AEESP Master’s Thesis Awards

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This award annually recognizes the top two most outstanding M.S. theses that contribute to the advancement of environmental science and engineering. Each award consists of a plaque and $500 for the student as well as a plaque for the faculty advisor. This award also includes $750 travel allotments to the student winners who attend the awards ceremony.

A selection committee of three AEESP members will read and judge each thesis. Each thesis will be evaluated based on 100 points allocated to the following major categories: scientific and technical merit (30 pts), originality of research (30 pts), contribution to the advancement of environmental engineering (30 pts), and clarity of presentation (10 pts).

Faculty advisors are encouraged to nominate a thesis completed under their supervision but must limit themselves to a single entry. Nominated theses must be from the calendar year prior to when the award is given, i.e., the due date printed on the Master's cover must be from the prior year.

*Eligibility: Faculty advisors are encouraged to nominate a thesis completed under their supervision.  Nominated theses must be from the calendar year prior to when the award is given, i.e. the due date printed on the Master's cover must be from the prior year.

Click here for a summary of past Student Award winners.

Past Recipients

YearPlaceRecipientThesis TitleAdvisor
2023n/aAlma RochaDetection and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and natural watersNatalie Mladenov and Matthew Verbyla, San Diego State University
2023n/aKartik BhagatElucidating the Role of Ultraviolet Weathering and Biofilm Formation on the Adsorption of Micropollutants onto MicroplasticsFrançois Perreault
2022n/aRi WangExploring the Factors that Determine the Adsorption of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances on Conventional Adsorbents and Novel Cyclodextrin Polymers with Different Surface PropertiesDamian E. Helbling, Cornell University
2022n/aOmar Sadab ChowdhuryEvaluation of Potential Health Risks from Microplastics in Drinking WaterMonica B. Emelko and William B. Anderson, University of Waterloo 
2021n/aElizabeth (Libby) McKennaDisinfection By-Products in Potable Reuse Water and Interpretation of Their Relative ToxicitiesDavid Hanigan, University of Nevada, Reno
2021n/aQuinn T. WhitingFluorinated Photoproduct Formation from Photolysis of Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals and PhenolsWilliam A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
2020n/aOlivia SalmonImpacts of Rare Earth Elements on Biological Wastewater Treatment ProcessesJunko Munakata Marr, Colorado School of Mines
2020n/aKristen E. SnyderPhotochemical Dissolution and Degradation of Industrial Crude Oil and Natural Seep Oil in SeawaterNatalie Mladenov, San Diego State University
2019n/aTimothy KentMechanistic Understanding of the NOB Suppression by Free Ammonia Inhibition in Continuous Flow Aerobic Granulation BioreactorsZhiwu Wang, Virginia Tech
2019n/aStephen A. TodeyNeonicotinoid Insecticide Hydrolysis and Photolysis: Rates and Residual ToxicityWilliam Arnold, University of Minnesota
2018n/aHannah RolstonExperimental Demonstration and Modeling of Aerobic Cometabolism of 1,4-Dioxane by Isobutane-Utilizing Microorganisms in Aquifer MicrocosmsLewis Semprini, Oregon State University
2018n/aSarah GustitusA Fine Line Between Dispersion and Retention: Oil-Sediment Interactions in Nearshore Marine EnvironmentsPrabhakar Clement, University of Alabama
20171stKaren S. CasteloesTechniques and Technologies for Decontaminating Chemically Contaminated Premise Plumbing InfrastructureAndrew J. Whelton, Purdue University
20172ndTeigan GulliverDegradation of PHB and PE Microbeads in Aerobic and Anaerobic Biological Wastewater Treatment MicrocosmsJunko Munakata Marr and Linda Figueroa, Colorado School of Mines
20161stAdel SoroushDevelopment of Antimicrobial Thin-Film Composite Forward Osmosis Membranes by Using Silver Nanoparticles and Graphene Oxide NanosheetsSaifur Rahaman, Concordia University
20162ndMeng WangPeroxidase Enzymes Packaged in Vaults as an Innovative Bioremediation TechnologyShaily Mahendra, University of California, Los Angeles
