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Two civil engineers earn top honors in national organization

Friday, November 13, 2015

Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office: 817-272-7075, Cell: 214-546-1082, hbooth@uta.edu

News Topics: engineering, faculty

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Two University of Texas at Arlington civil engineers, Professor Emeritus Syed Qasim and Yvette Pearson Weatherton, a senior lecturer who is currently working as a program director at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va., have been elected Fellows of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Syed Qasim

Syed Qasim, professor emeritus, civil engineering

Qasim and Pearson Weatherton join five of their faculty colleagues as ASCE Fellows. Fellow status must be attained by professional accomplishments via application and then election by the Membership Application Review Committee. Fewer than 3.5 percent of ASCE members hold the distinction, and Pearson Weatherton is now one of 80 female ASCE Fellows – roughly 1.7 percent of the total.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Qasim and Dr. Pearson Weatherton have been honored as ASCE Fellows,” said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the UTA College of Engineering. “Dr. Qasim’s contributions to the field of environmental engineering and his dedication to students over many decades, and Dr. Pearson Weatherton’s unfailing persistence and determination to provide her students with the best, possible engineering education, are an inspiration and an example of our faculty commitment to preparing the next generation of engineers. I congratulate them both on this honor.”

Yvette Pearson Weatherton

Yvette Pearson Weatherton, senior lecturer, civil engineering, and program director at the National Science Foundation

Qasim joined the College of Engineering in 1973 and retired in 2007. He was awarded emeritus status later that year. He is an internationally recognized authority on water and wastewater quality and treatment, and their related topics such as pollution control, hazardous waste management, and treatment plant design and operation. He authored several award-winning books on those subjects that have been used widely around the nation and the world for many years. His new book on wastewater treatment will be published next year.

“After all these years, I’m very excited and proud to be a fellow. I will be delighted to hang the plaque in my office,” Qasim said. “I should have applied many years ago, but I was busy and never quite got around to completing the application. At Dr. Vasant Prabhu’s urging, I finally applied this year, and I’m very happy I did.”

Qasim received several honors recognizing his accomplishments, including Distinguished Research awards from the University in 1990 and 1991, Excellence in Research awards from the College in 1988 and 1989, and a Fulbright Fellowship in 1986.

The Syed Qasim Endowed Professorship, currently held by Melanie Sattler, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, was established to honor his years of dedication and service.

In addition to his teaching and research, Qasim originated and conducted short courses on water and wastewater treatment that drew participants from across the United States and around the world. He authored two textbooks and one reference book, and has authored or co-authored more than 150 journals, proceedings, encyclopedias, papers, research reports and other publications.

Qasim earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Aligarh Muslim University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from West Virginia University. He served on the faculty of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering; conducted full-time research with Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus Laboratories; and served as a design-consulting engineer. He served nationally and internationally as a consultant with government and private concerns. He has more than 45 years of involvement as an educator, researcher and practitioner in the related field of environmental engineering.

Yvette Pearson Weatherton’s academic interest lies in environmental engineering. She is actively involved in implementing and assessing projects related to recruitment and retention of students who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields, and also is engaged in research related to her expertise in air quality.

Pearson Weatherton has served ASCE in several capacities at the local, section and national levels, including the Formal Engineering Subcommittee of the Committee on Sustainability and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. She earned the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013, and the UTA Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010 and 2012. In addition, she was recognized as one of the top 25 women professors in Texas in 2013.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by my profession in this manner. Student success is the ultimate reward for my work as an engineering educator,” Pearson Weatherton said. “My mother inspired me to become an engineer. Had it not been for her persuasion, I would have majored in music and foreign languages. Despite my being a ‘gifted and talented’ student, no one except her ever suggested that I consider STEM career opportunities. Sadly, this is not uncommon for many women, minorities and people with disabilities. As a result, most of my career has focused on creating opportunities for students like me and helping them overcome misconceived limitations.”

She began working as a program director at the National Science Foundation in 2013, where she provides proposal and award management for several STEM undergraduate education programs including NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources, Advanced Technological Education, and Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments.

Pearson Weatherton earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering and chemistry, respectively, at Southern University, and her doctoral degree in engineering and applied science at the University of New Orleans. She joined UTA as a senior lecturer in the Civil Engineering Department in 1997 and has been associate chair of the department since 2011. Prior to UTA, she rose to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Southern from 1995-2007. She is a registered professional engineer in Louisiana and a program evaluator for the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

About the University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014.  The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

-- written by Jeremy Agor

 

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.