Rita Kampalath is the Science and Policy Director of Heal The Bay, an environmental group working to make Santa Monica Bay and Southern California coastal waters and watersheds safe for people and marine life.
Rita earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and a M.S. & Ph.D. from UCLA in Chemical Engineering and Civil/Environmental Engineering. Her doctoral research focused on toxic mercury in the environment. She previously worked as an environmental engineer for Geosyntec Consultants on stormwater pollution and the U.S. Air Force in environmental and safety policy compliance.
She decided to become an engineer in high school because she liked math and chemistry. Her chemistry teacher recommended it to her. She also liked English and Art. Rita likes the challenge of engineering. In college, she took chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, environmental classes, physics and thermodynamics.
The best parts about her job are the people she works with, the diversity of the work, and the flexibility of the projects. She solves problems like cleaning up the beach, reducing stormwater pollution, and making the water safe to swim in.