We engage UConn faculty who have in-depth knowledge of human factors intrinsic to engineering projects together in collaborative research and teaching with faculty in other disciplines such as sociology, political science, and geography. Together, we create projects and products to improve livelihoods and reduce environmental impact globally. We engage companies conducting engineering operations and work with impacted communities, supporting business development and innovation around the world. Key faculty include:
Emmanouil Anagnostou (Environmental Engineering) – Water and food security in climate-change insecure settings, climate resiliency.
Amvrossios C. Bagtzoglou (Environmental Engineering) – Studies groundwater resources in lower income regions and works to find solutions for arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and schistosomiasis and childhood diarrhea in Ethiopia.
Dan Burkey (Chemical Engineering) – Studies the ethical development of engineering students, specifically how they integrate their engineering education with larger social and moral questions to make engineering decisions that consider not only the technical, but also the social and ethical ramifications of their work as well.
Maria Chrysochoou (Environmental Engineering) – Brownfields are abandoned, industrial properties often with past industrial history and resulting environmental contamination. Brownfields are often concentrated in inner cities and poor neighborhoods, disproportionately affecting minorities and sensitive populations. The Connecticut Brownfields Initiative has a mission to promote brownfields redevelopment, revitalize urban centers and promote environmental justice in the region. CBI also seeks to create the next generation of environmental professionals to promote brownfield redevelopment and work with local communities to improve quality of life in impoverished neighborhoods.
Zoi Dokou (Environmental Engineering) – is currently engaged in the NSF PIRE: Taming in Water in Ethiopia project which develops seasonal forecasting information and studies its adoption by local communities in the Blue Nile region. Her work focuses on the role of groundwater, a relatively untapped resource in Ethiopia, which can provide not only potable water to households but also be used as supplemental water source for irrigation, acting as a buffer against climate stress and improving food security in the region. She is also involved in a Citizen Science Initiative in four local communities near Lake Tana, Ethiopia which trains local high school students in the collection of river stage, groundwater level and soil moisture measurements to be used for the improvement of the modeling efforts as part of the PIRE project.
Krystyna Gielo-Perczak (Biomedical Engineering) – Promoting multidisciplinary foundation of the Human Factors and Ergonomics to interpret methodologies and experiments pertaining to human strength, movement and cognitive interaction in small- and large-scale device/tool environment systems.
John Ivan (Civil Engineering) – Interested in understanding how transportation projects have the potential for impacting urban and rural communities both positively and negatively. In many cases, negative impacts – including disruption of community cohesion and increased road fatalities – have been disproportionately borne by communities of color and low income residents – a situation he is working to address.
Christine Kirchoff (Environmental Engineering) – Applies social science research methods to investigate the complex human factors related to engineering challenges including understanding the human dimensions of hazard resilient infrastructure, water governance, policy, and management, the social studies of science and science policy, and adaptation to climate change.
Jonathan Mellor (Environmental Engineering) – Founded the International Water Resources Laboratory that focuses on using systems approaches to improve water security and health in low income regions under climate change. He currently has active projects in Ethiopia, Peru and Botswana and is the faculty advisor for UConn’s Engineers Without Borders.
Jeffrey McCutcheon (Chemical Engineering) – Develops membrane technologies that can be properly chosen to treat water that is fit-for-purpose. This could include basic filtration technologies (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis) to more novel or emergent processes (forward osmosis, membrane distillation) using both polymeric and ceramic materials.
Richard Parnas (Chemical Engineering) – sustainable energy
Malaquias Peña (Environmental Engineering) – Provides online and face-to-face lectures on topics of seasonal prediction and numerical modeling and products to support decisions in hydro-meteorological hazard prevention and hydrologic and agricultural risks and opportunities. The primary targets are decision makers, weather service personnel and universities in Latin American countries. He also supports the NSF PIRE project by supplying climate analysis and prediction data for streamflow, crop yield and groundwater modeling.
Helena Silva (Electrical Engineering/Materials Science) – Professor Silva was part of an NSF project “NUE ASCCEND: Addressing Social Challenges through Creativity, Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Diversity”. As part of this project the team developed several new courses including ‘Nanoscience and Society’, a course on creativity and an alternative Senior Design course.
Amy Thompson (UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering) – Designs cyber-physical systems for environmental and social impact, designing socio-technical systems.
Tim Vadas (Environmental Engineering) – Informs water quality regulations and engineering ecological water treatment systems.
Guiling Wang (Environmental Engineering) – Climate impacts on food and water systems.
Mei Wei (Institute of Materials Science) – Social implications of new technologies and broader issues of risk in engineering.
Arash Zaghi – (Civil Engineering) – Develops more inclusive engineering education programs by applying the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to make engineering education more accessible to all types of learners. He also works on the recruitment and retention of neurodiverse learners who may have a tremendous potential to reach innovative solutions to engineering problems. Link.