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Environmental Engineering News

May 2012 EVEN Graduates Win Top College Awards

EVEN celebrated spring 2012 graduation with two students selected for the College's highest awards. Bailey Leppek was selected as the May 2012 Outstanding Graduate overall for the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Bailey was recognized for her scholarship, service contributions including helping lead SEVEN, and research contributions in two areas -- investigating the fate of antibiotics in wastewater and investigating student attitudes towards fluid mechanics. Tamara (Tami) Relph was selected as Outstanding Graduate for International Service, in recognition of her contributions to Engineers Without Borders. Among other activities, she led the EWB implementation trip for a water project in Llacamate, Peru.

Winning Semester for EVEN Design Teams

EVEN senior design teams brought home a sweep of awards from design competitions in spring 2012. The team of Maria Cabeza, Matt Huntze, Kristin Johansen, Bailey Leppek, and Alexandra Murray won the Regional Water Environment Association/American Water Works Association student design competition with their design for an upgrade to the Broadmoor Park Wastewater Treatment Plant, and will go on to the national finals in New Orleans this fall. Samantha Brook, Joel Jones, Katherine Otero, Michelle Sadeghy and Andrew Safulko won the AECOM North American Water Academic Design Competition with energy and greenhouse gas savings upgrades for a wastewater treatment plant in West Virginia, travelling to New York City to compete in the finals. Daniel Huynh, Neil Jenkins, Elizabeth McNicholas, Kele Ogbonnaya, and Jennifer Santini made the AECOM semi-finals with a project on radionuclide removal from drinking water. Stay tuned for news from the Federal Aviation Administration University Design Competition.

Feb. 2012 Bill Emery named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

EVEN faculty member Bill Emery has been named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Emery is a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences and conducts research on satellite remote sensing of ocean surface characteristics, vegetation, and urban change. He teaches courses on satellite remote sensing and engages numerous undergraduate students in his research.

Feb. 2012 Diane McKnight elected to National Academy of Engineering

EVEN faculty member Diane McKnight has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She is being recognized for her path-breaking research demonstrating the relationship between natural organic matter and heavy metals in lakes and streams. McKnight is a professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. She leads the applied ecology option in EVEN and developed and teaches a popular engineering course on Introduction to Applied Ecology.

Learning from the Gulf Oil Spill: Deepwater Horizon Forum on January 26, 2012

EVEN is co-sponsoring a forum on the Deepwater Horizon disaster from 6:30 - 9 pm on January 26, 2012, in Math 100. Donald Winter will be the keynote speaker. Winter led the National Academy of Engineering committee that investigated the causes of the accident, which killed 11 men and released 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The forum also features Paul Hsieh, a scientist with the US Geological Survey, who did critical modeling to determine whether the cap used to stop the spill would work. CU Environmental Engineering professor Fernando Rosario-Ortiz and post-doctoral researcher Alina Handorean will talk about their research on the aftermath and clean-up of the spill. Join us to learn how we can ensure it never happens again.

Dec. 2011 Rob Millspaugh Outstanding Graduate for Service for the College of Engineering

EVEN student Rob Millspaugh was selected as the December 2011 Outstanding Graduate for Service for the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Rob was recognized for his passion for addressing water quality issues, and his dedication to helping developing communities. Rob joined the CU chapter of Engineers without Boarders in 2008, and most recently served as vice president. Rob traveled to Nepal twice with EWB, participating in projects to provide source water protection and to implement a wetlands-based wastewater treatment system. As EWB vice president, Rob introduced the use of design charettes to help multiple EWB teams with problem solving.

May 2011 EVEN Students Win AECOM Student Design Competition

Congratulations to four EVEN seniors who won the 2011 AECOM Student Design Competition. Eric Millinger, Lauren Schmeisser, Daniela Castanada, and Bryn Bei celebrated their victory in Times Square, New York (pictured from left to right). As part of the senior capstone design course, Eric, Lauren, Daniela, and Bryan designed a water softening process to upgrade a Midwest drinking water treatment plant from 30 MGD to 40 MGD capacity. During the semester, the team completed an alternatives assessment and preliminary design, and a poster to highlight their work. Then AECOM selected five semi-finalists from among 15 teams working on two different design problems to participate in a video conference interview with the New York office. CU was among two teams the AECOM selected to compete in the finals in New York. Based on their highly polished, professional presentation and knowledgable answers to challenging questions, the CU team was selected as the winner. AECOM is the largest engineering company in the world, and we appreciate them sponsoring the competition; this is the second year that a team in Professor Bielefeldt's design course has participated in the competition. Eric, Daniela, and Bryan all graduated in May, and Lauren is continuing through the BS/MS program. All four have a bright future and did a great job representing CU and our EVEN program.

