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

Year Place Recipient Thesis Title Advisor
2022 n/a Ri Wang Exploring the Factors that Determine the Adsorption of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances on Conventional Adsorbents and Novel Cyclodextrin Polymers with Different Surface Properties Damian E. Helbling, Cornell University
2022 n/a Omar Sadab Chowdhury Evaluation of Potential Health Risks from Microplastics in Drinking Water Monica B. Emelko and William B. Anderson, University of Waterloo 
2021 n/a Elizabeth (Libby) McKenna Disinfection By-Products in Potable Reuse Water and Interpretation of Their Relative Toxicities David Hanigan, University of Nevada, Reno
2021 n/a Quinn T. Whiting Fluorinated Photoproduct Formation from Photolysis of Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals and Phenols William A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
2020 n/a Olivia Salmon Impacts of Rare Earth Elements on Biological Wastewater Treatment Processes Junko Munakata Marr, Colorado School of Mines
2020 n/a Kristen E. Snyder Photochemical Dissolution and Degradation of Industrial Crude Oil and Natural Seep Oil in Seawater Natalie Mladenov, San Diego State University
2019 n/a Timothy Kent Mechanistic Understanding of the NOB Suppression by Free Ammonia Inhibition in Continuous Flow Aerobic Granulation Bioreactors Zhiwu Wang, Virginia Tech
2019 n/a Stephen A. Todey Neonicotinoid Insecticide Hydrolysis and Photolysis: Rates and Residual Toxicity William Arnold, University of Minnesota
2018 n/a Hannah Rolston Experimental Demonstration and Modeling of Aerobic Cometabolism of 1,4-Dioxane by Isobutane-Utilizing Microorganisms in Aquifer Microcosms Lewis Semprini, Oregon State University
2018 n/a Sarah Gustitus A Fine Line Between Dispersion and Retention: Oil-Sediment Interactions in Nearshore Marine Environments Prabhakar Clement, University of Alabama
2017 1st Karen S. Casteloes Techniques and Technologies for Decontaminating Chemically Contaminated Premise Plumbing Infrastructure Andrew J. Whelton, Purdue University
2017 2nd Teigan Gulliver Degradation of PHB and PE Microbeads in Aerobic and Anaerobic Biological Wastewater Treatment Microcosms Junko Munakata Marr and Linda Figueroa, Colorado School of Mines
2016 1st Adel Soroush Development of Antimicrobial Thin-Film Composite Forward Osmosis Membranes by Using Silver Nanoparticles and Graphene Oxide Nanosheets Saifur Rahaman, Concordia University
2016 2nd Meng Wang Peroxidase Enzymes Packaged in Vaults as an Innovative Bioremediation Technology Shaily Mahendra, University of California, Los Angeles
2015 1st Brian D. Shoener Advancing Sustainable Wastewater Treatment: Elucidating Tradeoffs among Emerging Resource Recovery Technologies through Quantitative Sustainable Design Jeremy S. Guest, University of Illinois
  2nd Caitlin Rose Proctor Effect of Various Water Chemistry Factors on Legionella Proliferation and the Premise Plumbing Microbiome Composition Amy Pruden, Virginia Tech
2014 1st Jeremy Alan O'Neal Phosphorus Recovery by Hybrid Anion Exchange and Struvite Precipitation: Applications to Source-Separated Urine and Combined Wastewater Streams Treavor H. Boyer, University of Florida
  2nd Cameron Kostigen Mumper Influence of Amonion and Macromolecules on the Toxicity and Adsorption of Silver Nanoparticles to the Amonia Oxidizing Bacteria Nitrosomonas Europea Tyler S. Radniecki, Oregon State University
2013 1st Jenna E. Forsyth Optimization of Aqueous Chlorine Photochemistry for Enhanced Inactivation of Chlorine-resistant Microorganisms Michael C. Dodd, University of Washington
  2nd Cale Thomas Anger Quantification of Triclosan, Chlorinated Triclosan Derivatives, and their Dioxin Photoproducts in Lacustrine Sediment Cores William A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
2012 1st Andrew J. Nelson Bench-Scale Evaluation of an Energy Efficient Acoustic Aerosol Purification Device with a Newly Designed Bioaerosol Testing and Evaluation Chamber Mark J. Rood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  2nd Ahmed El-Hadidy Removal of Enteric Viruses by Ultrafiltration Membranes Sigrid Peldzus, Michele Van Dyke and Peter M. Huck, University of Waterloo
2011 1st Victoria Sacks Validation of Polyethylene Passive Samplers for the Detection of Emerging Contaminants Rainer Lohmann, University of Rhode Island
  2nd Cynthia Schafer The Impact of Tank Material on Water Quality in Household Water Storage Systems in Cochabamba, Bolivia James Mihelcic, University of South Florida
2010 1st Peter Steen Photochemical Formation of Dioxins from Hydroxylated Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers William Arnold, University of Minnesota and Kristopher McNeill, ETH Zurich
  2nd Matthew Donnelly Persistence of Bacterial Pathogens, Fecal Pollution Indicators, and Microbial Source Tracking Markers in Manure Amended Soils Shane Rogers, Clarkson University
2009 1st Douglas F. Call Hydrogen Production in a Microbial Electrolysis Cell Lacking a Membrane Bruce Logan, The Pennsylvania State University
  2nd Caroline Rose Warne Zoueki Bacterial Adhesion to Hydrocarbons: Role of Toluene, Asphaltenes and Resins Nathalie Tufenkji and Subhasis Ghoshal, McGill University
Leah M. Teuber Mineral Deposition Behing Waterless Urinals Philip C. Singer, UNC-Chapel Hill
2008 1st Erin Seyfried Tetracycline Resistance Genes In Aquaculture Environments: Genotypic Diversity and Potential Resistance Reservoirs Katherine McMahon, University of Wisconsin
  2nd Venkatraman Srinivasan Analytical Solutions For Sequentially Coupled Multi-Species Reactive Transport Problems Prabhakar Clement, Auburn University
