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Karina Augustine

Karina Augustine

Graduate Tunnelling Engineer, COWI | ICE President's Future President 2021-22

Expertise

Design, Structural, Geotechnical

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

ICE QUEST scholar

Events director for UCL’s Engineers Without Border, with interest in sustainability

ICE President’s Future Leader 2021/22

A day in my life

I graduated university during the pandemic, so I’ve only recently started to go into office.

In the morning I make myself tea and check the day's incoming emails and meetings. The emails are mostly from my teammates, as we communicate frequently to exchange ideas and information about the project.

I follow up with calls with my colleagues throughout the day. Sometimes there are lunchtime presentations which showcase cool technologies and concepts by colleagues from other teams and offices. I mostly spend the day using software to model and analyse tunnel structures including shafts and cross passages.

I also manage my time to work on non-project related items such as COWI's Carbon Tool and the Early Careers Network on a weekly basis. I finish around 6pm, which is great work-life balance.

what’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

The people! My colleagues in COWI are very good at working and managing a team that they’re enjoyable to work with. Everyone is very helpful and it's nice to collaborate with people who share the same interests in sustainable development as you.

which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

When I was in primary school, I visited Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and I was blown away by the massive scale of the rockets in the Rocket Garden.

But I was particularly interested in the modular parts of the International Space Station that was to be flown to orbit. It was a tiny space that had to accommodate the activities of many people with life-sustaining systems.

The construction and project delivery involved extensive collaboration between countries which was challenging especially after the Cold War. This cooperation is something that should be imitated to solve the climate crisis.

which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

Machu Picchu in the Andean mountains, because it’s a beautiful site which features elegant engineering solutions. Hydrologists created canals for water supply, drainage, and irrigation for the terraces. The buildings featured anti-seismic design and robust foundations, all built without mortar or the wheel.

what about being a civil engineer inspires you?

Investment in infrastructure leads to economic growth and improvements in people's quality of life. I like contributing to this cause and I hope my work today can improve sustainability in industry practice and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Plus, it’s always rewarding to see something you've designed get constructed.