Meet Ingrid Ekstrom and David Unruh!

Project Hydrogeologist Ingrid Ekstrom and Staff Scientist David Unruh recently joined Aspect — Ingrid in our Yakima office and David in our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

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Ingrid Ekstrom, Project Hydrogeologist

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee, but have lived in Ellensburg for the past 13 or so years. I spent a couple years in Wisconsin before moving to Washington with my husband, and we have really enjoyed living in central Washington ever since.

  2. What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it?

    My background is first in geology. After college, I worked with the US Geological Survey on a couple projects assisting with landslide hazard mapping in Nicaragua and river recognizance work in the southern US looking for liquefaction features from past earthquakes in the area. Both projects had water components that I found very interesting, and I decided to study hydrogeology in graduate school. I was really drawn to the practical side of the field. Moving to the western US in an arid area made me interested in water supply and water rights management. Then, working at the Washington State Department of Ecology and later at the Department of Natural Resources, I had a chance to learn and work with water rights and was enjoyed being able to rely on my hydrogeology background for a variety of projects.

  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?

    I enjoy water resources and hydrogeology because there are always unique challenges to figure out and problems to solve that allow me to constantly learn. I also appreciate that water resources involves a variety of disciplines that keep changing over time. Past experiences working with water rights have given me a chance to see things from different perspectives, and I really enjoy working with and learning from other people active in or reliant on the field.

  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

    When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family. I like traveling, hiking, going to the park with my kids, or just relaxing in the backyard. We started a small garden and are working on expanding it this next year. The kids’ activities keep me busy. And, as they have gotten old enough to stand upright on skis, we are all learning cross-country skiing (and falling) together, and we are excited for the snow this year. We live a distance away from family and enjoy traveling for visits to the Midwest and Argentina.

  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?

    I would like to take a family car trip camping and traveling through National Parks in the western US. I would also love to go to southern Argentina to visit the glaciers and then travel back to Costa Rica and check out the animals and volcanos with the kids. In the near and more practical future, I would like to visit the north Cascades and northeastern Washington.

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David Unruh, Staff Scientist

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?

    I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and moved to the mountains in Flagstaff, Arizona, as soon as I finished high school. I moved to Pullman, Washington, in 2016 to complete my MS at Washington State. While in Pullman, I made frequent trips to Seattle to visit my sister, and quickly resolved to move as soon as I finished my degree. I really enjoy spending time in the mountains as well as having easy access to music and art, and Seattle has all that in spades.

  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?

    Geology was a bit of a shot in the dark for me. I had a great environmental science teacher in high school who got me started on the natural sciences, but I really was just guessing when I enrolled in the geology program at Northern Arizona University. I knew I wanted to do something in the sciences that would allow me to be outside a lot, and geology seemed like a great discipline for me. My guess turned out to be astute, and I have continued to pursue my interest in geology and environmental science ever since!

  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?

    The thing I enjoy most about geology is the ability to infer large-scale processes from basic data points, like interpreting complex folding and faulting relationships at depth exclusively from surface strike and dip data. It’s really interesting to me to be able to apply these principles to the interactions people have with the earth.

  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

    I’m a big outdoors person, so I try to get out to the mountains as frequently as possible. My sport of choice is mountain biking, but I’ve been doing more rock climbing and backpacking since moving to Seattle. When I’m not outside, I like to fix bikes and find good concerts to attend.

  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?

    I took a trip to Seoul, South Korea, in the summer of 2017 that made me really interested in visiting more of Asia. I hope to make it out to Osaka, Japan, or do a road trip on mopeds through Vietnam sometime soon.