2007 1st Simoni Triantafyllidou Addressing 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 Corrosion Marc Edwards, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
  2nd Arzu Atabek Investigating Bacterial Outer Membrane Polymers and Bacterial Interactions with Organic Molecules Using Atomic Force Microscopy Terri A. Camesano, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
2006 1st Berat Z. Haznedaroglu Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Profiling of Indicator Organisms for Microbial Source Tracking Metin Duran, Villanova University
  2nd Ilisa Tawney Evaluating the Impact of a Wetland Plant and Rhizosphere Microorganisms on the Fate of a Model Chlorinated Solvent in a Wetland Plant Bioreactor Jennifer Becker, University of Maryland
2005 1st Angela C. Kolz Degradation and Sorption of Tylosin in Swine Manure Lagoons Say Key Ong and Thomas Moorman, Iowa State University
  2nd Rachel A. Kirkham Uranium Complexation with Humic Substances: An Experimental Study and Modeling Review Brian Dempsey, Pennsylvania State University
2004 1st Janalyn Brown Microbial Cell Densities and Treatment Performance in Nitrifying Activated Sludge Reactors Kevin Robinson, University of Tennessee
  2nd John Greenleaf Synthesis and Characterization of a Polymeric/Inorganic Hybrid Sorbent: Removal and Underlying Sorption Mechanism of Aresenic(III) and Arsenic(V) Arup SenGupta, Lehigh University
2003 1st Jennifer L. Packer The Photochemical Fate of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment William A. Arnold, University of Minnesota
  2nd Cory McDowell Effects of Ethanol on the Migration and Distribution of Gasoline in the Vadose Zone Susan Powers, Clarkson University
2002 1st Katherine Dombrowski Electrothermal Regeneration of Activated Carbon Fiber Cloth with Adsorbed Volatile Organic Compounds Mark J. Rood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  2nd Meghna H. Swami Biodegradation of Chloromethane under Nitrate-Reducing and Aerobic Conditions David L. Freedman, Clemson University
2001 1st Cristina Clarkson Davis Aqueous Silica in the Environment: Effects on Iron Hydroxide Surface Chemistry and Implications for Natural and Engineered Systems Marc Edwards, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
  2nd Jenny Baeseman Identification of an Excreted Biomolecule: Identification and Environmental Applicability Paige J. Novak, University of Minnesota
2000 1st Shane William Rogers Influence of air channel spacing, porous media type, and airflow rate on NAPL volatilization during air sparging Say Kee Ong,Iowa State University
  2nd Patrick S. Oldenburg Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria: inactivation kinetics in chloraminated water and a method for their rapid enumeration Daniel Noguera, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1999 1st Daniel B. Oerther Application of Molecular Tools for the Analysis of Biological Foaming in Activated Sludge Lutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois
  2nd David Briley Optimization of Coagulation Conditions for the Removal of Algae in Conventional Water Treatment Detlef Knappe, North Carolina State University
1998 1st Eric W. Aitchison Phytoremediation of 1,4-Dioxane by Hybrid Poplar Trees Jerald L. Schnoor, University of Iowa
  2nd Annika Van Gelder Particle Counting in the Water Industry: Count Standards and Sample Stabilization Desmond F. Lawler, University of Texas - Austin
1997 1st Kevin T. Russell The Use of Decision Analysis for Groundwater Remediation Design Alan Raideau, State University of New York at Buffalo
  2nd Matthew E. Griffin Use of Molecular Tools to Enhance the Evaluation of Anaerobic Co-Digestion of the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid waste and Sewage Sludge Lutgarde Raskin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
1996 1st Jonathan Pressman Mass Transfer of Chlorinated Solvents and Biofouling of Hollow Fiber Membrane Modules Gerald Speitel, The University of Texas at Austin
  2nd Peter Mayer Residential Water Use and Conservation Effectiveness: A Process Approach James P. Heaney, University of Colorado-Boulder
1995 1st Jeanine D. Plummer Removal of Cryptosporidium parvum from Drinking Water by Dissolved Air Flotation James Edzwald, University of Massachusetts
  2nd John E. Woolschlager A Model to Determine the Actual Amount of Biodegradable Organic Matter in Drinking Water Supplies Bruce Rittmann, Northwestern University
1994 1st Shawn M. Sock A Comprehensive Evaluation of Biodegradation as a Treatment Alternative for the Removal of 1,4-Dioxanee C.P. Leslie Grady, Jr. and Robert M. Cowan, Clemson University
  2nd Eric M. Hesse The Influence of Natural Organic Matter on the Enhanced Coagulation Effects of Ozonation David Reckhow, University of Massachusetts
1993 1st Jennifer Becker Biodegradation of Chloroform Under Methanogenic Conditions David Freeman, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  2nd David Widrig Preozonation to Enhance Coagulation: The Effect of Algal Species and Water Quality on the Removal of Dissolved Organic Carbon Kimberly Gray, University of Notre Dame
1992 1st Daniel Noguera Soluble Microbial Products Modeling in Biological Processes Bruce Rittmann, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  2nd Joseph Wood Modeling the Simultaneous Removal of Sulfur Dioxide and Hydrogen Chloride from Municipal Waste Combustion Flue Gas Via Spray Dryer Absorber Mark Rood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
1991 1st John Joseph Application of Queing Theory to Standpost Design Donald T. Lauria, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  2nd Anundra Ramana A New Class of Sorbents for the Selective Removal of Arsenic (V) and Selenium (VI) Oxy-Anions Arup K. Sengupta, Lehigh University