Carnegie Mellon University

Overhead view of water treatment plant

December 17, 2019

Supporting Environment by Designing Water Treatment Plants

ramakrishnan.jpegVignesh Ramakrishnan (MS '12) is working as an Environmental Engineer for CDM Smith in Chennai, India. His passion for water and the environment led him to Pittsburgh and CEE to earn his master’s degree.

“When I knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field, I began looking for programs in the United States. It was an easy decision to choose CEE,” he says.

His choice was affirmed by others in the field, who were aware of CEE’s reputation around the world. “I was particularly excited to learn from highly skilled and respected professors. CEE had the option to finish the courses in one year, as opposed to taking three or four semesters at other universities,” he adds.

Ramakrishnan states that he’s motivated by the positive changes his work makes in the environment. “I love the challenges that come with each new project and the satisfaction I get when I successfully overcome them.” He adds that each day, he learns something new—a benefit of being part of a dynamic and innovative industry. “I used to wonder if work would become mundane and mechanical after a certain time, but the experiences and learning opportunities always keep me excited.”

At CDM Smith, he’s part of the company’s water group, designing water treatment plants for municipal and industrial clients in the United States and Canada.

He designs and drafts process mechanical systems, pump stations, conveyance systems, and civil site layouts. Ramakrishnan’s previous experience includes working for Distinct Engineering Solutions in New Jersey and the New York City Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation. While in New York, he served as a site engineer for various remediation and geotechnical projects.

Ramakrishnan says that CEE’s courses in water chemistry and treatment, remediation, and air quality provided a solid foundation for a career in environmental engineering. He also appreciates the mentorship of his professors, who made the subject matter approachable and interesting.

Now that he is back in India, where he earned his undergraduate degree, Ramakrishnan is grateful for the opportunities and interactions at CEE that helped him to grow as a communicator.

“The diversity at CEE gave me a chance to interact with people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds, helping me to improve on my interpersonal skills and become more confident.”