CH2M/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award Nomination Submissions

This award, endowed by CH2M, is given annually to recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation that contributes to the advancement of environmental science and engineering. The award consists of a plaque and a cash prize of $1,500 for the student, and a plaque and a cash prize of $500 for the faculty advisor. A $750 travel allotment is provided to the student recipient if he or she attends the awards ceremony. A total allotment of $750 is also available to support travel of the faculty advisor to the awards ceremony, or may be shared by faculty co-advisors who attend the ceremony.

A selection committee of five AEESP members will review each nomination in a two-stage process. In the first stage, the committee will evaluate nomination packages consisting of a nomination letter from the faculty advisor and a dissertation abstract, written by the student, not to exceed 1000 words. The nomination letter will be considered in the evaluation process and must contain the following information: (1) the e-mail and mailing addresses and telephone numbers for the student and advisor, (2) an indication as to when the dissertation was completed, (3) a one paragraph description of the importance of the student's work and its relevance to environmental engineering and science, and (4) a concise statement defining the student's intellectual contribution to the work. The statement regarding intellectual contribution is necessary for all entries, but it is especially important if multiple authors contributed to the work under consideration. These first-stage submissions will be evaluated on the basis of: the scientific and technical merit of the research, originality of the research, contribution to the advancement of environmental engineering and science, and clarity of presentation. The most highly ranked nominees will be invited to submit full-length dissertations for a second-stage review and consideration for a dissertation award. Second-stage evaluation criteria are similar to first-stage review.

Faculty advisors are encouraged to nominate dissertations completed under their supervision but must limit themselves to a single entry. Self-nominations by students will not be accepted. Nominated dissertations must be from the calendar year prior to when the award is given, i.e., the due date printed on the dissertation cover must be from the prior year.

Questions may be directed to the chair of the Ph.D. Dissertation Awards Committee:

Dr. David Cwiertny
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Iowa
email:; Tel: 319-335-1401

AEESP thanks CH2M, Inc. for their generosity in endowing this award.

CLICK HERE to submit nominations.

