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Bear River grad receives engineering honors

Kimberly Pugel, a 2013 valedictorian graduate of Bear River High School was recently honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as a “2021 New Face in Civil Engineering,” an honor awarded to only 10 people throughout the nation each year. Pugel was recognized for her work in environmental engineering, planning, policymaking, and facilitating communication between stakeholders and decision-makers. She related that her motivation to address challenges facing our planet started from her Senior Project work researching mining pollution and passive remediation solutions here in Nevada County. Pugel spent four years working with the U.N. Major Group for Children and Youth on their Science Policy Interface platform, working to help younger generations get more involved in developing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. And as part of her doctoral program, Kimberly partnered with US AID researching programs to strengthen rural water and sanitation systems in East Africa, with a focus on systems-level collaboration between different levels of government. She has spent more than seven months in the field, at times in extreme, shoe-melting conditions, meeting with locals and experiencing how climate change is affecting their daily lives right now. She is eager to combine her love of engineering with her desire to address the challenges of global climate change at levels of government that will make a difference.

When asked what advice she’d give her younger self, she replied: “Getting experience actually informing policies and programs takes a lot of time and even more patience. Change is slow but stick with it. Over time, you do have the power to change things.”

Kimberly is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder and plans to graduate with her Ph.D in Civil Systems Engineering this fall.




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