Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

News & Announcements

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Departmental News & Announcements
Read all news in the June 2015 EEES News.


Nicholas Hotzelt is the winner of a 2015 scholarship awarded by the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF).  Scholarships are awarded by EREF to recognize excellence in master’s, doctoral or post-doctoral waste management research and education.  Nick is an M.S. student working in Dr. Kevin Finneran’s lab investigating the conversion of landfill leachate to microbial biomass, which will then be used in anaerobic digesters to form methane.  This research advances the prospects of converting landfills to a source of renewable energy.  At most current landfills, the methane gas that is formed during the break down of organic waste leaks into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.  The process that Nick is working on will turn a significant environmental problem into a renewable energy solution. 

EREF scholarships are highly selective.  Nick’s selection is a significant honor for him and brings recognition to Dr. Finneran and the Department.  Congratulations Nick!

For more information about EREF scholarships, please visit http://erefdn.org/index.php/scholarships/index

Lee is permanent chair of the Department of Engineering and Science Education

Cindy Lee

Dr. Cindy Lee has accepted the position of permanent chair of the Department of Engineering and Science  Education. Dr. Lee is an accomplished researcher and administrator having served in the past as the interim associate dean for graduate studies and research for the college.

Dr. Lee’s major teaching and research interests are in chemistry of environmentally significant organic compounds. Her specific research interests involve the fate and transport of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), especially polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); pesticides; and petroleum. Cindy Lee is well known at the national stage, having served as a program manager for the National Science Foundation Environmental Sustainability Program,  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board and most recently has won election to the board of directors for the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Powell Appointed to the Fjeld Professorship in Nuclear Environmental Science and Engineering

Dr. Brian Powell is the first recipient of the Robert A. and Pamela S. Fjeld Professorship in Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science.  The professorship was established in 2015 in honor of Bob and Pam Fjeld.  Bob has been an esteemed faculty member in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences since 1980.  He held the Jerry E. and Harriett Calvert Dempsey Professorship of Waste Management from 1996 until he retired in 2009.  Bob’s research focused on the environmental aspects of nuclear technologies. He did pioneering work in the area of risk assessment and he is the lead author of a widely used textbook, Environmental Risk Analysis for Human Health.  Pam Fjeld served as the graduate student services coordinator in the Department from 1987 to 2003.  In many unique and special ways, she enriched the student experience.

Professorships help honor high-quality faculty members and serve as an enduring tribute to university supporters.  Dr. Powell’s appointment to the Fjeld professorship was an obvious choice.  Powell is currently overseeing a $5.25-million research project funded by the Department of Energy to find the safest ways of remediating the nation’s legacy nuclear waste sites and storing nuclear waste.  According to Powell, “We’ve brought together some of the state’s top minds to work on this. Researchers from Clemson, S.C. State and the University of South Carolina are involved. The goal is to advance the science behind environmental monitoring, remediation and disposal of radioactive contaminants.” 

Additional information is available at:  http://newsstand.clemson.edu/mediarelations/professorship-draws-attention-to-nuclear-waste-research/?utm_source=feed

Molz Publishes Critical Commentary in Groundwater
Professor Fred Molz has published a commentary in the journal Groundwater (Vol. 53, No. 3, May-June 2015), entitled “Advection, Dispersion and Confusion.”  In the commentary, Molz address a core question in hydrogeology:  “What is the physical meaning and basis for the classical concept of macrodispersion, and how should one visualize contaminant transport in groundwater.”  This is a must read for anyone working in subsurface remediation.  A link to the article is at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gwat.12338/full.

