Susan E. Powers
NSF Award Recognition: NSF 2004 Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Research Contributions: Dr. Powers' research seeks to understand the physical and chemical phenomena associated with the transport of contaminants in subsurface systems, with specific emphasis on the fate, transport, and remediation of nonaqueous phase liquids in complex systems. Her research provides an understanding of the environmental fate of oxygenated gasoline, for example, and has implications for regulatory and policy decisions. She has published 39 journal and other refereed articles within her research specialty areas. In 1998, she received the J.W. Graham Faculty Research Award at Clarkson University for outstanding research achievement by a junior faculty member. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Environmental Engineering, the Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Environmental Technology, and Advances in Water Resources. She presently serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, Environmental Engineering Committee.

Educational Contributions: Dr. Powers' educational contributions include implementing project-based learning opportunities for students at middle school through PhD levels. She has been actively involved with Clarkson’s NSF-funded Environmental Manufacturing Management IGERT program and is the director of a National Science Foundation-supported GK-12 project. This program, which engages graduate and undergraduate students in collaboration with middle schools, has excelled at attracting women students to become Fellows. It has allowed middle school teachers to update their teaching methods and curricula, and learn to incorporate problem-based learning within their traditional lesson modules. For their part, Clarkson University students have benefited from learning teaching methods; developing the ability to communicate complex scientific challenges to non-specialist adults and young children; and how to manage large, complex projects involving teamwork. Dr. Powers' efforts have been recognized by her receiving the Clarkson Outstanding New Teacher and Outstanding Advisor Awards, the Albert D. Merrill Award twice from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Boeing Outstanding Educator Award, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Director's Award Project: The goals of Dr. Power's project are to identify the knowledge and skills necessary to increase the technical and environmental awareness of energy issues and to improve the implementation of project-based energy and environment curricula in K-16 classrooms, particularly in New York State. Teacher and faculty workshops will be conducted for training in the use of the newly developed K-12 curricular materials.

from NSF Event, June 2, 2004 Program