Civil Engineering

Cheeta Soga's Dream Job

Cheeta designs “green” building projects—those that lessen the impact of humans on the environment. Much of her work focuses on protecting and recycling water resources. For example, she figures out how to reuse rainwater to save on tap water usage, and how to treat and filter rainwater naturally, by using different types of soil and native plants.

Where she works
Cheeta works at Nitsch Engineering, a civil engineering firm in Boston, Massachusetts.

Favorite project
“I worked on the National Palace Museum in Chiayi, Taiwan. The region has huge amounts of rainfall during the summer monsoon and drought the rest of the year. Our design included two artificial lakes. We had to manage rainfall to prevent flooding during the rainy season and to avoid having the lakes dry up during the rest of the year.”

Best part of engineering:
“I like analyzing problems and contributing to solutions. It’s a great feeling when something you designed on a computer screen is actually built, and you know it will stay around for a long time.”

What got her interested:
Cheeta liked math, science, and learning about the environment, but she didn’t know what engineering was until she entered college. Her sister thought she would love the field because engineers get to tackle practical problems.

Engineering and travel
Besides Taiwan, her work has also taken her to Hawaii.  And, on her own, she has backpacked throughout Asia and Southeast Asia.

Advice to future engineers
“Go for it! Research different areas to find what you like. Learn about programs and classes that will help prepare you. Being an engineer will open a lot of doors for you.”

Where she’s from
Cheeta grew up in British Columbia, Canada.  

B.A.Sc. in civil engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; M.S. in civil engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

She loves softball, volleyball, golf, and ice hockey, and she is training for a half-marathon.

  • Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer
  • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Special fields and Interdisciplinary Engineer