VICKSBURG, Miss.— Researchers from five U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) Districts have been selected for the 2022 session of the Engineer Research and Development Center University (ERDC-U).
Senior Biologist Sara Thames with the New Orleans District was chosen as a participant for this detail program, which is now in its seventh year.
ERDC-U Program Lead Antisa Webb, Chief of the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT), Technology, Knowledge and Outreach (TKO) Division and the program’s co-sponsor, announced the six 2022 selectees.
“ERDC-U offers partnerships between USACE Division and District participants and relevant laboratory mentors for six-month research projects, resulting in technical solutions benefitting their workplace, the Corps and the Nation,” Webb said.
Working with these subject-matter experts from ERDC’s seven state-of-the art laboratories, participants will focus on real-world solutions, as they also develop leadership skills for their home organization.
A USACE team member for seven years, Thames is stationed at the Vicksburg District, where she serves with the Regional Planning and Environmental Division South, Environmental Compliance Branch. Previously, she worked for seven years with the Department of Army and Department of Agriculture.
In her current position, Thames ensures National Environmental Policy Act compliance on regional civil works projects within the Vicksburg, Memphis and New Orleans Districts. She collaborates with the Mississippi Valley Division as lead planner on regional feasibility studies and as environmental studies manager for the three districts. She is also the technical expert on implementation and compliance with the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Thames’ goal for her ERDC-U session “includes learning more about model development and implementation for civil works projects and capabilities of the Environmental Lab to assist with future planning and environmental studies at the district level.”
She will join fellow selectees to meet their mentors and plan projects during their orientation session March 1-2 at the ERDC headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Thames’ multi-disciplinary mentoring team includes Soil Scientist Jacob Berkowitz, lead, Research Wildlife Biologist Rich Fischer; Research Wildlife Biologist Jacob Jung; Fisheries Biologist Todd Slack; and Research Ecologist Bruce Pruitt, all with ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory. The Environmental Laboratory is one of four laboratories on the Vicksburg campus, which participants will tour at orientation.
The program is co-sponsored by ERDC’s Directorate of Human Capital through an application and selection process. The session runs from March through August session. Program funding is split between the selectee’s Division or District for choice of labor costs or travel with the other funded by ERDC.
“Ms. Sara Thames is an outstanding employee in our Environmental Compliance Branch, Regional Planning Environmental Division South (RPEDS),” said New Orleans District Commander Col. Stephen Murphy in an endorsement letter. “Her supervisory chain, and I fully support her enrollment in ERDC University for the period March 1, 2022, through August 31. The experience and training she would receive through ERDC University would greatly enhance her career development and provide immeasurable benefits to RPEDS.”
“ERDC-U experiences build a collaborative and continuing partnership with ERDC team members as an investment in the future of the Corps, along with career-long problem-solving contacts,” Webb added about the benefit of the program.
The ERDC University Program specifically seeks individuals with interest and experience in general scientific and engineering fields encompassing one of the following Business Areas:
- Civil Works and Water Resources
- Environmental Quality and Installations
- Geospatial Research and Engineering
- Information Technology
- Military Engineering
Participants serve as members of interdisciplinary research and development teams, reporting to lead project managers and/or R&D direct program managers. The incumbent supports and possibly leads any number of activities to develop R&D.
“Selectees will have the opportunity to make great relationships that can help you the rest of your career, and we can learn about District needs from you,” ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman said about the program.
For program information, contact Antisa.C.Webb@usace.army.mil. Applications for the 2023 program will open October 1, 2022, for GS-7-13 team members through the “Opportunities” icon at https://wiki.erdc.dren.mil/index.php?title=ERDC_University.