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Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental and Engineering Geologists in Professional Practice



Contact Name

Prof. Nazrul I. Khandaker, Ph.D., P.G.

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York's Geology Discipline Welcomes Sarah Kalika, PG, CAC, CDPH LEAD I/A/S Principal Geologist, DiabloGeo Environmental Consulting and current President, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) 2023-2024 

Despite a gradual reduction in the number of “engineering geology” University programs in the US and consolidation of geology programs into more general categories such as Earth Science, or Earth & Environment, geoscience undergraduate enrollment is on the rise among United States Colleges and Universities with an increase in the number of degrees awarded at the bachelor of science level. It is estimated that an aging and retiring workforce will result in 16,000+ full time openings by 2029.

We’ll discuss things that keep geoscience educational programs in place including robust state-led requirements for specific educational courses to qualify for licensure, the observation that states that require licensure often have more geologists (and AEG members), and explore non-traditional programs to educate field-level staff. 

Most students are choosing geology prior to college enrollment or during the first 1-2 years of undergraduate education. To encourage geology as a profession, students need to see & hear from geologists of all backgrounds – early and often, and parents need to hear that geology is a well-paying and stable career path. We’ll explore how professional geologists (and students!) can perform outreach and participate in educational activities to encourage geology’s next generation and ways your activity in professional associations like AEG help your career and boost your resume.

Sarah Kalika, PG, CAC, CDPH LEAD I/A/S


Sarah Kalika has approximately 22 years of experience as a geologist in the environmental consulting industry and a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has performed primarily environmental geoscience investigations during her career including property development work, site characterization (Phase I & II) transactions, asbestos and lead surveys for renovations and demolitions, abatement oversight, geologic mapping and sampling for the presence of naturally occurring asbestos, asbestos dust mitigation plan preparation, area air monitoring for asbestos, construction storm water pollution prevention plan preparations and inspections, health and safety plan preparation, and corporate health and safety program management (IIPP, staff safety training, accident investigations). She has successfully managed the investigation, regulatory agency interaction, documentation, and cleanup of many complex, high profile, and confidential development projects, including schools, agricultural redevelopment, commercial and residential properties, highways, and rail corridors.

As a California Certified Asbestos Consultant and Professional Geologist, Ms. Kalika has a unique combination of expertise with applying regulations originally written for asbestos in building materials to construction projects that impact asbestos occurring naturally within rock and soil. Ms. Kalika is skilled in navigating the often-complicated assortment of regulations that apply to asbestos and asbestiform minerals and provides awareness training sessions for workers who will interact with asbestos-containing soil or rock on jobsites.

As a member of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, she has served as chair of several operational committees including Meetings Advisory and Governance, is an active participant on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, co-founded the Naturally Occurring Asbestos Technical Working Group and IAEG NOA Commission, co-chaired the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and is co-chairing the 2025 meeting in Chicago. She is the current Association President.

Ms. Kalika is a frequent public speaker and gives presentations for consulting companies, school districts, commercial property managers, and members of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists.