My path to becoming an environmental engineer

I am currently a Process Engineer at Black & Veatch in the Water & Technology Group. Here, I enjoying working on a variety of projects that include biological nutrients removal processes. I have particular interests in Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal and greenhouse gas emissions during wastewater treatment.  Currently, I am involved in 1) removal and destruction of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a pilot study at a local municipality; 2) implementation of low dissolved oxygen biological nitrogen removal to achieve process intensification; 3) designing and optimizing post aerobic digestion reactors, 4) developing guidelines for design, operation, and implementation of sidestream biological phosphorus removal and 5) optimizing thermal hydrolysis processes for anaerobic digestion and sidestream treatment. 

Prior to Black & Veatch, I joined, as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. George Wells’ Lab at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).  In the Wells’ Lab I focused on understanding the influence of operational conditions on microbial community selection in Sidestream Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (S2EBPR).  This technology achieves biological phosphorus removal in a sidestream fermentation tank with improved stability. The process can be coupled with nitrogen removal when proper bacterial selection occurs (e.g. Tetrasphaera). 


In 2016, I received my Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) where I worked in the Environmental Biotechnology Lab under the direction of Dr. Robert Nerenberg. As an environmental engineer my Ph.D. research focused on one of the grand engineering challenges that involves managing the nitrogen cycle.  Specifically, I investigated the role of wastewater biofilm systems in contributing to global warming and emitting a potent greenhouse gas, such as nitrous oxide (N2O).

I also hold a Master’s degree in Environmental biotechnology from the University “Sapienza” (Rome, Italy).  As part of my Master’s degree program, I carried out research as a visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota  in Dr. Paige Novak‘s research group.  Here I worked on the fate of phytoestrogens in dairy wastewater and their environmental impacts.

During my free time, I enjoy playing tennis and volleyball with friends.  I especially enjoy photography and traveling to U.S. national parks and other states and countries. 

If you want to learn more about what I do, visit my publications page! 

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