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Deborah Peters, Earth Sciences, Alumni

Geology alumna becomes a trailblazer for women in the field

Deborah Peters | 1988 Alumna, B.A. Geology | Department of Earth Sciences You could call her a trailblazer. When Deb Peters started her career as a geologist she entered a male-dominated field where her colleagues didn’t always trust that she possessed the same knowledge and skills.

It didn’t take her long to prove herself. Early in her career at a Central Indiana engineering company, Peters established an environmental department. The company offered her the opportunity to purchase that part of the business, and in 1996 she founded Quality Environmental Professionals Inc. (QEPI).

The Indianapolis-based company provides environmental, engineering, health and safety, redevelopment, and quality management consulting services. QEPI now has major contracts with the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The company has completed work at 72 Air Force bases, including one in Japan. Recently, Peters landed a contract with the EPA as the agency’s emergency response consultant for the Indianapolis area.

As a successful small-business owner, Peters emphasizes mentoring her employees, especially the women.

“I want to give women a solid foundation in this realm because when I graduated it was not easy,” she said. “I want to promote women because I want to see more women in science, more women scientist and more women engineers succeed..”

She says it’s wonderful seeing so many women achieve in geology today, but she hopes to continue to see more women in management.

Peters credits her experience at IUPUI for preparing her for success in the industry. She learned to work hard in her small classes where faculty were supportive and challenged her. Influential professors for Peters included Bob Hall and Art Mirsky.

“It was almost like the geology boot camp,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for better professors or a better education.”

Over the years, Peters has remained connected to the School Science by serving on the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) Advisory Board. Recently she was a council member for the School of Science Dean’s Advisory Council.

“When you leave school, you feel like you just had worked hard, had fun and made some great memories,” she said. “I felt like it was important to pay it forward and continue to teach strong work ethic to new students.”

Peters continues to be impressed by the school and the graduates she has hired at QEPI.

“It’s a strong science program, and it just gets better and better each year,” she added. “There’s a great future for students graduating from the School of Science.”

Peters will receive the 2014 Distinguished Alumna Award from the School of Science Alumni Association on October 9. Event details here.

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