STEM Professional of the week

Damarys Acevedo-Acevedo      
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center

Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Damarys Acevedo-Acevedo is currently a Research Civil Engineer, focused on Environmental Engineering in the Environmental Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). ERDC is one of the premier engineering and scientific research organizations in the world. The Center conducts research and development in support of the Soldier, military installations, and with U.S. industry through innovative work agreements. 

In her 6 years of groundbreaking research, Damarys has enhanced the development of remediation technologies and alternatives to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation and dredging operations mission. She’s focused on new ways to utilize novel approaches to existing procedures and protocols. Damarys has shown tremendous growth in her position and has effectively transitioned from the role of team member to Principal Investigator for research projects.  

Damarys’ dedication to the field of engineering first surfaced as a young girl. She was born with an innate interest in nature, math and science and by fourth grade was placing first in Math Regional competitions. During this time Damarys and her family were faced with tragedy that left her mother struggling to support the family. These challenges and her mother’s wise words and fighting spirit instilled in Damarys the ambition to pursue higher education. She would  continue on this motivated path throughout her childhood, having made the honor roll by maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the duration of her junior high and high school years. By 11th grade Damarys was sure she wanted to be a civil engineer and took the next steps to make that dream a reality by applying to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez’s (UPRM) civil engineering early admission program. While in college, Damarys demonstrated specific interest in environmental engineering and became an undergraduate research assistant where she performed research funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. 

This opportunity led to another discovery for Damarys – her passion for doing research. After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008, she accepted a Research Civil Engineering job offer from the ERDC in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where she remains to this day. Outside of her daily research duties, Damarys has set additional goals for herself to become an inspiration and role model for not only the Hispanic community but also her local community. She makes it a priority to mentor students and entry level co-workers at the ERDC, participates in educational workshops and activities, and provides technical presentations for Girl Scouts, Society of Women Engineers student chapters, elementary school students and local AmeriCorps volunteers.  

Still very much connected with nature, Damarys frequently participates in hikes, kayak trips and running. She completed her master’s in civil engineering in 2012, through ERDC’s Graduate Institute and is currently working on a Ph.D. in the same field at the University of Texas. Damarys is also a Certified Professional Engineer.

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