Lindsey Lucas, REM is a natural leader and provides inspirational value in the workplace. She has a competitive heart, as noted in her role as captain of the University of Texas women’s rowing team in her collegiate days. Lindsey now uses that driving; positive attitude to allow her to accomplish complicated tasks every day as an Environmental Principal. She recently won an ACEC/NC Engineering Excellence Award for her work at Camp Lejeune, so we wanted to learn more about how she became interested in the sciences at a young age.
How did you decide to become an environmental scientist?
Growing up on a small farm in Arkansas taught me a lot about living things, both plants and animals: what harms them, what makes them live, what they need, what they like, what influence humans can have on the success or decline of things. An orchard, a berry patch, a field of daffodils, a pond with thousands of tadpoles, newborn puppies under a shed in the backyard, kittens, snapping turtles, all of it gives you a different view of the world when you’ve seen them live, and then pass on in life. Even when I was little I remember thinking, “How could I have made that plant/animal live longer?” I would actually feel guilty when something died, like I didn’t try hard enough. So, I’ve always known that I was going to be a scientist so that I could help the environment in some way.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
The rainforests of Puerto Rico. I adored the richness of the flora and fauna of the entire island, but El Yunque National Rainforest was by far the best. The butterflies landing on the giant ferns and the sounds of the coqui frogs from every direction are hypnotic. Swimming in the Phosphorescent Bay at night was one of the most awe inspiring thing I’ve ever experienced (the phenomenon has almost completely disappeared now). I’ve always had a keen affection for protecting the environment after I had a chance to live there, even if it was only for a few years.
What are you passionate about?
This is probably based on an abstract idea, but I am passionate about competing. Competition builds confidence on so many levels and helps me maintain my focus. One strategy for me is to break down large goals into smaller manageable goals, such as time in a race, or breaking down the actual race course itself. Being a varsity rower on a collegiate Big XII sports team, I could sustain my motivation and instill confidence in others. One tactic I’ve learned is to visualize success in silence before a competition; this keeps me relaxed in tense situations and helps me develop routines, a form of mental training so to speak.