2022 AEESP Award Recipients

October 25, 2022 | Submitted by Kevin T. Finneran, AEESP Awards Committee Chair (Clemson University)

The 2022 AEESP Awards were presented during the Awards Banquet in conjunction with the Research and Education Conference hosted by Washington University in St. Louis. Below is a list of the recipients. Congratulations to all award winners!

We appreciate the members of the Awards Committee and subcommittees for thoughtful and thorough evaluation of the nominations. We thank the Doctoral subcommittee chair Natalie Capiro, and the subcommittee consisting of Wen-Tso Liu, Kaoru Ikuma, Na Wei, and Kay Millerick. We also thank the MS Thesis subcommittee chair Brooke Mayer, and the subcommittee consisting of Roland Cusick, Prathap Parameswaran, and Wenqing Xu. Finally, we appreciate the work of the AEESP awards committee consisting of R. Scott Summers, Trina McMahon, David Ladner, Sarina Ergas, and Jacimaria Batista.

Thanks also to American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) members for serving on joint AAEES-AEESP awards committees, and to Liz Pohland for assisting with the selection of the Frederick George Pohland award recipient. Special thanks to AEESP members that served on this committee as well. We appreciate that Karl Rockne chaired the committee, and the service of AEES P members Susan Masten, Debra Reinhart, and David Dzombak.

*Please also note that nominations for 2023 AEESP Awards will go live on November 1, 2022 and be open through February 1, 2023. See AEESP’s Awards webpage (https://aeesp.org/awards) for more information and changes to this coming year’s nomination eligibility.

The awards committee chair starting this year is Thanh Huong (Helen) Nguyen; we appreciate here willingness to serve in this capacity.

Student Awards

Jacobs Engineering Group /AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

This award, endowed by Jacobs Engineering Group, is given annually to recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation that contributes to the advancement of environmental science and engineering.

Dr. Danielle Webb, University of Iowa

Dissertation Title: “Sorption of Neonicotinoid Insecticides and their Metabolites to Granular Activated Carbon: Implications for Exposure, Treatment, and Biotransformation”

Advisor: Prof. Gregory H. LeFevre

Paul V. Roberts/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

This award is given annually to recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation that advances the science and practice of water quality engineering for either engineered or natural systems.

Dr. Riley Mulhern, Indiana University

Dissertation Title: “Point-of-Use Water Treatment for Private Wells in North Carolina: Risks and Solutions for Lead, Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), and Microbial Contaminants”

Advisor: Prof. Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson

The following recipients received Honorable Mentions for their Doctoral Dissertations:

Dr. Ishi Keenum, Virginia Tech

Dissertation Title: “Assessing Vulnerabilities to the Spread of Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistance in Agricultural and Water Systems Using Culture-, Molecular-, and Metagenomic-based Techniques”

Advisor: Prof. Amy Pruden

Dr. Nicole Rockey, University of Michigan

Dissertation Title: “Novel approaches to monitor virus fate through water treatment processes”

Co-Advisors: Prof. Krista Wigginton and Prof. Lutgarde Raskin

Dr. Zhiyao Zhao, University of Queensland

Dissertation Title: “Innovative nitrogen conversion to enhance wastewater and sludge management”

Advisor: Prof. Zhiguo Yuan

Dr. Nina Zhao, University of Washington

Dissertation Title: “Identification and Fate of Bioactive Transformation Products of Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Antioxidants”

Advisor: Prof. Edward Kolodziej

AEESP Master's Thesis Award

This award annually recognizes two most outstanding Master of Science theses that contribute to the advancement of environmental science and engineering.  This year there were two awardees.

Awardee 1:

Ri Wang, Cornell University

Thesis Title:  “Exploring the Factors that Determine the Adsorption of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances on Conventional Adsorbents and Novel Cyclodextrin Polymers with Different Surface Properties”

Advisor: Prof. Damian Helbling

Awardee 2:

Omar Sadab Chowdury, University of Waterloo

Thesis Title: “Evaluation of Potential Health Risks from Microplastics in Drinking Water”

Co-AdvisersProf. Monica Emelko and William Anderson

W. Wesley Eckenfelder Graduate Research Award

This award, jointly administered by AEESP and AAEES, is given annually to recognize a student whose research contributes to the knowledge pool of industrial wastewater management. 

Duong Thanh Nguyen, University of Colorado Boulder (Nominated by Anthony Straub)

William Brewster Snow Award

This award recognizes an environmental engineering graduate student who had made significant accomplishments in an employment or academic engineering project.

Thanh (“Misty”) Lam, University of South Florida (Nominated by Sarina Ergas)

Innovyze Excellence in Computational Hydraulics & Hydrology Award

This award recognizes a student whose research contributes to the knowledge pool in the area of computational hydraulics and hydrology.

