Women’s History Month

Highlighting women in the groundwater industry

Erica DiFilippoErica DiFilippo, Ph.D.
Senior Project Geochemist
S.S. Papadopulos & Associates Inc.
NGWA Member

How did you enter the groundwater industry?

I became interested in environmental issues in high school, which led me to taking classes in geology in college. My first work in groundwater came in graduate school when I looked at the impact of groundwater on landslide movement in southern California.

What has been your proudest career achievement so far?

Finishing my Ph.D. program. [Editor’s note: DiFilippo’s Ph.D. is in hydrology and water resources with a minor in soil, water, and environmental science.] It has opened doors for me professionally and allowed me to work with a wide range of groundwater and geochemical scientists that I still interact with today.

Who influenced you to dive deeper into a groundwater-related industry?

A principal at my company really encouraged me to participate in NGWA and other professional organizations that work with groundwater.

What do you hope for the future of groundwater, hydrogeology, and/or environmental science?

I hope the industry becomes more diverse in the future. It’s not as large as other STEM industries and I think it gets limited promotion, especially in colleges/universities. With climate change becoming a much more important issue, hydrology and groundwater will play a much more important role in the future as people start needing more secure water supplies and balancing between all of the sectors that rely on water.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female groundwater professionals?

Try and diversify your skillset. I found that my daily work is a lot different than what I thought when I originally started in consulting. You don’t have to be an expert initially, but the more types of data analysis techniques you are at least familiar with the more adaptable you will be in the industry. And don’t be afraid to try something new. I taught myself how to code when I first started working, which has been extremely useful in my work.

To read more profiles of women in the groundwater industry, click here.