20151stBrian D. ShoenerAdvancing Sustainable Wastewater Treatment: Elucidating Tradeoffs among Emerging Resource Recovery Technologies through Quantitative Sustainable DesignJeremy S. Guest, University of Illinois
 2ndCaitlin Rose ProctorEffect of Various Water Chemistry Factors on Legionella Proliferation and the Premise Plumbing Microbiome CompositionAmy Pruden, Virginia Tech
20141stJeremy Alan O'NealPhosphorus Recovery by Hybrid Anion Exchange and Struvite Precipitation: Applications to Source-Separated Urine and Combined Wastewater StreamsTreavor H. Boyer, University of Florida
 2ndCameron Kostigen MumperInfluence of Amonion and Macromolecules on the Toxicity and Adsorption of Silver Nanoparticles to the Amonia Oxidizing Bacteria Nitrosomonas EuropeaTyler S. Radniecki, Oregon State University
20131stJenna E. ForsythOptimization of Aqueous Chlorine Photochemistry for Enhanced Inactivation of Chlorine-resistant MicroorganismsMichael C. Dodd, University of Washington
 2ndCale Thomas AngerQuantification of Triclosan, Chlorinated Triclosan Derivatives, and their Dioxin Photoproducts in Lacustrine Sediment CoresWilliam A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
20121stAndrew J. NelsonBench-Scale Evaluation of an Energy Efficient Acoustic Aerosol Purification Device with a Newly Designed Bioaerosol Testing and Evaluation ChamberMark J. Rood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
 2ndAhmed El-HadidyRemoval of Enteric Viruses by Ultrafiltration MembranesSigrid Peldzus, Michele Van Dyke and Peter M. Huck, University of Waterloo
20111stVictoria SacksValidation of Polyethylene Passive Samplers for the Detection of Emerging ContaminantsRainer Lohmann, University of Rhode Island
 2ndCynthia SchaferThe Impact of Tank Material on Water Quality in Household Water Storage Systems in Cochabamba, BoliviaJames Mihelcic, University of South Florida
20101stPeter SteenPhotochemical Formation of Dioxins from Hydroxylated Polybrominated Diphenyl EthersWilliam Arnold, University of Minnesota and Kristopher McNeill, ETH Zurich
 2ndMatthew DonnellyPersistence of Bacterial Pathogens, Fecal Pollution Indicators, and Microbial Source Tracking Markers in Manure Amended SoilsShane Rogers, Clarkson University
20091stDouglas F. CallHydrogen Production in a Microbial Electrolysis Cell Lacking a MembraneBruce Logan, The Pennsylvania State University
 2ndCaroline Rose Warne ZouekiBacterial Adhesion to Hydrocarbons: Role of Toluene, Asphaltenes and ResinsNathalie Tufenkji and Subhasis Ghoshal, McGill University
Leah M. TeuberMineral Deposition Behing Waterless UrinalsPhilip C. Singer, UNC-Chapel Hill
20081stErin SeyfriedTetracycline Resistance Genes In Aquaculture Environments: Genotypic Diversity and Potential Resistance ReservoirsKatherine McMahon, University of Wisconsin
 2ndVenkatraman SrinivasanAnalytical Solutions For Sequentially Coupled Multi-Species Reactive Transport ProblemsPrabhakar Clement, Auburn University
20071stSimoni TriantafyllidouAddressing and Assessing Lead Threats in Drinking Water: Non-Leaded Brass, Product Testing, Particulate Lead Occurrence and Effects of the Chloride to Sulfate Mass Ratio on CorrosionMarc Edwards, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
 2ndArzu AtabekInvestigating Bacterial Outer Membrane Polymers and Bacterial Interactions with Organic Molecules Using Atomic Force MicroscopyTerri A. Camesano, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
20061stBerat Z. HaznedarogluFatty Acid Methyl Ester Profiling of Indicator Organisms for Microbial Source TrackingMetin Duran, Villanova University
 2ndIlisa TawneyEvaluating the Impact of a Wetland Plant and Rhizosphere Microorganisms on the Fate of a Model Chlorinated Solvent in a Wetland Plant BioreactorJennifer Becker, University of Maryland
20051stAngela C. KolzDegradation and Sorption of Tylosin in Swine Manure LagoonsSay Key Ong and Thomas Moorman, Iowa State University
 2ndRachel A. KirkhamUranium Complexation with Humic Substances: An Experimental Study and Modeling ReviewBrian Dempsey, Pennsylvania State University
20041stJanalyn BrownMicrobial Cell Densities and Treatment Performance in Nitrifying Activated Sludge ReactorsKevin Robinson, University of Tennessee
 2ndJohn GreenleafSynthesis and Characterization of a Polymeric/Inorganic Hybrid Sorbent: Removal and Underlying Sorption Mechanism of Aresenic(III) and Arsenic(V)Arup SenGupta, Lehigh University