Molz to Serve as Keynote Speaker
Professor Fred Molz has been invited to serve as the keynote speaker at the Chapman Conference entitled “The MADE Challenge for Groundwater Transport in Highly Heterogeneous Aquifers: Insights from 30 Years of Modeling and Characterization at the Field Scale and Promising Future Directions.”  Chapman Conferences are sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and are designed to permit in-depth exploration of specialized subjects. The AGU Chapman Conference program has encouraged innovative research for over 35 years.  This Chapman Conference is designed to bring together a community of researchers who have conducted transport research at the field scale with those who are interested in aquifer characterization and solute transport modeling to: discuss insights gained from the last three decades of research, consider unresolved questions about aquifer characterization and modeling in highly heterogeneous aquifers, and identify promising avenues for future research in these areas.  Three decades of research on groundwater transport in highly heterogeneous aquifers, such as that at the Macrodispersion Experiment (MADE) site, has raised many questions about contaminant transport in highly heterogeneous media, the scale for characterization of subsurface heterogeneity, and the effectiveness of various models to predict transport in such systems.  Professor Molz will deliver his keynote address on "Geo-Statistical Property Modeling."  The conference will be held in Valencia, Spain (October 5-8, 2015).    More information is available at http://chapman.agu.org/aquifers/.

Dean Anand Gramopadhye announced that Dr. David L. Freedman has been selected to serve as the Chair of EEES.  Freedman succeeds Dr. Tanju Karanfil, who was appointed to the position of Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering and Science.  Freedman served as the Interim Chair of EEES from January 2014 to March 2015, when his appointment as permanent chair started.  Freedman has been at Clemson since 1996.  His teaching and research interests are in the application of biological processes for waste remediation.  Read More

David Freedman Chair

American Water Works Association's First Place 2015 Academic Achievement Award
Dr. Meric Selbes has been selected to receive the American Water Works Association's First Place 2015 Academic Achievement Award for the best Doctoral Dissertation. The title of Dr. Selbes’ dissertation is “The Effects of Amine Structure, Chloramine Species and Oxidation Strategies on the Formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine.” The award (a plaque and $3,000) will be formally presented at the AWWA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, held June 7-10, 2015.  David LaFrance, Chief Executive Officer of AWWA, made the announcement.  In a letter to Dr. Selbes, LaFrance stated: “Your work is a welcome addition to the water supply field and deserves special recognition.  I wish you the best in your future endeavors and offer my personal regards and congratulations.”  Dr. Selbes graduated in 2014 and is currently working at the environmental consulting firm of Hazen and Sawyer in Fairfax, Virginia. 
Dr. Melbes was mentored by Dr. Tanju Karanfil. This is the third time that one of Dr. Karanfil’s students has won AWWA’s Academic Achievement Award for the best Doctoral Dissertation.  Congratulations to Dr. Karanfil on this well-deserved recognition.  

Clemson University to begin field experiments on nuclear-waste storage
A team of more than 20 researchers from across the state will begin running field experiments at Clemson University next year to find the best ways of storing nuclear waste. Experiments have been done on a small scale in labs, but a new outdoor site will allow researchers to test underground storage methods on an intermediate scale in real-world conditions, said Clemson associate professor Brian Powell. “If we can do that, then our confidence in these waste disposal scenarios will be much, much higher,” Powell said. “This stands to be a premiere test-site in the country.” Read More

Donald A. Orth Lifetime Award of Merit
Dr. Brian Looney, an adjunct professor in EEES, received  the 2014 Donald A. Orth Lifetime Award of Merit from the Savannah River National Laboratory.  During his tenure at SRNL, Looney developed and deployed numerous environmental characterization, remediation and monitoring technologies. He has advanced a conceptual framework that defines environmental target zones based on their chemical and physical characteristics and how the conditions change in space and time. The resulting environmental “ovals” concept has been used nationwide to evaluate and match technologies to difficult environmental challenges. He is known in his field for the massive 1,500-page, two-volume book, “Vadose Zone: Science and Technology Solutions, edited by Looney and Dr. Ronald W. Falta (Professor in EEES) in 2000. The book has been recognized by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz as the leading research on vadose zone remediation from SRNL.  

The Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences undergraduate department is continuing renovations on campus.  Undergraduate services and faculty offices for Environmental Engineering, Biosystems Engineering and Geology are all now located in Brackett Hall.  If you are on campus, stop by 445 Brackett Hall to say hello to Cindy and Carol!

