Welcome to "EEE Insights" - the Fall 2015 Newsletter of Purdue Environmental and Ecological Engineering. We just wrapped up the thanksgiving break, and are rapidly approaching the end of the fall semester. Over Thanksgiving, I had an opportunity to reflect on all the changes and accomplishments of EEE over the last few years. So, let me use the space to talk about these milestones and give thanks to the individuals who helped make them possible.


The origin of EEE traces its roots to such icons as Professors Bloodgood, Etzel, and Wukasch, and the industrial waste conference that many fondly recall from many years ago.  In the more modern era, Professors Larry Nies and Suresh Rao started discussions about EEE in 2000. After many committees and considerable discussion, Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) was established as an academic unit in 2006, with Professor Inez Hua serving as the acting Head.  Stephen Hoffman and Larry Nies provided significant leadership in establishing the BS EEE curriculum and in drafting the proposal to establish that curriculum.  More recently Professor Nies contributed yeoman-like service in successfully shepherding the EEE curriculum through the ABET process.

The State recently approved graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in EEE.  All of the EEE faculty helped to shape the graduate program. Dr. Nina Robinson and Professor Nies were especially instrumental in keeping us all on track and nurturing the graduate proposal through the intricacies of the approval process.  We have exciting days ahead in terms of the EEE graduate program – Professor Chad Jafvert and Patti Finney are providing their substantial expertise as we launch the program.

At Purdue, students are a priority, and the undergraduate degree program has grown from nothing to 100 students in just a few years.  Keeping the students on the right path requires diligence and patience.  I am constantly amazed by the ability of undergraduate advisor Tammi Thayer to be both firm with and supportive of the EEE students.  Kudos to Tammi.  Nadya Zyaykina, has done an outstanding job as the laboratory manager for EEE and caretaker of the environmental labs in HAMP – as you might guess, keeping things running and the laboratory safe can be challenging.  And, Meg Whelton has provided exemplary service in ratcheting up the professionalism of the EEE students.  We cannot forget the key contributions of Karen White and Nathan Engelberth in the early days of EEE.

To support student growth, we have added significantly to our faculty over the last few years.  These fantastic faculty include Professors Engelberth, Howarter, Shah, Singh, Whelton, Zhou, Cai, Mashtare, Nateghi, and Hardiman.  Speaking of faculty, we are thankful for the recent accolades that several of our more senior faculty (e.g., Professors Chip Blatchley and Fu Zhao) have received.  We are, of course, grateful to our industry, government, and foundation sponsors for our rapidly growing research activity.

Of course, we are indebted to Fred and Barbara Fehsenfeld for their incredible generosity in establishing a Headship for EEE.  We are especially grateful to all the EEE alumni and friends for their gracious financial sponsorship. In particular, the EEE External Advisory Council (EAC) is demonstrating its commitment to EEE by establishing an undergraduate scholarship in its name.  Special thanks to Ken Beache, current EAC Chair, and Eric Larson (former EAC Chair) for their leadership of the EAC and helping steer EEE in the right direction.

Lastly, a special thank you to Dean Leah Jamieson and the entire College of Engineering team for always being supportive of EEE.  Without their support, the numerous accomplishments described above would not have been possible.

Best wishes for 2016!

John W. Sutherland, Professor and Fehsenfeld Family Head of EEE