Our Stormwater staff serves many roles at WithersRavenel. Engineers and other professionals complete standalone projects while also collaborating with other departments on land development, water and sewer infrastructure, parks, and other initiatives. Today, meet Staff Professional Becca Rahn. She has worked at WithersRavenel for one and a half years. Becca has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Hendrix College and a Master of Science in Biological & Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University.
WithersRavenel: What sparked your interest in stormwater engineering?
Becca Rahn: In college, I lived in an ecovillage in southeast India for two months. Beyond stirring composting toilets and carrying a bucket of water 200 yards to bathe, I was completely immersed in a space where water was no longer a passive asset for me. The ecovillage began as a reforestation project in a completely denuded tropical dry rainforest, so while there, I was digging swales and helping build a gabion to reroute rainwater for forest floor development. The experience was truly eye-opening and piqued my interest in engineering spaces to build living landscapes.
WR: Tell us about a project you have worked on/are working on that has interested or inspired you.
BR: Working with WithersRavenel has given me the opportunity to dip my toes into several different types of projects. I think what interests and inspires me the most is understanding the perception of stormwater control measures (SCMs). There have been some projects where the SCM essentially becomes the forefront of the design, integrating the technical aspects with aesthetics and leisure so that the SCM becomes an amenity for the community. Other projects configure the SCMs in a way that focuses more on the technical aspects of design. Moving forward I hope I can help promote SCMs that are valued and incorporated into the design of spaces as a living amenity feature rather than an appendage for meeting regulations.
WR: You were an Americorps volunteer. Tell us about that experience and your interest in community service and outreach.
BR: Yes, I served as an AmeriCorps member after college, when I spent a year rebuilding a community garden in an underserved food-desert in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. It was honestly difficult to get community members involved in the garden because many of the neighbors had their own backyard gardens. This caused me to adapt my initial objectives of teaching vegetable gardening. I began hosting weekly community garden dinners to bring the community together for conversation and food. I learned so much from the community and the experience shifted my own perception of community service toward the importance of building with’ community rather than for.’
Do you want to put WithersRavenel’s Stormwater team to work on your next project? Contact Director of Stormwater Steve Marks at (919) 238-0482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.