Lehigh University professor, an expert in electrochemical technologies for soil and water decontamination, has long advocated for women in STEM
Credit: Louisiana State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lehigh University civil and environmental engineering professor Sibel Pamukcu has been inducted into the Hall of Distinction of Louisiana State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE).
Pamukcu, a globally recognized expert in the field of electro-remediation of soils and groundwater, accepted the honor at a ceremony held May 3 at the LSU Lod Cook Alumni Center in Baton Rouge.
“I am grateful to be among so many accomplished graduates of the LSU CEE program selected for inclusion in the CEE Hall of Distinction,” said Pamukcu, who joined Lehigh in 1986 as an assistant professor after completing her doctorate in civil/geotechnical engineering at LSU, where she was the first female PhD to graduate from the CEE department.
“I strongly believe it is the ‘human element’ that surrounds you in your early career that makes all the difference in reaching your goals and succeeding,” noted Pamukcu, while acknowledging a number of LSU faculty members who supported her efforts as a graduate student.
Pamukcu’s own career is a testament to her belief: Over the past 20 years, she has successfully mentored and advocated for women scientists and engineers in her capacities as a professor, research/program manager, chair, and director. She has sought and supported female students in long term National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU projects), and has sponsored numerous women scientists and engineers as research associates and postdoctoral researchers–many of whom have advanced into successful careers in academia.
“When I joined the faculty at Lehigh, Sibel was the only other woman professor in the CEE department, and I naturally looked to her as a mentor,” said associate professor Kristen Jellison, who directs Lehigh’s ADVANCE Center for Women STEM Faculty. “She has been a great role model for me, and her leadership inspired me to take on my own professional leadership roles. Her encouragement and guidance truly changed the trajectory of my career.”
Pamukcu served as associate chair of the CEE department in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science from 2006 to 2011 and as the interim chair from 2011 to 2013. She was co-PI of Lehigh’s prestigious NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award in 2010–the first time in the program’s history that the grant was awarded to an institution of Lehigh’s size. She served as co-director of the university’s ADVANCE program from 2011 to 2013.
Her pioneering research focuses on soil and groundwater decontamination using electrochemical technologies, application of direct current electric field for enhanced recovery of oil and for in-situ destruction of contaminants through enhanced redox in clay-rich soils and rock formations. Pamukcu is affiliated with Lehigh’s Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE) and also conducts research on the development and application of distributed fiber-optic and wireless sensor systems for monitoring progressive changes in geo-media and underground structures for preemptive mitigation of hazards.
She has authored and co-authored more than 200 technical publications, including more than 75 journal articles and book chapters. Pamukcu is co-holder of several U.S. and international patents granted for the development of a testing procedure used in soil electro-remediation, and for the development and use of polymer coated sand in environmental mitigation and separation.
To date, her research funding exceeds $10 million, with support from more than 60 grants and contracts from national and state agencies, including the NSF, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Pamukcu is recipient of the ASCE Civil Engineering Foundation Grant Award (1989); a former chair of the Committee AFP30 Soil and Rock Properties (1994-2000) of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies; and a former chapter president of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society at Lehigh. She has served on several journals’ editorial boards.
- P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
- Rossin College Faculty Profile: Sibel Pamukcu
- LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Hall of Distinction
- Lehigh University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE)