Employee Focus: Abby Watson

Abby Watson is a Water Resources Engineer at Riverside. She came to Riverside in August of 2015 after graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also spent a couple of months in Ghana implementing a small-scale water treatment center in a rural village in the northern region of the country. Let’s get to know a little bit more about Abby!

Abby dressed up as a bottle of Sriracha chili sauce for Halloween.

 1. What three traits describe you?

Enthusiastic, gregarious, hardworking

2. What are you most excited or passionate about in your career?

I love that we get to use science and engineering (can you say F.U.N.?!) to help people, ensuring our water resources are managed to provide drinking water, prevent flooding, and encourage recreation. While that is more than enough to motivate me, I am also fascinated with the challenge to manage our water resources in the context of future uncertainties related to climate change. This is something that will impact my own kids and their kids as well as the Earth itself. I am very lucky that I get to work at a company that takes on interesting challenges directly related to these motivators.

3. What do you find most challenging about your job?

Tempering my talking! Engineers can be a quiet bunch, and I love to talk!

4. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?

Skiing, biking, hiking, cooking, going to concerts and stand-up comedy shows, trying new restaurants and breweries, crafting, and hanging out with friends.

5. Tell us your guilty pleasure.

Gossip. I love it.

6. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

It wasn’t weird but totally gross!  I did “maintenance” at a golf course, which involved picking up trash off the golf course, cleaning bathrooms, and parking golf carts in very small, challenging spaces, which was the most fun because I didn’t have my license yet.

7. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

Stand-up comedy…no joke.

8. Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)?

Hopefully just people, though I wouldn’t be surprised if we had some unwanted mice roommates. I have two roommates – Kate and Laura – who I met when I moved to Boulder.

9. What is your favorite movie, book, and TV show?

Movie: Garden State

Book: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

TV shows: Right now, I am loving some Amazon Prime series: “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle”

10. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

  • Albert Einstein, because I think he had to be some sort of alien because how did he know about those gravity waves?!
  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg, because she is amazing! #genderequality.
  • Carrie Brownstein, a member of the band Sleater-Kinney. She’s also a cast member on the TV show “Portlandia.”
  • Amy Poehler, because she is an all-around hilarious entertainer.

11. What kind of music do you listen to?

I’m all over the place, but I like a lot of indie folk, some bluegrass, some funk, and some punk.

12. What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

Completing graduate school was huge for me. I applied on a whim and moved to a place where I knew no one.  By the end of those two years, I knew more than I ever thought I would be able to know, and I had a new understanding of my capacity to learn more. I also had a group of wonderful friends and a job offer doing exactly what I wanted to do.

13. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

Burritos.  I could literally live on burritos. Ice cream.  And, salad…so I wouldn’t die of malnutrition.

14. What are you most proud of?

Right now, I am so proud of my mother. She is my inspiration to work hard in my career while never forgetting about family and my own happiness along the way. She recently took on a new challenge of owning a restaurant, which is terrifying, but she is doing great!

15. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

A foosball table, which is an obvious, but amazing, idea.  Or nap pods.

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