Background Info –non-academic, industry experience, hobbies
My husband and I have lived in Boulder for 21 years and love being here. Prior to coming to CU I taught at the University of Connecticut. Prior to that I worked as a Congressional Fellow for the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress. My hobbies include reading, running, hiking, skiing, and gardening.
Are you active in any professional societies?
No, but instead I serve on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, a 9-member citizen's board that oversees all air quality regulations in the state. I've also served on a number of expert committees for the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering, and on the U.S. EPA's Science Advisory Board.
What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about helping students, policy makers, and the public understand the environmental impacts of energy production, conversion, and use, and helping society transition to more sustainable energy systems.
What classes do you teach?
Sustainable Energy, Environmental Law for Engineers and Scientists, Air Pollution Control, Heat Transfer, and Thermodynamics
What is your favorite thing about being an environmental engineering professor at CU?
We have great students!
What sets CU’s environmental engineering program apart from others?
Our intellectually rich setting. We have a great environmental engineering and science community that reaches beyond our program to include other departments on campus, and researchers and educators from the national labs in the area.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to give to prospective or current students?
Take advantage of the breadth of offerings CU has that support the environmental engineering field — including natural sciences but also economics, policy, and law.
You recently presented the proposal of new Environmental Engineering graduate degrees to the CU Board of Regents. The Board approved, and starting in fall 2015, students can now earn an MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering. What does this say about the direction the university is heading? How would broadly available Environmental Engineering graduate degrees influence the field of engineering?
CU-Boulder is continuing to build on its terrific reputation in the environmental area. The new Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex represents a tremendous opportunity for us to develop synergies in environmental research and teaching and break down the old barriers between departments and colleges. The new degree programs will help us build recognition for the strong research and educational activities we already have, and will help us attract new students.
How does your background in law compliment your background in engineering?
In the environmental arena, advances in engineering and law go hand-in-hand. I'm fascinated by the push-pull interactions between them. Sometimes new laws and regulations drive demand for technological innovations. At other times, new technologies open up new opportunities for more efficient and effective regulations.
Do you have any advice for students interested in going into environmental policy and law?
A degree in environmental engineering is a great background for going into law. Besides substantive knowledge of environmental engineering, the degree sharpens analytical skills which are important for success in the legal profession.
Would you encourage students to seek additional academic focuses in policy?
Yes! Engineers sometimes mistakenly think good policy is just a matter of good common sense. Of course that's important, but there is lots more to learn to understand how policies are developed, implemented, and evaluated, and what makes them succeed or fail. Gaining some formal education in policy and the associated social sciences can open the door for environmental engineers to be able to engage constructively in the policy arena, whether on behalf of their clients or companies, or as citizens.
August 19th, 2015