BBE student pursues career in natural resources engineering

May 11, 2022

After studying ‘dirt’ and living abroad, CSE student pursues career in natural resources engineering

Katherine Tomaska never shies away from an opportunity to learn

Top: Bioproducts and biosystems engineering senior and future water resources engineer Katherine Tomaska collects zooplankton on a Minnesota lake during her internship with Barr Engineering last summer.

Above: Tomaska studied abroad at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology during fall semester of her sophomore year. The experience gave her a new perspective on both life and her career.

Photo credit: Katherine Tomaska

When bioproducts and biosystems engineering student Katherine Tomaska landed a water resources internship at Young Environmental Consulting Group the summer after her sophomore year, she wasn’t sure if she would be interested in studying erosion.

“At first I wondered, ‘Will I just be looking at dirt all summer?’” said Tomaska, now a senior majoring in bioproducts and biosystems engineering (BBE). “But, the fieldwork was actually super fascinating and much more involved than I had anticipated. I loved learning about the natural processes that happen and how that impacts human development and residential areas. That solidified for me that I wanted to go into water and natural resources.” 

Tomaska learned about the company after its founder, and University of Minnesota alumna, Della Young, came to speak to her CSE 1001 freshman orientation class. As an intern, Tomaska mapped gullies and erosion throughout the Lower Minnesota River watershed district. Now, she has a job lined up as water resources engineer at Barr Engineering, an environmental consulting company headquartered in Minneapolis where she interned last summer. She’ll start after she graduates this May. Continue reading the full article.