20031stJennifer L. PackerThe Photochemical Fate of Pharmaceuticals in the EnvironmentWilliam A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
 2ndCory McDowellEffects of Ethanol on the Migration and Distribution of Gasoline in the Vadose ZoneSusan Powers, Clarkson University
20021stKatherine DombrowskiElectrothermal Regeneration of Activated Carbon Fiber Cloth with Adsorbed Volatile Organic CompoundsMark J. Rood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
 2ndMeghna H. SwamiBiodegradation of Chloromethane under Nitrate-Reducing and Aerobic ConditionsDavid L. Freedman, Clemson University
20011stCristina Clarkson DavisAqueous Silica in the Environment: Effects on Iron Hydroxide Surface Chemistry and Implications for Natural and Engineered SystemsMarc Edwards, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
 2ndJenny BaesemanIdentification of an Excreted Biomolecule: Identification and Environmental ApplicabilityPaige J. Novak, University of Minnesota
20001stShane William RogersInfluence of air channel spacing, porous media type, and airflow rate on NAPL volatilization during air spargingSay Kee Ong,Iowa State University
 2ndPatrick S. OldenburgAmmonia-oxidizing bacteria: inactivation kinetics in chloraminated water and a method for their rapid enumerationDaniel Noguera, University of Wisconsin-Madison
19991stDaniel B. OertherApplication of Molecular Tools for the Analysis of Biological Foaming in Activated SludgeLutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois
 2ndDavid BrileyOptimization of Coagulation Conditions for the Removal of Algae in Conventional Water TreatmentDetlef Knappe, North Carolina State University
19981stEric W. AitchisonPhytoremediation of 1,4-Dioxane by Hybrid Poplar TreesJerald L. Schnoor, University of Iowa
 2ndAnnika Van GelderParticle Counting in the Water Industry: Count Standards and Sample StabilizationDesmond F. Lawler, University of Texas - Austin
19971stKevin T. RussellThe Use of Decision Analysis for Groundwater Remediation DesignAlan Raideau, State University of New York at Buffalo
 2ndMatthew E. GriffinUse of Molecular Tools to Enhance the Evaluation of Anaerobic Co-Digestion of the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid waste and Sewage SludgeLutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
19961stJonathan PressmanMass Transfer of Chlorinated Solvents and Biofouling of Hollow Fiber Membrane ModulesGerald Speitel, The University of Texas at Austin
 2ndPeter MayerResidential Water Use and Conservation Effectiveness: A Process ApproachJames P. Heaney, University of Colorado-Boulder
19951stJeanine D. PlummerRemoval of Cryptosporidium parvum from Drinking Water by Dissolved Air FlotationJames Edzwald, University of Massachusetts
 2ndJohn E. WoolschlagerA Model to Determine the Actual Amount of Biodegradable Organic Matter in Drinking Water SuppliesBruce Rittmann, Northwestern University
19941stShawn M. SockA Comprehensive Evaluation of Biodegradation as a Treatment Alternative for the Removal of 1,4-DioxaneeC.P. Leslie Grady, Jr. and Robert M. Cowan, Clemson University
 2ndEric M. HesseThe Influence of Natural Organic Matter on the Enhanced Coagulation Effects of OzonationDavid Reckhow, University of Massachusetts
19931stJennifer BeckerBiodegradation of Chloroform Under Methanogenic ConditionsDavid Freeman, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
 2ndDavid WidrigPreozonation to Enhance Coagulation: The Effect of Algal Species and Water Quality on the Removal of Dissolved Organic CarbonKimberly Gray, University of Notre Dame
19921stDaniel NogueraSoluble Microbial Products Modeling in Biological ProcessesBruce Rittmann, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
 2ndJoseph WoodModeling the Simultaneous Removal of Sulfur Dioxide and Hydrogen Chloride from Municipal Waste Combustion Flue Gas Via Spray Dryer AbsorberMark Rood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
19911stJohn JosephApplication of Queing Theory to Standpost DesignDonald T. Lauria, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 2ndAnundra RamanaA New Class of Sorbents for the Selective Removal of Arsenic (V) and Selenium (VI) Oxy-AnionsArup K. Sengupta, Lehigh University