Noemi Vergopolan, Princeton University (Nominated by Justin Sheffield)

Education, Research, Practice and Outreach Awards

AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering and Science

This award is given annually to recognize excellence in classroom performance and related activities.

2022 Recipient: David V.P. Sanchez, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. David V.P. Sanchez had tremendous impact on his department, school, university, and community. He has taught thousands of students in laboratory, capstone and design courses, independent research, community engagement and study abroad. He is loved by his students and already recognized as a leader with the highest awards for teaching by the Swanson School of Engineering and by the University of Pittsburgh. He leads by example and his tireless commitment to personal and professional education of his students inspires a new standard of teaching excellence in Environmental Engineering, Sustainability and Science.

Steven K. Dentel AEESP Award for Global Outreach

This award, established in 2014, is given annually to recognize outstanding contributions and leadership by a faculty member through involvement in environmental engineering and science outreach activities to the global community.

2022 Recipient: Anu Ramaswami, Princeton University

Dr. Anu Ramaswami is the Swani Professor of India Studies at Princeton University, in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is the founding director of Princeton’s M.S. Chadha Center for Global India. Dr. Ramaswami’s teaching and research advances sustainability outcomes of health, environment, equity, and wellbeing in urban infrastructure systems. She has emerged as a leader in global outreach and her work has impacted science, students, and real-world policies that impact the lives of people in cities in the US, India, and China.

Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Education (E4) Award 

This award, jointly administered by AEESP and AAEES, is given annually by AAEES to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the profession in the area of educating practitioners.

Dr. Chad Jafvert, Purdue University (Nominated by Rao S. Govindaraju and John W. Sutherland)

AEESP Outstanding Publication Award

This award is given annually to recognize the author(s) of a "landmark environmental engineering and science paper that has withstood the test of time and significantly influenced the practice of environmental engineering and science."  At least one of the authors must be living and previous winners are ineligible for a period of three years. The selected recipient will receive a plaque.

The 2022 recipients are Paul Tratnyek, Michelle Scherer, and Timothy Johnson for their paper “Kinetics of halogenated organic compound degradation by iron metal.” Environmental Science & Technology Vol. 30, Issue 8 (1996), pp. 2634-2640.

Johnson et al. was the first paper on contaminant removal with zero-valent iron to move from demonstration of a useful technology to investigation of fundamental chemical processes. The work established a standard kinetic model emphasizing normalization of rates by surface area and used this model to bring order to compiled rate data from earlier work. The resulting meta-analysis became a standard dataset that was used in a series of subsequent efforts to develop quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) for dehalogenation reactions. Concepts introduced by Johnson et al. formed the basis for hundreds of future research projects on ZVI and the paper continues to be highly cited today.

AEESP/Mary Ann Liebert Award for Publication Excellence in Environmental Engineering Science Journal

This award, established in 2017, is given annually to the authors of an outstanding paper published in Environmental Engineering Science during the previous calendar year. Environmental Engineering Science is the official journal of AEESP, and this award recognizes publication excellence among its members.

The 2022 award recipients are April Gu, Yishan Lin, and Carla Cherchi.   Their paper is entitled 2021 paper, “Nano-Titanium Dioxide Exposure Impacts Nitrogen Metabolism Pathways in Cyanobacteria.”

This was determined to be the best paper published in EES in 2021. The investigators examined a novel electrochemical approach for removing estrogenic micropollutants in drinking water. The approach is energy efficient and it sequentially couples electrocoagulation with electrooxidation. This work makes a valuable contribution to public health because of the dangers of estrogenic compounds in initiating unwanted hormonal responses in humans. The paper is exceptionally well written, clearly conveying the significance of the work and the broader impacts.

Perry L. McCarty AEESP Founders' Award

This award, established in 1991 and newly endowed in 2015, is given annually to recognize a member of AEESP who has made "sustained and outstanding contributions to environmental engineering education and practice."

2022 Recipient: Deb Niemeier, University of Maryland, College Park

Dr. Niemeier joined the University of Maryland in 2019 after previously serving as a distinguished faculty member at UC-Davis.

Dr. Niemeier’s work is transdisciplinary.  She centers her work around understanding and quantifying mobile source emissions and inventories, and accelerating the implementation of regulatory guidance to: achieve more sustainable practices; improve the lives of vulnerable populations; and target environmental health disparities.  She holds firm to ensuring fairness and equity in her work and in organizations, making an immense impact in areas that most academics don’t dare to cross into. She is brave and visionary in ways that make her a unique and distinguished leader of environmental engineering.

Walter J. Weber, Jr. AEESP Frontier in Research Award.
This award recognizes an environmental engineering or science professor who has advanced the environmental engineering and science field through research leadership and pioneering efforts in a new and innovative research area.

