USACE Galveston District’s Employee Spotlight on Celena Cui

Published April 3, 2017

GALVESTON, Texas (April 3, 2017) – Celena Cui was a senior in high school when she enrolled in an advanced placement course to earn college credit. The environmental science course, held among a small group of students in the library, was the beginning of a life-long passion in environmental studies.

She enjoyed it so much she earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Systems (Earth Science) from the University of California, San Diego, in 2010 and later earned her Master of Science in Hydrology from Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, in 2014.

“During my undergrad courses I had an internship with the San Diego River Park Foundation,” said Cui. “I learned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the levee in the San Diego River to divert flood risks and straighten the river channel to the sea. I remember the impact the Corps had on the environment.”  

After earning her master’s degree, Cui worked in Colorado as a consultant in environmental compliance where she analyzed greenhouse gas reporting, design data management features and air emission calculations. Although she enjoyed her work, her goal was to ultimately begin a career with the USACE.

“When -I was consulting I had the same clients with similar situations,” said Cui. “After two years I was ready for a new challenge in a field that was ever-changing, which is why I applied for a position at the Galveston District.”

In September 2016, Cui accepted the position with the USACE Galveston District as a regulatory specialist with the Regulatory Division. She works to protect the nation’s aquatic resources by evaluating activities that involve our navigable waters and wetlands such as jurisdictional determination and inspections.

“What I love about my job is the opportunity to be in the field working among different wildlife,” said Cui. “There is something new every time you go out, especially if you go to the same site during different season.”

Cui’s interests involve volunteering, taekwondo and badminton. When she is not visiting project sites, Cui is exploring the surroundings of her new home in Texas.

Release no. 17-009