In May, 31 undergraduate students and 7 graduate students completed their degrees.  The undergraduate majors especially are thriving.  Each degree, Environmental Engineering, Biosystems Engineering, and Geology programs are all emphasizing hands-on and experiential learning.  The practical aspect of each major is drawing in students, and the department expects to have over 200 undergraduate students in the fall.

Student News

Kiekhaefer Selected for Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
Becca Kiekhaefer, an M.S. candidate in the Hydrogeology program, was selected by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) as one of this year's winners of the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.  NAGT recognizes outstanding teaching assistants in geoscience education with up to 30 awards annually. Both undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants are eligible for the award. Award winners receive a one year membership in NAGT, which includes an online subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education and the new In The Trenches quarterly magazine. More information may be found at http://nagt.org/nagt/students/ta.html.  Becca was nominated for the award by Dr. Alan Coulson, who supervises many of the teaching assistants for the BS degree in Geology.  Congratulations to Becca.

EEES doctoral student Mahmut Selim Ersan and his advisors (Professors David Ladner and Tanju Karanfil) were recently honored by having their research featured on the cover of the March 2015 issue of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.  The citation for the article and the cover are shown below.  Congratulations on your excellent work. 

Environmental Science & Technology

Ersan, M.S.; Ladner, D.A.; Karanfil, T. "N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) Precursors Leach from Nanofiltration Membranes." Environmental Science & Technology Letters 2015, 2, 66-69.

We would like to extend a special CONGRATULATIONS to our recent graduates:  Biosystems Engineering (BS) Austin Balser, Ethan Davies, Jessica Ketchum, Brendan Luther, Kaylynn Smalls, Chelsea Walker;  (MS) David Morris; Environmental Engineering (BS) Stephen Culleton, Nicholas Hotzelt, Kyle Leland, Ian Rickard, Andrew Speake; (MS/PhD) Jonathan Ball, Satya Gubbala, Jin Guo, Richard Hall, Timothy Sattler, Minjie Zhou; Geology (BS) Kimberly Gloersen, Christopher Jackson.

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship Announcement

The NERS Scholarship program will award top students from: Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geology, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, or a related discipline for participation in nuclear-related coursework and/or research. Scholarships in the amount of $2,500 will be awarded in two installments – May 2015 and August 2015.  Applications are due by 8:00pm on Friday April 24th. Please see the scholarship application for more information about eligibility and requirements.  More Information

Recent Publications:

Ladner, D.A.; Bolyard S.C.; Apul, D.; Whelton, A.J. "Navigating the academic job search for environmental engineers: Guidance for job seekers and mentors." Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 2013, 139, 211-217.

Yu, R., Peethambaram, H. S. Falta, R. W., Verce, M. F., Henderson, J. K., Bagwell, C. E., Brigmon, R. L., and Freedman, D. L.  “Kinetics of 1,2-Dichloroethane and 1,2-Dibromoethane Biodegradation in Anaerobic Enrichment Cultures.”  Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 79(4), 1359-1367 (2013). doi: 10.1128/AEM.02163-12. 

Darlington, R., Lehmicke, L., Andrachek, R. G., and Freedman, D. L.  “Anaerobic Abiotic Transformations of cis-1,2-Dichloroethene in Fractured Sandstone.”  Chemosphere, 90, 2226–2232 (2013) doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.09.084.

Hixon, A.E.; Arai, Y.; Powell, B.A., “Examination of the effect of alpha radiolysis of plutonium(V) sorption to quartz using multiple plutonium isotopes,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2013.04.007.

Fein, J. and Powell, B. A., “Uranium adsorption: Speciation at Mineral-Water and bacterial cell-water interfaces”. Chapter 5 in Uranium: Cradle to Grave (Eds. Peter C. Burns, Ginger E. Sigmon) Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2013.

Dang, V. D.; Lee, C. M.; and Walters, D. M. 2013. “Assessing Ongoing Sources of Dissolved Phase Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in a Contaminated Stream.” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 32(3):535-540.

Alumni News
Congrats to BE alumni Josh Oden (BS, '11) on his marriage to Sara Coleman on June 29th, 2013!
Congrats to Geology alumni Alex Baldwin (BS, '13), on his recent marriage to Hall Hunter!

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