Susan Masten receives 2013 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Education Award

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 Sara Head, president of the Air & Waste Management Association, presented Susan Masten with the prestigious Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Education Award.August 19, 2013

Susan J. Masten, professor in the Michigan State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the 2013 recipient of the Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Education Award. 

She was honored in Chicago in June during the 106th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Air & Waste Management Association, an organization that enhances knowledge and expertise for more than 8,000 environmental professionals in 65 countries.

“I was deeply honored to have received the Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Educator Award,” Masten said.  “It was very special to receive this recognition at an international conference with other award recipients from the U.S., China and Japan.”

The Lyman A. Ripperton Award recognizes the distinguished achievement of an educator in an air pollution control field.  It was established in 1980 and is awarded to an individual who has inspired students to achieve excellence in all their professional and social endeavors. It recognizes the abilities that only a few in the education profession possess -- to teach with rigor, humor, humility and pride. The recipients of this award are known by the accomplishments of their students.

Masten is known for her classes in air pollution science and environmental engineering.  She has taught a Capstone Environmental Design Project on hazardous waste remediation, as well as the design of water and waste treatment facilities. Her central role in curriculum development in the College of Engineering, and her promotion and support of undergraduate education, have affected countless students who have been influenced by her counsel and teaching. Masten developed and teaches an introductory course in air pollution as part of the bachelor’s of science degree program in environmental engineering. It is the first of its kind at MSU in more than 30 years.

Masten has worked extensively to develop water treatment technologies that are more effective and suitable for use in decentralized water treatment systems. Over the past year, she has also begun to evaluate water treatment technologies for developing countries, and is looking at improving the ceramic water purifiers for pathogen removal. Masten, along with several other faculty members, holds a patent on a hybrid ceramic membrane filtration system. She has conducted extensive research on the use of this technology for the control of disinfection byproducts, nanoparticles, bromate, and pharmaceuticals in drinking water.

In addition to her classroom efforts, Masten guides numerous student research projects. She has graduated more than 50 master’s students and 12 doctoral students. Masten is also co-author of the textbook, Principles of Environmental Engineering and Science, which is published by McGraw-Hill and is in its third edition.

Masten is the adviser to the Environmental Engineering Student Society, a student chapter of A&WMA and the founding adviser of the MSU Chapter of Engineers without Borders. Under her guidance, the group visited a Native American community in Pine Ridge, S. D.; built water filters in San Carlos, Honduras; and plans to construct 30 composting latrines in El Balsamar, El Salvador. In addition, she finds time to mentor boy and girl scouts so that they can earn merit badges related to engineering, public health, and environmental science, and volunteers at several MSU engineering summer camps. Masten has also advised numerous award winning undergraduate teams in both the Waste management and Education Research (WERC) Consortium and A&WMA Student Design Competitions.

Masten earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a master’s degree from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickenson University.

Lyman A. Ripperton (1921-1978) was a practitioner in education and research for the control of air pollution. He left the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District in 1958 to assume a teaching and research assignment in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The program in air pollution education he initiated at UNC developed into one of the foremost in the United States. His students numbered in the hundreds, and they assumed positions in every segment of the air pollution control profession.

The A&WMA conference is the environmental industry’s premier education, networking and solutions event for environmental professionals from around the world. 

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