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Luiza Campos

Luiza Campos

Professor of environmental engineering, University College London.

Expertise

Environmental Management, Water

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Working for 10 years at the state water and wastewater company of Goias, Brazil

Winning the ICE Gold Medal in 2023 for engineering excellence

Making the WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2024 list

A day in my life

I try to split my workweek equally between the University College London (UCL) office and my home office.

When commuting to London, I wake up at 5:15am, shower, have a small breakfast, and take the train.

From Waterloo Station, I walk to the UCL Bloomsbury campus, which takes about 40 minutes.

My day is filled with meetings with students and colleagues.

On home office days, I wake up around 6:15am, have a small breakfast, go for a brisk walk with my husband, shower, and make a decaf coffee to start my workday.

I typically work 8-9 hours each weekday.

Dinner is usually between 6 and 7pm, and my husband and I share cooking duties.

I aim to finish my day early, spending an hour reading and relaxing before sleep.

Knowing that my work can improve people's quality of life drives me to get out of bed each day.

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

I completed my secondary education at a technical school that prepares students for immediate entry into the job market.

Since I studied water and sanitation for my technical degree, I chose to pursue civil engineering.

The prospect of solving problems related to society’s needs fascinated me and motivated my journey to become a civil engineer.

We asked Luiza…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

Civil engineers are versatile professionals who can excel in any job sector.

Our broad knowledge base includes five key areas: water/environment, transport, structures, geotechnics, and construction.

This extensive training allows us to specialise in specific fields, as I did with environmental engineering.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also a wife and mother of two children!

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

When I was a kid, I did not have Lego. At that time, Lego was considered a toy for the wealthy.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

As a civil engineer, the prospect of contributing to improving people’s lives and health through providing clean water and safely managed sanitation is what motivates me each morning.

Knowing that my work can improve people's quality of life drives me to get out of bed each day.

Also, the ever-evolving challenges and opportunities in the field of civil engineering provide constant stimulation and a sense of fulfilment in my professional journey.

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

I realised that professionals don't possess all knowledge, nor do they always have answers to every question.

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

I wish I'd worked on the design of a large water treatment plant such as Guandu Water Treatment Plant in Rio de Janeiro, which has a capacity of 3.7 billion of litres of water per day.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

Civil engineering projects always finish on time and within budget.

What are you doing to help address climate change?

In our home, we have installed solar panels, and we have a fully electric car. Also, the energy we buy from the grid is renewable.

How has your work enhanced the lives of people?

I’ve always been passionate about encouraging girls to study civil engineering.

At UCL, I started the women in engineering taster course, which later led to the creation of the UCL Women Engineering Society.

In 2016, I led the Athena Swan application, securing the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering a Bronze Award for advancing gender equality practices.

What motivated you, or is motivating you, to become professionally qualified? 

The main motivation was that having someone with such qualifications teaching civil engineering programmes strengthens the curriculum. I also knew it would help me get promoted in my job.

What does being professionally qualified with the ICE mean for your career?  

It means that my work and achievements are recognised and valued.

What’s the best thing about being professionally qualified with the ICE? 

Having a professional qualification with the ICE is highly prestigious because it's an institution with global recognition.

How did the ICE and your employer support you to become professionally qualified? 

The ICE provided me with talks and workshops on how to become professionally qualified, and in my department, we had a mentor who provided guidance throughout the application process.

I also pay my annual membership through my departmental discretionary account.

What do you value most about being an ICE member? 

The networking opportunity.

How has being a member helped your career? 

It helped me with my promotion.

Luiza's career path

I have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Catholic University of Goias, Brazil and an MSc in Water and Sanitation from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

I have a PhD from Imperial College, UK.

Before moving to the UK, I worked for 10 years at the state water and sanitation company of Goias (SANEAGO) and another 10 years as a lecturer at the Federal University of Goias in Brazil.

I’m currently a professor of Environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering at UCL, where I’ve been working since 2007.

At UCL, I serve as director of the MSc Engineering for International Development and co-director of the UCL Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience.