Carnegie Mellon University

Estelle Bae (MS '13) - Smith Aldridge, Inc.

Estelle Bae (MS  ’13) is an environmental consultant who works on a myriad of air and water-related issues for Smith Aldridge, Inc.  Each day is different, as challenges and projects evolve with her clients’ needs.  She says that CMU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Master’s program helped her to build the knowledge and critical thinking skills she needed to succeed in this position. 

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, she was encouraged to apply to CMU for graduate school.  “I had a couple of friends who attended CMU for their undergraduate degrees, and they told me how much they loved it,” she says.  She was also attracted to the Civil and Environmental Engineering program’s reputable and challenging curriculum. 

Initially, she thought that the majority of her courses would be about water treatment, but she ended up expanding her focus to several other areas including air, life cycle, and database systems.  She says this broad, base understanding of many environmental topics has been extremely helpful in her current work.  

Within the program, she particularly liked the small class sizes, as they helped her to build better relationships with her professors and classmates.  She says she was also impressed by the amount of attention and assistance she received from her instructors.  “The professors and the Teaching Assistants made a lot of time to help students really understand the material. You could tell they really cared about helping us learn.” 

Aside from academics, some of her favorite memories from her time at CMU come from participating in departmental social events with fellow graduate students.  “There was bowling/karaoke, snowboarding, and an all-you-can-eat buffet at the pirates game.  These events helped me meet some of my best friends,” she says.  

Overall, Estelle is glad she chose to complete her Master’s work at CMU, “The program was a good fit—every class challenged me and I enjoyed learning from all of the great professors,” she says.