As an environmentalist with the Marshall County Health Department in Indiana, Katrina Gilbank ’13 has a variety of day-to-day responsibilities. Those include inspecting and investigating environmental complaints (such as sewage, infestations, and unsafe housing), design review of residential on-site septic systems, issuing permits, tracking animal bite cases, and developing new policies.
She also works to streamline the department’s records storage and applications processes. In 2017, Ms. Gilbank modernized its metrics tracking for our departmental programs and automated the generation of monthly and annual reports, allowing staff to spend more time in the field and less time tracking papers.
She works with fellow government employees, homeowners, and field professionals like septic installers and soil scientists. Her latest big project involves mapping the known septic systems around the lakes in Marshall County, with age of system and failure rates. This will be compared to the environmental state of the lakes to develop new policies.
Ms. Gilbank is also working to simplify the permitting process and ensure a high quality of design and record-keeping for the county’s on-site septic program.
In her MCHD capacity, she serves as chapter representative for the Indiana Environmental Health Association’s Wastewater Management Committee and assists with grant applications for a variety of the department’s offered programs.
In addition, Ms. Gilbank is an independent environmental consultant for septic system design in other parts of northern Indiana.
“The technical writing skills from thesis prep classes and lab classes have been skills I use daily.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
It’s varied, it’s always interesting, and I get to do a lot of very interactive things; my position interfaces quite a bit between regulations/regulatory agencies and the public. I get to do a bit of lab-type work, a bit of design work, a bit of regulatory work, and a bit of education.
How did Carthage prepare you?
“The BA has been instrumental in my career and has really helped with getting hired! Companies in the environmental field are really looking for those with a strong science background who also have good writing and communication skills.”
How has your liberal arts education helped you?
“I do a lot of technical/scientific reports right now, which has really been instrumental in my career progression. The technical writing skills from thesis prep classes and lab classes have been skills I use daily.”
Tips for current Carthage students:
“Don’t be afraid to try new things — especially in your internships! I never would have chosen this career if I hadn’t gotten an internship with the WDNR.”
Favorite Carthage memories:
“Assisting with the inventory and general cleaning out of the ecology/biology labs when we were preparing for the new building. I found a lot of weird old stuff shoved into cabinets.”