Baltimore District employees foster tomorrow's STEM leaders

Published Aug. 4, 2017

For the second year in a row, Baltimore District employees Erin Cox and Marco Ciarla volunteered their time and expertise to serve as professional mentors for Johns Hopkins University (JHU) students undergoing their Environmental Engineer Senior Design Capstone projects.

Cox, a civil engineer, and Ciarla, an environmental engineer, worked alongside JHU professors and Fort George G. Meade Department of Public Works Environmental Division employees to introduce and guide the students through the identification of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) for potential implementation on Fort Meade.

Marco Ciarla and Erin Cox, Baltimore District engineers, mentored Johns Hopkins University environmental engineering students undergoing their senior design capstone projects throughout the 2016/2017 school year. (U.S. Army photo by Alfredo Barraza)


Over the course of both the fall and spring semesters, students reviewed stormwater management concepts, Fort Meade water resource history and Maryland Department of the Environment stormwater regulatory requirements.  They were then tasked with a problem statement:  designing specific BMPs for three various sites on Fort Meade to help meet Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load restoration goals. 

Cox and Ciarla made themselves available to students while they conducted research, guiding and accompanying them during site visits at their respective project sites. 

“We easily contributed at least 30 hours individually over the length of the course between guest lectures, class time, site visits and email exchanges,” said Cox. “We even called into a few classes.”

Students delivered their final presentations May 16 at Aimes Hall on JHU in Baltimore. Presentations included a summary of existing site conditions, BMPs selection process and proposed designs, as well as construction cost estimates, scheduling and maintenance requirements.

Bottom row, from left: Mitch Keller, Stormwater Program environmentalist, Directorate of Public Works, Fort George G. Meade; Erin Cox, civil engineer; and Marco Ciarla, environmental engineer, pose alongside environmental engineering students during their final senior design capstone project presentations at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, May 16, 2017. (courtesy photo)


“Marco and Erin were instrumental in providing the right background, regulatory parameters and real-life experiences,” said Dr. Edward Bouwer, Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering, JHU Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. “They are a great resource because they are still fairly young engineers that can really mentor our students; tell them about what life can be like for them in a few years; and be good role models for engineers working in the profession.”

For these efforts and more, Ciarla was also recognized as the 2016 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Individual Award winner. 


Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, 54th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (at left), and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Houston, 13th command sergeant major of the Corps, honor Marco Ciarla, Corps, Baltimore District, environmental engineer, with the 2016 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Individual Award during the Corps National Awards Ceremony in the District of Columbia, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Leanne Bledsoe)