In her nearly 10 years on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Professor Angela Bielefeldt has shown a deep commitment to the interests of students as well as the larger community.
She teaches a variety of courses ranging from Introduction to Civil Engineering to graduate-level courses in hazardous waste and bioremediation, and received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors in 2004.
Bielefeldt also received the Early Career Award from the American Society for Engineering Education for her work to incorporate service learning projects into the capstone design course in environmental engineering, which has strengthened the experience for students while assisting a variety of communities in managing environmental issues.
“The students always put in a lot of effort, and seeing real benefits from their efforts is very satisfying,” she says. “Working directly with communities also gives the students a much better understanding of the social, political, and economic realities that impact engineering projects.” In one such project, students investigated sustainable wastewater treatment methods for the Pueblo of Jemez, a sovereign Indian nation in central New Mexico.
Currently an associate professor, Bielefeldt also has been working with other faculty to promote Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado. “We are committed to educating globally responsible students and professionals who can offer sustainable and appropriate technology solutions to the endemic problems faced by developing communities at local, national and global levels,” she says.
Besides advising students on service-oriented capstone design projects, Bielefeldt also is working with colleague Scott Summers and a number of students to research the water treatment effectiveness of the Filtrón, a household device used in some parts of the developing world to eliminate bacteria from drinking water.
“I particularly enjoy mentoring the research of undergraduates and high school students in the lab,” Bielefeldt says recalling her own research experience at Iowa State University just after her junior year of high school. “That summer my love of environmental engineering was born.” She earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State, and then her master’s and PhD from the University of Washington. “I am always glad to mentor a special topics or independent study project for any student interested in getting involved in the lab.”