National Science Foundation career award

February 18, 2005

KINGSVILLE (February 18, 2005) , Dr. Jianhong-Jennifer Ren, assistant professor with the department of environmental and civil engineering, has been awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Program for her work in particle dynamics and contaminant transport in rivers and streams.

Ren will receive $80,563 for the first year starting March 1, 2005, with the total award amount expected to be $400,000 over five years.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21 st century.

CAREER awardees were selected on the basis of creative proposals that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such plans should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.

Ren? project will examine the complex process of how contaminants and sediment are transported down rivers and streams, with a focus on how their particles group together or stay apart and the effect of precipitation. The findings will be then be used to develop software packages for engineers of all disciplines that will predict contamination and propose corrections for it.

The formal name for the project is Effects of Particle Aggregation/Disaggregation and Precipitation on Sediment and Contaminant Transport in River Systems.

In her proposal, Ren listed her hopes for the broader impact of the project. They included the recruitment of more students from underrepresented groups (especially Hispanic women) to participate in the proposed research activities; development of a curricular and research program designed to develop interdisciplinary skills in future researchers and practicing engineers in South Texas; and the enhancement of current engineering curriculum at Texas A&M University-Kingsville through integration with the proposed research.

In addition, the project will include collaboration efforts with scientists from Tsinhua University in China, Texas A&M International University and Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico.

As Principle Investigator (P.I.) Ren will be working closely with stakeholder groups and government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to ensure timely transfer of findings. The research results also will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, national conferences, along with local and international conferences supported by A&M-Kingsville? Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) ?Research on Environmental Sustainability of Semi-Arid Coastal Areas (RESSACA), funded by the NSF.

Ultimately, one of the main hopes is that the project will provide the Hispanic student population in South Texas with the state-of-the-art interdisciplinary training to be better prepared to meet the future sustainable environmental needs of the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Ren has been with Texas A&M University-Kingsville since September 2003. She also serves as a senior investigator with CREST-RESSACA and holds professional memberships with the American Geophysical Union and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Ren has been a writer in 9 pieces for refereed journal publications and 1 for a non-refereed publication.

She holds a B.S. in environmental engineering from Beijing Polytechnic University, an M.S. in environmental and civil engineering from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in environmental and civil engineering from Northwestern University.

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