Past Recipients

YearRecipientThesis TitleAdvisor
2017William RhoadsGrowth of Opportunistic Pathogens in Domestic Plumbing: Building Standards, System Operation, and DesignMarc A. Edwards and Amy Pruden, Virginia Tech
2017Yi JiangCrumpled Graphene Oxide: Aerosol Synthesis and Environmental ApplicationsPratim Biswas and John Fortner, Washington University in St. Louis
2016Lauren StadlerElucidating the Impact of Low Dissolved Oxygen Wastewater Treatment on Pharmaceutical FateNancy G. Love, University of Michigan
*2016Nicolette A. Zhou
(*Honorable Mention)
Trace Organic Contaminent Degradation by Isolated Bacteria Bioaugmented into Lab-Scale Reactors and Identification of Associated Degradation GenesHeidi L. Gough, University of Washington
2015Ngai Yin YipSustainable Production of Water and Energy with Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes and Ion-Exchange Membrane ProcessesMenachem Elimelech, Yale University
2014Bahareh AsadishadTransport and Survival of Bacteria in Model Aquatic Environments: Role of Water Chemistry, Surface Geochemistry, and TemperatureNathalie Tufenkji and Subhasis Ghosha, McGill University
2013Mari WinklerMagic GranulesMark van Loosdrecht, Delft University of Technology
2012Wen ZhangCharacterizing, imaging, and quantifying the environmental behavior and biological interactions of metal-based nanoparticlesYongsheng Chen, Georgia Institute of Technology
2011Manish KumarBiomimetic Membranes as New Materials for Applications in Environmental Engineering and BiologyJulie Ziles and Mark Clark, UIUC
2011Lee D. BryantDynamic forcing of oxygen, iron, and manganese fluxes at the sediment-water interface in lakes and reservoirsJohn C. Little, VA Tech, and Alfred Wüest, EAWAG
2010Elijah ThimsonMetal Oxide Semiconductors for Solar Energy HarvestingPratim Biswas, Washington University in St. Louis
2010David BerryMolecular and Ecological Mechanisms of Bacterial Response to the Drinking Water Disinfectant MonochloramineLutgarde Raskin,
University of Michigan
2009Shaomei HePopulation Structure and Gene Expression of Candidatus Accumulibacter in Enhanced Biological Phosphorous RemovalKatherina (Trina) McMahon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2009Michael DoddCharacterization of Ozone-Based Treatment as a Means of Eliminating the Target-Specific Biological Activities of Municipal Wastewater-Borne Antibacterial CompoundsUrs von Gunten, EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
2008Shaily MahendraBiodegradation of 1,4-Dioxane by Aerobic Bacteria: Experimental Studies and Modeling of Oxidation Kinetics, Co-contaminant Effects, and Biochemical PathwaysLisa Alvarez-Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
2008Hyeok ChoiNovel Preparation of Nanostructured TiO2 Photocatalytic Particles, Films, Membranes, and Devices for Environmental ApplicationsDionysios D. Dionysiou, University of Cincinnati
2007Jeremiah JohnsonMaterial Flows and Energy Use in Anthropogenic Metal CyclesThomas E. Graedel, Yale University
2007John Dyer FortnerC60 in Water: Aggregation Characterization, Reactivity and Behavior Joseph B. Hughes, Rice University
2007(Honorable Mention) Guo-Ping ShengSurface Characteristics of Microbial Aggregates in Wastewater Treatment BioreactorsHan-Qing Yu, University of Science and Technology of China
2006Thanh Helen NguyenSorption of Nonionic Organic Chemicals to Soil/Sediment Organic Matter and Black CarbonWilliam Ball, Johns Hopkins University
2006Dominic FrigonMechanism Explaining Seasonal Biological Foaming in Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Systems: Foam-Causing Bacteria Specialize in Consuming LipidsLutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois
2005Adrian OehmenThe Competition Between Polyphosphate Accumulating Organisms and Glycogen Accumulating Organisms in the Enhanced Biological Phosphorous Removal ProcessZhinguo Yuan and Jurg Keller, University of Queensland
2004Pramod KulkarniStudies on the Transport and Deposition of Charged NanoparticlesPratim Biswas, Washington University in St. Louis
2003Michael McCormickBiotic and Abiotic Transformations of Alkyl Halides in Iron-Reducing EnvironmentsPeter Adriaens, University of Michigan
2002Eric M.V. HoekColloidal Fouling Mechanisms in Reverse Osmosis and NanofiltrationMenachem Elimelech, Yale University
2001Jordan PecciaThe Response of Airborne Bacteria to Ultraviolet Germicidal RadiationMark Hernandez, University of Colorado
2000William A. ArnoldKinetics and Pathways of Chlorinated Ethylene and Chlorinated Ethane Reaction with Zero-Valent MetalsA. Lynn Roberts, Johns Hopkins
1999Andrew J. SchulerThe Effects of Varying Influent Phosphate and Acetate Concentrations on Enhancing Biological Removal of Phosphate from WastewaterDavid Jenkins, University of California at Berkeley
1998Weilin HuangSorption and Desorption by Soils and Sediments: Effects of Sorbent HeterogeneityWalter J. Weber, University of Michigan
1997James E. AndersonEffect of Chlorinated Ethene Biodegradation on Growth Rates of Methanotrophic Bacteria in Biofilms and Mixed CulturesPerry McCarty, Stanford University
1996Melinda W. HahnDeposition and Reetrainment of Brownian Particles Under Unfavorable Chemical ConditionsCharles O'Melia, The Johns Hopkins University
1995Eric Alan SeagrenQuantitative Evaluation of Flushing and Biodegradation for Enhancing In-Situ Dissolution of Nonaqueous-Phase LiquidsBruce Rittmann, Northwestern University
1994James FarrellDesorption Equilibrium and Kinetics of Chlorinated Solvents on Model Solids, Aquifer Sediments and SoilsMartin Reinhard, Stanford University
1993Radisav VidicOxidative Coupling of Phenols on Activated Carbon-Fundamentals and ImplicationsMakram Suidan, University of Cincinnati
1992Marc EdwardsOzonation: Transformation of Natural Organic Matter, Effect on Organic Matter - Coagulant Interactions, and Ozone-Induced Particle DestabilizationMark Benjamin, University of Washington
1991Robert E. MartinQuantitative Description of Bacterial Deposition and Initial Biofilm Development in Porous MediaEdward J. Bouwer, The Johns Hopkins University
1990Craig S. CriddleReductive Dehalogenation in Microbial and Electrolytic Model SystemsPerry L. McCarty, Stanford University
1989Jacques ManemInteractions Between Heterotrophic and Autotrophic Bacteria in Fixed-Film Biological Processes Used in Water TreatmentBruce E. Rittmann, University of Illinois (Urbana)
1988John E. TobiasonPhysicochemical Aspects of Particle Deposition in Porous MediaCharles R. O'Melia, The Johns Hopkins University