2022 Recipient: Linsey Marr, Virginia Tech

Early in the Covid-19 global pandemic, Dr. Linsey Marr’s research overturned dangerously misguided conventional wisdom, by proving that airborne aerosols were a dominant viral transmission pathway. Her research has guided use of masking, determining appropriate ranges for social distancing, and according to Dr. Rich Corsi has likely saved “hundreds of thousands of lives in the US and beyond.” Linsey’s “viral” work at the research Frontier of aerosol dynamics and environmental microbiology, is a high profile exemplar of AEESP members’ ability to positivity impact public health.

Fredrick George Pohland Medal

This award honors a member of AEESP and/or AAEES who has made sustained and outstanding efforts to bridge environmental engineering research, education, and practice.

2022 Recipient:  John W. Sutherland, Purdue University

John W. Sutherland is the Fehsenfeld Family Head of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) at Purdue University. He is one of the founders of Green Manufacturing where the objectives are reduced adverse environmental impacts and improved occupational health, while maintaining economic competitiveness in manufacturing processes. He is an award-winning teacher in the area of Environmentally Responsible Design and Manufacturing, educating thousands of students, many outside of the environmental engineering discipline, about environmental stewardship opportunities in design and manufacturing. As the first permanent Head of EEE he has led 19 interdisciplinary faculty in the creation of an ABET accredited undergraduate degree, graduate degrees and a research enterprise.  It is for these reasons and may others, that Dr. Sutherland is being recognized with this medal.

AEESP Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Engineering & Science Education Award

This award is given annually to recognize excellence in teaching scholarship and/or professional society educational initiatives: authorship of educational or instructional material, effectiveness in course and/or curriculum development, record of activity in the educational activities of AEESP or another professional society.

2022 Recipient: Kerry Howe, University of New Mexico

Dr. Kerry Howe is a Distinguished Professor and Regents’ Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He serves as the Director for the Center for Water and the Environment and is the lead convener of UNM’s Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge. Dr. Howe’s impact on the environmental engineering and science field stretches from his textbooks, papers, presentations, leadership in developing nationally renowned centers, and close mentorship of junior faculty. Dr. Howe is co-author of 2 water treatment textbooks that are used to teach classes around the world: MWH’s Water Treatment Principles and Design and Principles of Water Treatment. His expertise is in the field of physicochemical treatment technologies to produce safe drinking water. His primary research focus is on the use of membranes in water and wastewater applications.

AEESP Distinguished Service Awards

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: AEESP President and Board Member: William Arnold

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: AEESP Chief Information Officer and Board Member: Willie Harper

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: AEESP Secretary and Board Member: Rob Nerenberg

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Research and Education Organizing Committee: Dan Giammar

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Research and Education Workshop Program: Young-Shin Jun

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: AEESP Foundation Board Member: April Gu

 2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Internet Resources Committee: Sanjay Mohanty

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Education Committee: Dan Oerther

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Co-Chairs of the AEESP Government Affairs Committee: Gregory Lowry and Kelvin Gregory

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Awards Committee: Kevin Finneran

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Awards Committee Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Subcommittee: Wen Zhang

2022 AEESP Distinguished Service Award: Chair of the AEESP Sustaining Member Engagement Committee: Paige Novak

AEESP Fellows

AEESP Wishes to congratulate the following AEESP Fellows inducted at this year’s Awards Banquet:

Chad Jafvert, Purdue University

Chad Jafvert received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and then worked as an EPA Research Scientist at the U.S. EPA Environmental Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia for 6 years before joining the faculty at Purdue University in 1991. At Purdue, he currently is the Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering, and holds a joint appointment in Environmental and Ecological Engineering. He is an AAEES Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member, and was a co-recipient with Richard Valentine of the 2017 AEESP Outstanding Publication Award. He also received the AEESP Distinguished Service Award for his service as chair of the AEESP Awards Committee in 2013 and 2014. He is a visiting professor at Southeast University in Nanjing China, and formerly a visiting professor at Qinghai Normal University in Western China. At Purdue, he is a Fellow in the Purdue Teaching Academy, is listed in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers, and has twice been awarded an Instructional Excellence Award. There are over 150 published works by Professor Jafvert indexed in the Web of Science. His primary research interests are the chemical and physicochemical fate processes of anthropogenic substances in natural and engineered environments. His recent interests include: remediation strategies for contaminated sediments; aquatic photochemistry of pollutants including carbonbased nanomaterials; real-time continuous water quality monitoring, and drinking water treatment in rural areas of developing countries. Ten of his former students hold faculty positions at universities in the U.S. and around the globe.

