Spotlighting Alumni Excellence: Colorado School Of Mines
We’re shining a spotlight on the accomplished alumni of the Colorado School of Mines, one of our esteemed university partners in our recruitment endeavors. Situated amidst the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, Mines is an acclaimed center for engineering, science, and innovation—fostering exceptional intellects and pioneering concepts.
In this edition of “Spotlighting Alumni Excellence,” we engage in a Q&A session with Janelle B., deputy project manager and an outstanding Mines alum. Her inspiring journey began 20 years ago as a Parsons intern and has led her to play a key role in helping attract top-notch talent from Mines.
What is your current role at Parsons?
Currently, I am the Deputy Project Manager on a large Military Munitions Response Program project where we are assessing the impacts of former Army National Guard training activities on human health and the environment. The work that I enjoy doing the most is conducting human health risk assessments because they involve calculations, excel spreadsheets, and are such a critical part of site investigation and remediation. Throughout my time at Parsons, I have loved the opportunity to gain valuable experience as each new project comes along.
What was your career journey from Colorado School of Mines to Parsons?
I visited the Parsons booth at a Mines career fair, which led to a summer internship and then a full-time job. I have worked for Parsons for 20 years, first in Pasadena, and now in Denver. My entire career has been with Parsons, but the many varying projects have kept me interested. I have worked on environmental compliance, pollution prevention, lead based paint and asbestos studies, preliminary assessments, site inspections, remedial investigations, risk assessments, feasibility studies, public meetings, munitions response, and even a few construction projects.
What is your current involvement with your alma mater? What are some ways you bring awareness of Parsons to current students?
I love going back to the Mines career fairs to represent Parsons in general, but because that is how I got my first job with the company, it has an even more special meaning for me. I love connecting with students and having conversations about what it was like to be a student at Mines and telling them how much I love working for Parsons. I just hired a Summer 2024 Intern that I met at the Mines Fall 2023 Career Day.
What is the most important thing you learned at Colorado School of Mines? Tell us about how you bring that to your work at Parsons.
At Mines, I learned how problem solve, I cannot remember all the details I memorized for all the classes I took, but my Mines education taught me how to approach, research, and solve a problem. No matter what type of work or which client I have worked with at Parsons, there is always a new and different problem to solve, and Mines taught me to collaborate with a team to tackle any new challenge.
What is one piece of advice you would share with college students?
I cannot pick one – I have two things I share with college students whenever I am given the chance.
First, be true to who you are. In college, we are so anxious to please our parents and professors and so eager to get our first job. We jump right into anything that will please others and lie through our teeth to recruiters that their company or job is our dream company/job. But if we just stay true to ourselves, we will end up in the right major and at the right company instead of seeking the approval of others. If we remain true to our passions, then we will end up where we are supposed to be.
Second, say yes as much as you can. Not to the detriment of yourself or your other commitments – but say yes whenever you can. You will get to learn and do things that you would have never expected to even like, or be good at, if you are just the person willing to say yes. Yes to learning, yes to trying, yes to doing the thing no one else wants to do.
Are you involved with any professional and/or school organizations that you would like to share?
All throughout my time at Mines, I was a member of the Society of Women Engineers, and I am so thrilled to be representing Parsons at the SWE annual conference this year.
If you were a recruiter, what is one thing about Parsons you would brag about to college grads?
When I recruit, I brag about two things. One – we are a very large company (16,000+ employees) with all the requisite advantages, but the company is so diverse in its capabilities that there are many smaller groups within. The group that I work in (about one hundred people) feels like a family, we know each other and take care of each other.
Two – flexibility. As I have grown and changed as a person and have gone through different life stages and career growth, Parsons has flexed with me. I still work for Parsons after all this time because when I wanted to move back home to Colorado, Parsons found a new project for me. When I had a complicated pregnancy, Parsons let me flex my work hours, and when COVID hit, Parsons let me work from home. When I wanted to get involved in a random construction project, my manager was supportive, when my project ended suddenly, another manager took me onto his project. Change is guaranteed and because Parsons has been flexible in so many ways, I have always had a place here no matter what has changed for me personally or professionally.
Keep an eye out for more exciting employee spotlights throughout the month as we feature Parsons alumni from other outstanding institutions, like Stevens Tech and Purdue University. And be sure to catch us on these campuses at various recruiting events. In case you missed it, check out our recent spotlight featuring a Parsons Virginia Tech alum.