Sustainable engineering Ph.D. advisors

I’m biased to think Ph.D. students get a great experience working with me and the ESSo group, but if you’re considering our group, you should also look at these other programs. Developing this list, I took my own advice on how to pursue an engineering Ph.D, especially the part where I said Ph.D. success is largely determined by relationships with your advisor(s) and other students. So, my recommendations are all people I would want to work with if I had to do another Ph.D. (Penn State is great, but disqualified because that’s where I already went – see pic).

Ph.D. graduation
Michael Horman (left) and David Riley (center) were the perfect Ph.D. advisors for me. My wife, Monica, and I loved our time in State College, PA. We graduated on the same day and could drive to visit family and the beach.

If you want to cheer for teams that lose at sports to Clemson, head to Virginia Tech to work with Annie Pearce. She is a leader in sustainable infrastructure research and has been an influential role model for me over the last 10 years. Also at Virginia Tech is Denise Simmons, another role model who works on sustainable infrastructure and education topics.

If you want to live in a city, consider Pittsburgh. You won’t find a better group than at the University of Pittsburgh. Melissa Bilec  and her colleagues in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation are an inspiration for our ESSo group. Right next door, at Carnegie Mellon, Vivian Loftness has made massive contributions to our understanding of sustainability in the built environment.

If you’re looking for a great all-around construction research program, consider the University of Colorado at Boulder. Like me, Amy Javernick-Will does work in sustainable infrastructure and gender. The other construction faculty at Boulder are leaders in construction research areas such as safety, project management, and project delivery. Plus, the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities provides opportunities to include service in your research. One of my former ‘students’ Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez, is nearby at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Rodolfo is one of the most conscientious, hardest-working people I’ve ever met, both great characteristics for an advisor. His expertise is social sustainability in the construction industry.

If you’re considering a Ph.D. related to sustainability in engineering, chances are you know about Arizona State University. Kristen Parrish (energy and buildings) and Amy Landis (life-cycle analysis) are just two of the many faculty members at Arizona State who are outstanding  advisors.

If you love winter, look up Shelie Miller at the University of Michigan and Cliff Davidson at Syracuse University. Both are sustainable engineering experts and wonderful people.

There’s my list. I’m sure I’ve left off a few people I know and many others I don’t, all of whom would make excellent advisors. So, if you have other suggestions, please post them in the comments. Let’s develop an even longer list.

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