After receiving his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from University of California, Berkeley in 1994, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair Krishna Pagilla has embarked on a career that, to date, has resulted in more than 200 publications and more than $10 million in research grant funding. Most recently, he received an award of $1.8 million to study COVID-19 prevalence through wastewater surveillance.
In recognition of these accomplishments, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has elected him as a fellow. The honor is given to only 3 percent of its membership of 150,000 engineering professionals.
"Being a civil and environmental engineer, this recognition by ASCE as a Fellow is a proud moment in my career."
About the honor, Pagilla said, “Being a civil and environmental engineer, this recognition by ASCE as a Fellow is a proud moment in my career. I hope it adds to the visibility of the CEE department and the University as having as many top-rated faculty in the nation as we do.”
Pagilla’s career has been marked by his efforts to unite stakeholders in pursuit of a common goal to make the world safer and more sustainable. His work has been performed with funding from the USEPA, USDA, NSF, WE&RF (now WRF), USDOE, USBOR, to name a few, and he is the Founding Director of the Nevada Water Innovation Institute, which brings together six public entities and the University to drive innovation in the water sector. Among the many accomplishments of the NWII is the OneWater Nevada program, which seeks to return potable water from the wastewater system to ground water in just a few hours. The project involves the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, Washoe County, and the Western Regional Water Commission, and it is led by one of Pagilla’s students, Lydia Peri, emerging resources program administrator at TMWA.
“Krishna Pagilla is incredible,” Peri said of the Ralph E. & Rose Hoeper Engineering Professor. “He has brought so much to the University and created such a link between the University and the agencies. The NWII is key to the partnerships in OneWater Nevada. I am fortunate to be working with him on this project.”
Even as Pagilla has mentored 40 M.S. and doctoral students like Peri, he has served as the President of Illinois Water Environment Association (2012-13) and as the Chair of the USA National Committee of International Water Association (IWA) (2016-19). He currently serves as the President of the Nevada Water Environment Association. Through his leadership, he has earned many honors, including the Camp Applied Research Prize by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) (2013), the Fair Outstanding Educator Medal (WEF, 2013), the McKee Groundwater Sustainable Use Award (WEF, 2019), the ASCE Student Organization Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring (2011), and the International Honor Award (US Department of Agriculture, 2000). He is also an elected Fellow of WEF and IWA.
“Krishna is a consummate professional,” College of Engineering Dean Manos Maragakis said. “His passion for the sustainable use of water is matched only by his passion to help everyone around him excel. He is a true mentor to his students while earning a well-deserved stellar reputation the world over as a researcher of the highest level. His contributions to the University and the engineering community cannot be overstated. This recognition is well-deserved.”