Pratistha Kansakar

Alum, Master's
Hydrology & Hydrodynamics

How did you first become interested in engineering?

I became interested in engineering after I came to Seattle. One of the very first things I did after arriving in Seattle was take a tour at West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. This field trip somewhat shaped my career and interest thereon after. After that, I came across numerous mentors who encouraged me along the way, eventually leading me to my career choice as a water resources engineer.

Why did you choose UW Civil & Environmental Engineering?

UW has one of the strongest hydrology and hydrodynamics program in the region. Having worked in consulting for the past few years, I was looking for a university that offered a non-thesis graduate program with a focus in water resources. I specifically chose UW because it offers a wide variety of courses pertinent to water resources.

What did you enjoy most about the program?

The program had some of the finest professors who put extra effort in making what they teach relevant to the current issues we face in the water sector. In addition, the diversity among faculty and students largely contributed in making my graduate program experience exceptional.

If you were involved in research while completing the program, what did you work on?

I have not been involved in any research per se, but I got an opportunity to work with Dr. Faisal Hossain in conducting a literature review on the application of satellite earth observation data for global societal benefit, specifically in developing countries.

Where are you working? Please describe your job.

I work at Brown and Caldwell as a Water Resources Engineer. My job is to assist in design and planning projects for various stormwater, wastewater and drinking water utilities both locally and nationally. Planning projects is often comprised of developing hydraulic/hydrologic and distribution models, capital improvement plans and preparing various permitting documents.

How did your UW CEE degree prepare you for your career?

Having had a few years of industry experience prior to graduate school, getting a master's degree from UW solidified and expanded my knowledge as a water resources engineer. The classes at UW effectively maintain the delicate balance between emphasizing the theories while also highlighting the applications in the real world to make it relevant for people like me who work as a consulting engineer. UW offers a wide variety of classes and excellent guidance from faculty to ensure that your program plan is tailored to what your career path is like - be it working in environmental consulting, public agency, research or academia. 

Any advice for prospective students who are considering UW CEE?

I would like to advise students to consider getting some work experience prior to graduate school. For me personally, having few years of experience has not only helped me understand what my own strengths and weaknesses are but has also given me an opportunity to recognize the skills that are valuable in the industry. Having that experience has helped me stay focused on what I want to accomplish from the graduate program at UW.