Environmental and Water Resources Highlights

The Environmental and Water Resources (EWR) Program continues to be considered one of the most highly respected graduate programs in environmental and water resources engineering in the United States. The interdisciplinary work conducted by EWR faculty, students, and staff is highly impactful and widely used by the global community.  

This year was a year of transition for EWR. Landon Marston has joined us as a new Assistant Professor. Landon , whose research specializes in examining the drivers of water scarcity and degradation across multiple scales, had previously been on the faculty at Kansas State University after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The year 2020 also saw the departures of Randy Dymond, who retired, and Jason He, who transitioned to new position at his alma mater Washington University in St. Louis. 

EWR faculty have responded broadly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With her interdisciplinary background in air pollution and airborne infectious diseases, Linsey Marr has been a reassuring voice for many. She has given hundreds of interviews over the past months to inform the many different discussions about this disease. Her efforts, and those of colleagues both in the US and elsewhere, have clearly indicated the role of airborne exposures in the spread of COVID-19 and have illustrated the utility of masks in reducing these exposures. On a more local level, Amy Pruden and Peter Vikesland, have led efforts to detect signals of COVID-19 in sewage samples collected across the Blacksburg campus, while Paolo Scardina made numerous upgrades to the Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources laboratories to make them useable for in-person and hands-on educational experiences in the era of social distancing. 

EWR faculty received a number of awards in recognition of their work this past year. Landon Marston was recently named a New Innovator in Food and Agricultural Research by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). This award provides funding for early career scientists to conduct “audacious” research in the area of food and agriculture research. From the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Gabriel Issacman-Van Wertz received one of the 2020 VT COE Outstanding New Professor Awards and Paolo Scardina was recognized with the 2020 Certificate of Teaching Excellence. And, Clair White was recognized with the Blackwood Award for Exemplary Faculty Service from the Virginia Tech Program in Real Estate. Within CEE itself, in recognition of his longstanding educational efforts, Bill Knocke was recognized with the G.V. Loganathan award. Former EWR staff member Barbara Angellotti received the Virginia Tech Staff Career Achievement Award.