2020 Outstanding Young Professional Award - Colsky

The Outstanding Young Professional Award was inaugurated in 2008 and recognizes an individual or individuals who are pursuing excellence in their careers and have made a valuable contribution to A&WMA by serving in a leadership position. To be eligible, a candidate must be a young professional working in the environmental profession. A young professional is defined by the Association as being 35 years of age or younger.

A&WMA commends the following individuals and awards them the Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2020:

Shira Colsky
Jason R. Krawczyk

Shira Colsky is a licensed professional engineer (Georgia, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina) with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. (Geosyntec) in Atlanta, Georgia. Colsky earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and a master's degree in environmental engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Colsky has more than six years of experience working on a variety of design projects across the environmental, civil, and chemical engineering disciplines. At Geosyntec, Colsky leads the design and implementation of bioremediation, chemical oxidation, and soil-vapor extraction systems. Colsky also designs collection, conveyance, and treatment systems for leachate, wastewater, process water, and potable water. Her expertise includes hydraulic modeling and geochemical modeling.

Colsky was first introduced to A&WMA in 2015 while she was a graduate student at Georgia Tech. After attending a few of the Georgia Chapter meetings and the Association’s Leadership Training Academy in Pittsburgh, Colsky started a student chapter of A&WMA at Georgia Tech. Colsky solicited professionals from the Georgia Chapter A&WMA membership to speak at monthly student group meetings about potential career opportunities in the environmental field. Colsky also secured a sponsorship for the cost of food at these monthly meetings. The Georgia Tech chapter had grown to approximately 30 students when Colsky handed down the leadership of the group to her successor.

Upon her graduation from Georgia Tech, Colsky stepped into the role of the Young Professionals (YPs) Committee Chair at the Georgia Chapter level and became a member of the Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) at the International Association level. From 2016 through 2019, Colsky organized local networking events and provided volunteering and leadership opportunities for emerging environmental professionals as YP Chair. Through the success of her efforts with YPs, the membership of the Georgia Chapter and attendance at local events increased. During this time, Colsky also judged student abstracts in her role on the Georgia Chapter Scholarship Committee. In 2019, when the Georgia Chapter hosted the Southern Section Annual Meeting and Technical Conference, Colsky was instrumental to its successful execution.

Colsky continues to stay active in A&WMA, currently serving as a Director (2019-2021) as well as the Brown Bag Technical Luncheon Committee Chair (2020-2021) for the Georgia Chapter. Colsky’s first Brown Bag Luncheon in February 2020 brought in an audience of more than 35 environmental professionals in the Atlanta area, the largest crowd to date for these bimonthly luncheons. Colsky’s innovative ideas and collaborative spirit have encouraged many emerging professionals to become involved in A&WMA and take on leadership roles.

Through her involvement in industry and community organizations, Colsky promotes the engineering profession. In addition to A&WMA, Colsky serves in a leadership role for the “Curious Corps” Task Force (i.e. planning committee) for the Atlanta Science Festival (ASF). ASF is a two-week festival that features more than 200 STEM-related hands-on activities, tours, and performances. Through her involvement in ASF, she contributes to bringing interactive STEM activities to over 50,000 children and adults annually.

When she is not working or volunteering, Colsky enjoys traveling to experience new cultures, wildlife, and food. She also loves attending concerts and music festivals with family and friends.

Shira Colsky

Outstanding Young Professional Award