the great number of opportunities available through studying STEM subjects.

What is the best thing about being a STEM Ambassador?

The great thing about being an ambassador is being able to work with young people who are keen to learn about the opportunities available to them through STEM subjects. It is also great being able to pass on knowledge I have gained through my own experiences and be inspired by the enthusiasm these young people have.

How has being a STEM Ambassador helped your professional/personal development?

Being an ambassador has provided me with opportunities to develop useful skills such as presenting skills. Presenting at STEM events is different to presenting in front of my peers as I need to ensure that the material is applicable for the pupils. Also, I have found that the pupils can sometimes be more engaging which means I need to be better prepared for all types of questions that may arise.

What is the best thing about working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project?

The best thing about working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project is working as part of a large multidisciplinary team to deliver a key project that will significantly improve the water quality in the tidal River Thames. All the teams work closely together to influence the design and ensure that the benefits of the Thames Tideway Project will be achieved.

What are you aspirations for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years I would like to be in a more senior management role. I hope to continue working on interesting and diverse initiatives such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.


This career profile is part of the new set of Tunnelworks educational resources that aims to bring the curriculum to life through study of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.