JoAnn Silverstein, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. JoAnn Silverstein is a Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research has primarily focused on the control of nitrogen discharges to the environment and resilience analysis of wastewater treatment systems. She joined AEEP in 1982, served on the Board of Directors (1994-1997, as secretary, 1996-1997) and various committees (Dissertation Awards, Endowment Committee, 50-year Legacy) and she delivered the AEESP keynote address at the 50th anniversary conference. She was the first AEEP/AEESP female member and has been a member for 40 years. In 2019, JoAnn was awarded the AEESP Perry L. McCarty Founders Award. JoAnn was in the first cohort of four women to be hired by the CU Boulder College of Engineering in 1982 and in 1989 she and one other female faculty member were the first to achieve tenure. JoAnn has served as Director of the Program in Environmental Design, was the founding director of the Sustainable By Design residential academic program as has been a tireless advocate for diversity and equity in academia. Joann most recently served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Advancement, a position she held through 2021. Through her role as an AEESP Fellow, she will continue to benefit our organization and its legacy.

Peter Vikesland, Virginia Tech

Peter “Pete” Vikesland is the Nick Prillaman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Virginia Tech. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Grinnell College and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. Following his PhD, he completed post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins before joining Virginia Tech in 2002.  Pete has published over 130 articles in peer reviewed journals and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science: Nano. At Virginia Tech, he is currently the Director of the Virginia Tech Sustainable Nanotechnology (VTSuN) interdisciplinary graduate program and a co-PI on NanoEarth, a large, integrated center funded by the NSF National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program. He also serves as coordinator for the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering program. Pete has been highly active in the AEESP community, serving on the Internet Services Committee and Executive Advisory Board before becoming AEESP President from 2016-2017. In 2017 he co-led an effort, co-sponsored by AEESP, to consider Grand Challenges and the future of environmental engineering in the 21st Century, which has become a vital reference directing research in our field.

AEESP Lifetime Members

AEESP Wishes to congratulate the following AEESP members on achieving Lifetime Membership Status:

  • Dr. Pratim Biswas, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Dr. Terese M. Olson (ret.), University of Michigan

AEESP Announces the Edward J. Bouwer / AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Beginning in 2023, AEESP will be adding a new Doctoral Dissertation Award in honor of the late Professor Ed Bouwer, to be named the Edward J. Bouwer / AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award!

As many of you already know, Ed was a dedicated researcher, teacher, and mentor to his graduate students at Johns Hopkins University. He was a leading researcher in microbial process engineering and performed groundbreaking work on the bioremediation of chlorinated solvents and his research group’s fundamental work on bioremediation, water and wastewater treatment, and contamination in urban environments led to innovations in engineering practice and informed decisions concerning land use and national environmental policy. Ed combined pragmatism with compassion to solve environmental problems in Baltimore and across the country and always strived to positively impact human and environmental health. Ed will be remembered not only for his technical contributions, but also for his level of personal commitment to every undergraduate advisee, Master student and Doctoral candidate - treating everyone he encountered with kindness and respect. This award will allow AEESP the opportunity to honor the excellent work done by emerging researchers in the environmental engineering and science field and honor Ed’s legacy of research and mentorship.

The outpouring of love and generosity by not only his family, but his friends and colleagues as well, has allowed us to reach the critical threshold to make this award a reality.  But we haven’t quite reached the full endowment target of $75,000 yet. So if you are able to make a donation, however big or small, to help us fully endow the Award.  Donations may be made online through the Foundation website (www.aeespfoundation.org/donate) or by calling the Business Office at 202-640-6591 ext. 309.

Best Student Post Awards

Congratulations to the following Best Student Poster Awards, as determined by ACS Publications and recognized at the Awards Banquet:

  • Ana Grace Alvarado (University of California - Merced) - The Life of a Tomato: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Fresh Tomatoes Compared to Processed Tomatoes in California
  • Samantha Bunke (Stanford University) - Life Cycle Comparison of Battery Recycling and Conventional Material Refining
  • Dane Elliott (The Ohio State University) - Effect of Drinking Water Treatment Processes on the Integrity of Cyanobacteria Cells
  • Stefanie Huttelmaier (Northwestern University) - Understanding host-phage interactions of nitrite oxidizing bacteria in a nitritation reactor
  • Roozbeh Ghasemi (University of New Hampshire) - Household preferences of decentralized solar photovoltaic and thermal systems
  • Jinyue (Jerry) Jiang (Princeton University) - Molecular transformation and metabolic insights during MEC treatment of post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater (PHW)
  • Kaitlyn McKinney (Texas Tech University) -  Insights into Bioaerosols in Subarctic Interior Alaska
  • Katelin Weitzel (University of Cincinnati) - Treatment and Reuse of Agricultural Drainage Water: Opportunities and Challenges