Taylor Mebane ‘17, is a Stewart Engineering at Geomatics Field Technician where, in a short amount of time, she has assisted with land surveying, crossings for bikers and pedestrians, creating GIS and GPS maps as well as collaborating with the NC Department of Transportation. Taylor studied Environmental Technology and Management.
What is a typical day like for you?
If we’re in the woods, a typical day is carrying the equipment out to our first point, which usually involves some hiking. We work our way through the forest taking as many points on the land as possible to give the engineers the most accurate understanding of what the land is doing. Sometimes we’re on a mountain, and sometimes we’re on the asphalt documenting how water is flowing. We may end up in a some interesting/awkward position trying to get a point on the land, but the overall goal is to get the best depiction to create maps.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
I enjoy that we were surrounded by nature. The weather isn’t always forgiving, but there is never a dull moment when you work full-time outdoors. You always need to stay on your toes about every environmental condition and you are exposed to a lot of different types of terrain.
What do you find most challenging about your current position?
The most challenging thing, aside from finding a decent bathroom close to where we’re surveying (in the middle of nowhere), would be the weather. So far I’ve only worked in the winter and the spring, but working in the snow when its 20 degrees for eight hours was pretty difficult at first, but you really learn how to take care of your body and come prepared with the proper clothing and equipment.
What is your best memory of CNR or NC State?
My best memory happened right before I was leaving and graduating. I spoke to a staff member, someone I’d consider a mentor, and she really encouraged me to pursue the things that may seen challenging or uncomfortable. That way I can pave that way for others and change things for the better. A black woman in my field is really hard to come by. Really that’s hard to come by in any field technician position. To make change for the culture and for environmental stewardship.
Did you complete any hands-on experiences like internships, study abroad, co-ops or undergraduate research? If so, what did do you and how did it impact you?
I had a good variety of internships, which included working with a non profit, the U.S. Forest Service HQ in D.C. and the Campus for the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology. They all taught me a lot about office culture, how to have efficient communication with your coworkers and how to build relationships.
Any advice for incoming CNR students?
First, always push yourself to do something challenging, that’s where growth comes from, both personal and professional. And secondly, be confident and patient with yourself. I bounced between a couple different majors trying to understand myself in the process and I’m glad I did it. It helped me know my interests and passions. I started off doing something I thought my parents would like and was miserable. So be patient, not every opportunity is for you and that’s your main concern – you! What’s right for YOU is for YOU.