Teaching

Teaching

Kate has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in fluid mechanics, surface and groundwater hydrology, contaminant transport, hazardous waste site remediation, introductory environmental and civil engineering and field engineering. Her current courses include:

SITE REMEDIATION ENGINEERING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

When the welfare of human beings is not properly considered, environmental contamination thrives. Environmental pollution kills more people each year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined; many of the victims are women and children who are from low-income/developing countries. However, there is a common attitude that there is nothing we can do about environmental pollution in developing countries for technical, economic, social, and political reasons, resulting in a common misperception that the pollution is just part of development (i.e. the cost of development).  However, this is not the case.  We have the technical knowledge to prevent the hindering of productivity and economic growth that pollution causes. Developed countries have made great strides in combating environmental pollution.  It is now time that we apply this knowledge to developing countries, tackling, head-on, environmental remediation problems that impact so many lives each day.

Consequently, this course will focus on the application of scientific and engineering principles as well as the practices to the remediation of contaminated water, air, and land in developing countries.  This course will require students to synthesize a variety of topics ranging from chemistry and engineering to social issues such as environmental justice and international relations to solve environmental problems.  In the first part of the course, we will discuss the top pollutants and their sources, characteristics of contaminated sites approach to assessing sites, and determining the extent of cleanup required and optional methods for remediation and risk reduction.  In the latter part of the course, several conventional and emerging remediation technologies will be discussed in some detail to illustrate process principles and design features of field applications.

GROUNDWATER CONTAMINANT TRANSPORT MODELING

The understanding of computer modeling tools is essential in the development of engineering solutions to existing problems in energy, water, and the environment.  Groundwater management, contaminant site assessment and remediation, groundwater quality assessment, and many others, rely on computer models as a means of understanding water flow, groundwater-surface water interactions, water budgets, and the fate of contaminants in the subsurface.  This course introduces students to the concepts and practical aspects of groundwater contaminant modeling.  The course objective is to familiarize students with modeling by providing a solid understanding of the principles, methods, assumptions, and limitations of groundwater models as well as experience with the planning, execution, and presentation of a modeling project of the student’s interest.  The course reviews concepts of flow and transport and both finite element and finite difference methods provide an overview of various software programs for groundwater flow and transport modeling and hands-on experience using flow and transport models.

Note that this class is designed to be a general introduction to using models to understand contaminant behavior, transport, and fate–this class is not intended to be a numerical methods course.  As such, we will focus on some basic principles that apply to each of the various media, and we will develop and implement mathematical expressions (i.e. models) as well as using publicly available models to help us to understand behavior.