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College of Engineering | March 11, 2024

Join Us in Warmly Welcoming Lauren C. Kennedy, Ph.D., To UTEP Department of Civil Engineering

Join Us in Warmly Welcoming Lauren C Kennedy PhD To UTEP Department of Civil Engineering


We are excited to announce the arrival of Lauren C. Kennedy, Ph.D. as our newest assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Dr. Kennedy brings with her an impressive educational background, holding a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Ecological Engineering from Purdue University as well as a Master of Science in Engineering and Environmental Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering and Environmental Engineering from The University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Kennedy’s research focuses on protecting public and environmental health, with a keen interest in topics such as microbial community dynamics in drinking water distribution systems, wastewater-based epidemiology, mechanisms of virus inactivation, and enhanced microbial monitoring in the engineered water cycle. Her dedication to academic excellence has been recognized through prestigious awards such as the American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award and the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Award for her dissertation research.

As she settles into her role at UTEP, Dr. Kennedy plans to mentor Ph.D. and MS students in research projects on microorganisms in the engineered water cycle and wastewater-based epidemiology and drinking water distribution system microbial ecology. Drawing from her own experiences as a student engaged in research opportunities, she hopes to inspire and guide undergraduate students in pursuing their research projects in these areas.

"We are particularly excited about the excellence in mentorship that Dr. Kennedy will provide, guiding our students on their journey to becoming proud UTEP civil engineers," stated Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., College of Engineering Dean. "Dr. Kennedy's arrival marks a significant addition to our faculty, and we eagerly anticipate her impactful contributions to the Civil Engineering department, university, and community."

In addition, she was part of the team at the University of California, Berkeley that founded COVID-19 wastewater-based epidemiology for the Bay Area (COVID-WEB), which was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service in 2021. Since her postdoctoral training at Stanford University, she has continued wastewater-based epidemiology research through the Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network (SCAN).

When asked about the impact of her awards on her approach to academia and research, Dr. Kennedy emphasized the importance of staying connected to engineering roots and practical research applications. The scholarships and recognitions she received influenced her research ideas, guiding her toward finding solutions that can be applied in real-world scenarios. She aims to pass on these lessons to her students, encouraging them to think critically about the practical implications of their research and stay connected with industry trends and needs.

In a world that faces increasing environmental challenges, Dr. Kennedy believes that multidisciplinary collaboration is essential. “I am excited to collaborate with researchers from other departments and institutions, particularly on research that informs the progress of safe and sustainable potable reuse," expressed Dr. Lauren C. Kennedy. "El Paso's trajectory to build the first full-scale treated water augmentation system in the United States presents a unique opportunity. However, we also face challenges, such as limited options for managing concentrate streams from advanced treatment processes. UTEP's location positions us perfectly for incubating collaborative potable reuse research, including innovative approaches to membrane concentrate management."

“Dr. Kennedy brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for addressing water and wastewater treatment issues that complements our current expertise in this field. Her dedication to academic excellence will undoubtedly enrich our research activities and inspire future generations of civil engineers to pursue a career in water and wastewater treatment technologies. We warmly welcome Professor Kennedy to our team and look forward to her impactful contributions to our department undergraduate and graduate programs, our university, and our community,” Department of Civil Engineering Chair, Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D. added.

We are honored to welcome Dr. Lauren C. Kennedy to our team at UTEP's Department of Civil Engineering. Her expertise, dedication, and passion for addressing pressing environmental issues make her a valuable addition to our faculty. We look forward to the impactful contributions she will make to our research activities, undergraduate and graduate programs, our university, and our UTEP Civil Engineering community.

For more information about Dr. Kennedy’s research, please visit

Civil Engineering

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