CH2M/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

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 have been submitted to the student's graduate institution in 2016.

Questions may be directed to the chair of the Ph.D. Dissertation Awards Committee:
Professor Aria Amirbahman
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Maine
e-mail:; Tel: 207-581-1277

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

Past Recipients

Year Recipient Thesis Title Advisor
2017 William Rhoads Growth of Opportunistic Pathogens in Domestic Plumbing: Building Standards, System Operation, and Design Marc A. Edwards and Amy Pruden, Virginia Tech
2017 Yi Jiang Crumpled Graphene Oxide: Aerosol Synthesis and Environmental Applications Pratim Biswas and John Fortner, Washington University in St. Louis
2016 Lauren Stadler Elucidating the Impact of Low Dissolved Oxygen Wastewater Treatment on Pharmaceutical Fate Nancy G. Love, University of Michigan
*2016 Nicolette A. Zhou
(*Honorable Mention)
Trace Organic Contaminent Degradation by Isolated Bacteria Bioaugmented into Lab-Scale Reactors and Identification of Associated Degradation Genes Heidi L. Gough, University of Washington
2015 Ngai Yin Yip Sustainable Production of Water and Energy with Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes and Ion-Exchange Membrane Processes Menachem Elimelech, Yale University
2014 Bahareh Asadishad Transport and Survival of Bacteria in Model Aquatic Environments: Role of Water Chemistry, Surface Geochemistry, and Temperature Nathalie Tufenkji and Subhasis Ghosha, McGill University
2013 Mari Winkler Magic Granules Mark van Loosdrecht, Delft University of Technology
2012 Wen Zhang Characterizing, imaging, and quantifying the environmental behavior and biological interactions of metal-based nanoparticles Yongsheng Chen, Georgia Institute of Technology
2011 Manish Kumar Biomimetic Membranes as New Materials for Applications in Environmental Engineering and Biology Julie Ziles and Mark Clark, UIUC
2011 Lee D. Bryant Dynamic forcing of oxygen, iron, and manganese fluxes at the sediment-water interface in lakes and reservoirs John C. Little, VA Tech, and Alfred Wüest, EAWAG
2010 Elijah Thimson Metal Oxide Semiconductors for Solar Energy Harvesting Pratim Biswas, Washington University in St. Louis
2010 David Berry Molecular and Ecological Mechanisms of Bacterial Response to the Drinking Water Disinfectant Monochloramine Lutgarde Raskin,
University of Michigan
2009 Shaomei He Population Structure and Gene Expression of Candidatus Accumulibacter in Enhanced Biological Phosphorous Removal Katherina (Trina) McMahon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2009 Michael Dodd Characterization of Ozone-Based Treatment as a Means of Eliminating the Target-Specific Biological Activities of Municipal Wastewater-Borne Antibacterial Compounds Urs von Gunten, EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
2008 Shaily Mahendra Biodegradation of 1,4-Dioxane by Aerobic Bacteria: Experimental Studies and Modeling of Oxidation Kinetics, Co-contaminant Effects, and Biochemical Pathways Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
2008 Hyeok Choi Novel Preparation of Nanostructured TiO2 Photocatalytic Particles, Films, Membranes, and Devices for Environmental Applications Dionysios D. Dionysiou, University of Cincinnati
2007 Jeremiah Johnson Material Flows and Energy Use in Anthropogenic Metal Cycles Thomas E. Graedel, Yale University
2007 John Dyer Fortner C60 in Water: Aggregation Characterization, Reactivity and Behavior  Joseph B. Hughes, Rice University
2007 (Honorable Mention) Guo-Ping Sheng Surface Characteristics of Microbial Aggregates in Wastewater Treatment Bioreactors Han-Qing Yu, University of Science and Technology of China
2006 Thanh Helen Nguyen Sorption of Nonionic Organic Chemicals to Soil/Sediment Organic Matter and Black Carbon William Ball, Johns Hopkins University
2006 Dominic Frigon Mechanism Explaining Seasonal Biological Foaming in Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Systems: Foam-Causing Bacteria Specialize in Consuming Lipids Lutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois
2005 Adrian Oehmen The Competition Between Polyphosphate Accumulating Organisms and Glycogen Accumulating Organisms in the Enhanced Biological Phosphorous Removal Process Zhinguo Yuan and Jurg Keller, University of Queensland
2004 Pramod Kulkarni Studies on the Transport and Deposition of Charged Nanoparticles Pratim Biswas, Washington University in St. Louis
2003 Michael McCormick Biotic and Abiotic Transformations of Alkyl Halides in Iron-Reducing Environments Peter Adriaens, University of Michigan
2002 Eric M.V. Hoek Colloidal Fouling Mechanisms in Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration Menachem Elimelech, Yale University
2001 Jordan Peccia The Response of Airborne Bacteria to Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation Mark Hernandez, University of Colorado
2000 William A. Arnold Kinetics and Pathways of Chlorinated Ethylene and Chlorinated Ethane Reaction with Zero-Valent Metals A. Lynn Roberts, Johns Hopkins
1999 Andrew J. Schuler The Effects of Varying Influent Phosphate and Acetate Concentrations on Enhancing Biological Removal of Phosphate from Wastewater David Jenkins, University of California at Berkeley
1998 Weilin Huang Sorption and Desorption by Soils and Sediments: Effects of Sorbent Heterogeneity Walter J. Weber, University of Michigan
1997 James E. Anderson Effect of Chlorinated Ethene Biodegradation on Growth Rates of Methanotrophic Bacteria in Biofilms and Mixed Cultures Perry McCarty, Stanford University
1996 Melinda W. Hahn Deposition and Reetrainment of Brownian Particles Under Unfavorable Chemical Conditions Charles O'Melia, The Johns Hopkins University
1995 Eric Alan Seagren Quantitative Evaluation of Flushing and Biodegradation for Enhancing In-Situ Dissolution of Nonaqueous-Phase Liquids Bruce Rittmann, Northwestern University
1994 James Farrell Desorption Equilibrium and Kinetics of Chlorinated Solvents on Model Solids, Aquifer Sediments and Soils Martin Reinhard, Stanford University
1993 Radisav Vidic Oxidative Coupling of Phenols on Activated Carbon-Fundamentals and Implications Makram Suidan, University of Cincinnati
1992 Marc Edwards Ozonation: Transformation of Natural Organic Matter, Effect on Organic Matter - Coagulant Interactions, and Ozone-Induced Particle Destabilization Mark Benjamin, University of Washington
1991 Robert E. Martin Quantitative Description of Bacterial Deposition and Initial Biofilm Development in Porous Media Edward J. Bouwer, The Johns Hopkins University
1990 Craig S. Criddle Reductive Dehalogenation in Microbial and Electrolytic Model Systems Perry L. McCarty, Stanford University
1989 Jacques Manem Interactions Between Heterotrophic and Autotrophic Bacteria in Fixed-Film Biological Processes Used in Water Treatment Bruce E. Rittmann, University of Illinois (Urbana)
1988 John E. Tobiason Physicochemical Aspects of Particle Deposition in Porous Media Charles R. O'Melia, The Johns Hopkins University