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Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineering Building, which houses the department of chemical and environmental engineering

We offer BS, MS and PhD degrees in both chemical and environmental engineering. Our programs are large enough to attract recruiters from a variety of industries, including consulting firms, government, manufacturing, petroleum, semiconductors and utilities – but small enough for individual attention. We encourage our undergraduates to become involved in research projects funded by industry, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and other organizations.

Meet three of our outstanding undergraduates in a new Q&A feature for the Engineered for Success alumni newsletter. Our inaugural interviewees are chemical engineers Ryan Dunham, Namrah Shahid and Cherell Ward-Rucker.

Cherell Ward-Rucker, Namrah Shahid and Ryan Dunham What class are you, and where are you from?

Ryan: I am a junior from Portland, Oregon, and my dad – who grew up in Tucson and graduated from the UA with a chemical engineering degree in 1982 – has established Wildcat pride in me since I was born. 

Namrah: I am a senior with a double major in aerospace engineering and chemical engineering. I am passionate about space exploration and space systems. I first got interested in space exploration when I took a trip to Johnson Space Center in Texas. Currently, I am interested in working on a mission to Mars primarily through NASA’s SLS and Orion program.

Cherell: I am a CHEE junior, originally from Phoenix, Arizona. I am involved with...

John Somerhalder accepts the 2016 College of Engineering Alumni of the Year Award on Oct. 28John Somerhalder, who received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1977, was named the 2016 College of Engineering Alumnus of the Year at this year's Homecoming celebration.

Somerhalder, a leader in the energy services industry, recently retired as chairman and CEO of AGL Resources, the nation's largest natural gas-only distributor. He serves on the board of the United Way in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is leading an effort to develop 22 miles of historic railroad.

Don Gervasio; photo by Ron Medvescek/Arizona Daily StarProfessor Dominic Gervasio's new startups have once again made the news, as the Arizona Daily Star traces their inception from the invention of Caltrode's reference electrode to the MetOxs metal extraction technique it inspired.

The former product is ready for production and the latter process is undergoing further refinement at a Tucson laboratory.

Photo by Ron Medvescek/Arizona Daily Star

IWA fellows Jim Field and Shane SnyderChemical and environmental engineering professors Jim Field and Shane Snyder were both selected as 2016 fellows of the International Water Association for their work combating water challenges worldwide.

They were among 39 water professionals chosen by their peers to serve five-year terms as IWA fellows. The association formally recognized all IWA fellows at a reception on Oct. 10 as part of the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition 2016 in Brisbane, Australia.

“This honor to Jim and Shane is well deserved,” said Anthony Muscat, department chair. “Both are finding applicable solutions to one of most critical issues of our time and leading our environmental engineering program to national and international prominence.”

Don Pettit's official astronaut portrait; photo courtesy of NASAThe University of Arizona has seen six of its alumni reach for the stars – literally – as U.S. astronauts.

Among them was Don Pettit, who received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the UA in 1983, where he studied heat, mass and momentum transport and developed instrumentation for measuring the distribution of particles in chemical systems.

For aspiring astronauts, Pettit – who applied for the program four times over 13 years – has this advice: “Put out really good effort in your field, apply to the astronaut program and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” 

Photo courtesy of NASA

Sharing Tribes app open on an iPhoneAnita D. Bhappu, who received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the UA in 1991 and now serves as an associate professor of retailing and consumer sciences in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, has created a new method for engaging employees in the modern workplace.

Her software-as-a-service platform Sharing Tribes connects co-workers through a private company marketplace to borrow and lend goods and volunteer services. From lawn mowers to ladders, the idea behind Sharing Tribes is to unite employees across generations and motivate them to build an inclusive coworker community.

She and her colleagues have licensed the invention through Tech Launch Arizona.

2016 WateReuse Arizona Project of the Year trophyA pilot wastewater-treatment system designed and tested by the University of Arizona, the global engineering firm CH2M, and Tucson Water could aid in Arizona’s looming shortage of drinking water – caused by continued drought in the Colorado River Basin and increasing urban populations.  

“The evaluation of alternative methods for water reuse is critical to our state and our region,” said project co-investigator Shane Snyder, UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering and member of the UA BIO5 Institute. “We have demonstrated a novel design that is more efficient and effective than conventional water reuse systems.” Snyder’s co-principal investigators included UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering Bob Arnold.

Snyder, Arnold and their collaborators received the...

With nine collaborative learning spaces on campus, thousands of students and hundreds of faculty now have the ability to learn and teach through active learning with the help of new technology.

University Distinguished Professor Paul Blowers was one of the first faculty members to make the intimidating transition from a lecture hall to an open space.

"The night before was terrifying because if you're behind a podium you're safe," Blowers said. "But then you get a little more comfortable with it and now I teach all but one of my classes this semester in a collaborative learning space."

Jude Udeozor in an interview with The Daily Wildcat. Photo by Heather Newberry/The Daily WildcatJude Udeozor, a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in chemical engineering, has been named the new president of the UA Graduate and Professional Student Council. He was sworn in on Sept. 27.

One of the biggest strengths Udeozor thinks he will bring to the table is his ability to build relationships. “There is something about building relationships where you can easily walk to [administrators'] offices and have those conversations and they be willing to help you.”

He addressed his new constituency in a letter to The Daily Wildcat campus newspaper.


Portrait of David LopezDavid Lopez, a master's degree student in chemical engineering, is one of the UA College of Engineering's latest Bridge to the Doctorate fellowship winners.

The program aims to increase diversity among domestic students planning to pursue doctorates in STEM fields. It provides tuition, professional development, research and academic study opportunities, and intensive support from faculty mentors.

University of Arizona College of Engineering