Scientist Profile: Stephen Reiling

When most people think of Washington, D.C. they think of a large city with a lot of concrete and not a lot of nature. For Stephen Reiling, an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Water Protection Division of the District Department of the Environment, there’s is a lot more to D.C. than concrete and office buildings. His job brings him to a lot of the beautiful, natural places within city limits that many local residents don’t notice.

Everyday, Stephen gets to make the city stronger and healthier by working in these natural spaces. He spends much of his time identifying issues that threaten the health of local streams and developing ways to mitigate, or lessen, the impact of those issues. Fueling all of his investigations is his general curiosity about how things function and interact. To help preserve the environment in D.C. he conducts restoration projects, makes suggestions about how developers can lessen their environmental impact, generates environmental policy, and occasionally helps to create community education programs.

One of the great things about Stephen’s job is that it involves many different types of science. Stephen has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and a Master of Engineering and Public Policy from University of Maryland. In his degrees he was able to combine his love of nature and the desire to examine the function of all things. He advises everyone to “question everything and take any opportunity to learn something new.”