The Center for Water Innovation (CWI) at Washington University in St. Louis hosted its inaugural research symposium Monday, April 24. CWI’s director Zhen (Jason) He, professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, and associate director Kimberly Parker, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, both in the McKelvey School of Engineering, welcomed over 50 attendees to the meeting. 

“In launching the annual symposium, we’ve created a platform to showcase water research by WashU researchers, provide networking opportunities with professionals in industry and at other institutions and highlight our outstanding students, both past and present,” He said. “Through these and other activities, we are establishing CWI as a nationally and internationally recognized center built on the strengths of our environmental engineering program in McKelvey Engineering.”

Symposium attendees included distinguished McKelvey Engineering alumni Lilia Abron and Bruce Rittmann, for whom named lectures were established and presented for the first time; representatives from Missouri American Water, Bayer, Buckman and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; and WashU faculty and students. 

“Drs. Abron and Rittmann are leaders in water innovation and members of the National Academy of Engineering,” He noted. “Highlighting such role models helps guide our students in their pursuit of professional careers in academia and industries.”

The inaugural speaker for the Rittmann Lecture was Lutgarde Raskin, the Altarum/ERIM Russell O'Neal Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. The first speaker for the Abron Lecture was Russell Ford, the Global Director for Drinking Water & Reuse Solutions at Jacobs.

The researchers presented their latest findings related to safe drinking water, sustainable wastewater management, water and agriculture, climate change and other topics.

As part of the symposium, WashU graduate students participated in a flash talk competition. Seven students representing the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in McKelvey Engineering and the departments of Chemistry and Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences competed. Winners Zixuan Wang and Jacqueline Rogers, both in energy, environmental & chemical engineering, were selected by a panel of judges.


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