2011 Laurels Sessler Outstanding Staff Advisor for the College of Engineering

Laurels is the staff advisor for EVEN and received nominations for Outstanding Staff Advisor from 14 students! She was selected to receive the Outstanding Staff Advisor award from the College of Engineering & Applied Science based on students' recommendations. Quotes from the student nominations include:
  • Laurels is so incredibly helpful. She remembers all of us by face and name. She knows so much about classes that are being offered and different opportunities. She can answer just about any question that any of us have. She really cares about all of us, and really takes time to help us figure stuff out.
  • Laurels has an outstanding knowledge of many programs in CU and their respective opportunities. She provides suggestions on an individual basis and offers valuable information about scheduling and requirements. She is easy to work with and eases administrative frustrations by quick responses and follow-ups to many issues.
  • Laurels has been extremely organized, communicative and welcoming throughout my time at CU. She will always sit down with me and look at degree progress and class options to answer questions or direct me to someone for more advice. There was literally a time when I went to her office unscheduled and she happened to be going over my progress chart to make sure I was on track for my expected graduation and that nothing was missed. She always emails class offering updates and registration reminders for classes and other requirements like FE deadlines, etc. I've talked with many peers in agreement about how helpful she has been with keeping us all on track.

    The EVEN program is fortunate to have such a great staff person helping all of our students. Congratulations, Laurels!

  • Dec. 2010 Hannah Cassard Outstanding Graduate

    EVEN student Hannah Cassard was selected as the December 2010 Outstanding Graduate overall for the College of Engineering & Applied Science at CU. Her selection by a review panel of faculty and students was based on her academic excellence, research experience, professional internships, and service. In addition to earning her BS degree in EVEN with the energy specialization, Hannah earned the CU-Boulder Energy Certificate and an International Certificate in Spanish. Hannah is also the first EVEN student to complete a 2-semester senior thesis. Her research was mentored by Dr. John Pellegrino and explored direct coupled solar-powered membrane distillation for brackish water desalination. Congratulations, Hannah! Hannah will start work at Abengoa Solar in Spain, following up in her International Certificate Co-op experience with the same company.

    Dec. 2010 Former EVEN Director wins College Service Award

    Former EVEN director Angela Bielefeldt was selected to receive the 2010 Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder. This singular award is given to only one faculty member (out of over 200) per year in our college. It recognizes her service to the EVEN program and the CEAE department via assessment activities.

    Oct 2010 Environmental Engineering Ranked 5th on the Best Jobs in America list by

    In Money/'s list of the "Best Jobs in America", Environmental Engineering ranked 5th based on great pay and growth prospects. This was the top ranked engineering job, edging out Civil Engineering (#6) and ahead of Biomedical Engineering (#10).
    Link to full story.

    July 2010 Jana Milford Returns as EVEN Director

    After 4 years as director of the EVEN program, Angela Bielefeldt is stepping down. During the past 4 years, student enrollment in the EVEN program has tripled and the program gained national ranking. Professor Jana Milford is returning to lead the EVEN program. Congratulations Jana!

    May 2010 EVEN Design Teams Compete

    Two teams of EVEN students in the capstone design course competed this year in regional and natioanl competitions. In the national AECOM competition, a team of 5 CU students including three EVEN students (EVENs Seneca Anderson, Steven Crisp, and Ben Kamark; plus CVEN Cait Rodriguez and grad student Meredith Berlin) designed an advanced treatment upgrade to a drinking water treatment plant to remove pesticides from the water. The team was in the top six among 20 teams nationwide, and therefore participated in a video conference presentation to AECOM in New York. A second team of 5 CU students (EVEN students Kitty Stevenson, Cameron Tuttle, Andrew March, Susana Macias; and grad student Nicole Stewart) competed in the Rocky Mountain AWWA/WEF student design competition. [group pictured at left] The team evaluated two potential locations and an upgrade design for a 300 MGD drinking water traetment plant to upgrade/relocate Denver Water's Moffat WTP. CU competed with teams from the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, and the University of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. Congratulations EVEN students!

    May 2010 Outstanding Graduate

    Anna Herring was selected as the EVEN Outstanding Outstanding Graduate. Anna was selected based on her academic excellence, leadership of the Student EVEN Society (SEVEN), research, and professional internships. Anna plans to attend graduate school in Oregon.

    April 2010 EVEN Team Wins the Halliburton Environmental Footprint Challenge

    A number of EVEN students were among the 20 CU engineering students who participated in the 2009-2010 Halliburton Environmental Footprint Challenge. Seniors Nicki Seminara, Hannah Cassard, and Steven Crisp (pictured at left, from left to right) won first place and a $12,000 prize. The third place team included EVEN students Ethan Boor and Doug Winter, with an $8000 prize. The fourth place team included two additional EVEN students, Mike Wetterau and Frank Guiffre. All of the student teams developed methods to allow dust free travel on gravel or dirt roads for light and heavy duty equipment associated with the oil and gas industry. Congratulations EVEN students!

    April 2010 EVEN student wins Undergraduate Stuent Award in Environmental Chemistry

    Ben Kamark, a senior EVEN student, was selecte for the Undergraduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry by the American Chemical Society (ACS) - Division of Environmental Chemistry. Ben was selected based on his performance in various chemistry courses, mastery of environmental chemistry principles, and mentoring of other students. His field and laboratory research on the fate of mercury in soils after forest fires is advancing the state of knowledge in a critical area.

    October 2009 EVEN Team Wins the National WEFTEC Student Design Competition

    Six EVEN students from the spring 2009 capstone design course won the national design competition at WEFTEC with their innovative design of an upgrade for the Denver Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant. Presenters, shown, from left to right are: Sean Aronson (BS EVEN, May 2009), Leanne Miller (anticipated BS EVEN Dec. 2009), Rishabh Iyer (anticipated BS EVEN Dec. 2009), and Jayson Ellis (completed BS EVEN degree requirements summer 2009). Also contributing to the design were John Craven and Brad Short (anticipated BS EVEN Dec. 2009). The CU team was the top among the ten teams competing in the design competition in Orlando, Florida. Congratulations to our students!

    August 2009 EVEN program at CU-Boulder Ranked 18th by US News and World Report

    Our EVEN program at CU-Boulder was ranked 18th among all undergraduate environmental engineering/environmental health undergraduate programs at Ph.D. granting universities by the US News and World Report (Best Colleges 2010; published Aug. 20, 2009; link). It was 11th among public universities. That makes EVEN the second highest nationally rated engineering specialty program at CU (aerospace ranked 16th, 11th among public universities). Overall, the College of Engineering was ranked 34th overall among engineering programs (whose highest degree is a doctorate), and 19th among public universities. CU-Boulder is the highest ranked engineering program in Colorado, with CSM ranked 51st and CSU 64th overall.

    May 2009 EVEN Team Wins the Rocky Mountain WEF/AWWA Student Design Competition

    A team of six EVEN students won the Second Annual Student Design Competition sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Federation/American Water Works Association. The team members were (left to right in photo): Rishabh Iyer, John Craven, Leanne Miller, Brad Short, Jayson Ellis, and Sean Aronson. The students completed an alternatives assessment and preliminary design of an upgrade to the Metro Wastewater Treatment Facility to achieve BOD and nutrient removal at the South Complex. The work was completed as part of their capstone design course, CVEN 4434 Environmental Engineering Design, taught by Professor Angela Bielefeldt. Teams from Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Wyoming also participated in the competition. The students were judged on the basis of a written design binder and an oral presentation and question/answer session at Metro on May 1. The CU team will now be sent to compete in the National competition at WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation conference in Orlando, Florida, in October. Congratulations, CU team!

    May 2009 EVEN Team Wins the Halliburton Foundation Environmental Footprint Challenge

    The Halliburton Foundation sponsored a competition in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder in Spring 2009 to develop technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of oil and gas extraction activities in Colorado. Two teams from the CVEN 4434 Environmental Engineering Design course taught by Professor Bielefeldt participated in the Challenge. The student teams were judged on their poster, oral presentation, and written design report. The team of Julie Korak (EVEN/CHEN), Kelly Colwell (EVEN), Robert Parker (EVEN/CHEN), and Ben Chittick (CHEN) won first place and a $20,000 team award. The group designed a process to control air pollution associated with natural gas extraction/processing. All four students graduated from CU in May 2009. The second team of Christina Barstow (CVEN), Jonathan Peterson (EVEN), Dania Zinner (EVEN), and Sarah Rosenbloom (CVEN) won Honorable Mention and $700 each. They determined a method to allow treatment of coal bed methane (CBM) produced water from the Piceance Basin to allow beneficial reuse in CBM drilling/fracturing and agricultural irrigation.

    May 2009 Outstanding Graduate

    Julie Korak was selected as the Outstanding Outstanding Graduate of the College of Engineering in spring 2009. Julie is the first graduate of the Environmental Engineering (EVEN) program to be selected for this prestigous award, and gave a speech at the Engineering Graduation Recognition Ceremony on May 7. Julie also earned a second B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering (CHEN). In addition to her strong academics, Julie participated in a professional internship at Avon Products, worked on a research project studying zeolite membrane at CU with chemical engineering professor John Falconer, and served as a teaching assistant for GEEN 1300 Intro to Engineering Computing. She was actively engaged in two engineering honor societies. Julie studied abroad at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Julie also served as a tutor with the Herbst Academic Center. Julie represents a wonderful balance of all of the positive attributes of an engineering graduate: academic excellence and participation in research, teaching, and service activities.

    May 2009: Dania Zinner was selected as the "EVEN Outstanding Graduate" for 2009. Dania plans to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado at Denver in their sustainable infrastructure group. Congratulations, Dania! Read More

    May 2008: Hallie Bevan was selected as the "EVEN Outstanding Graduate" for 2008. Hallie plans to work at Walsh Environmental in Boulder. Congratulations, Dania! Read More