The 2024 application cycle for the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation Scholarships is now closed. Thank you to all of the applicants.

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W. Wesley Eckenfelder Graduate Research Award

2024 Recipient: Zixuan (Zach) Wang

Eckenfelder Graduate Research

Zixuan (Zach) Wang is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign. He recently completed his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis, specializing in electrochemical phosphorus recovery from anaerobically digested sludge in the Department of Energy, Environment & Chemical Engineering. Zixuan’s research interest is focused on emerging wastewater treatment and resource recovery technologies and quantitative tools that bridge the gap between academic and applied research.

During his doctoral studies, Zixuan published nine first-author papers and was honored with student poster and design competition awards at the Virginia, Missouri, and Illinois AWWA/WEA joint conferences. Zixuan holds a MS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and a B.Eng. in Environmental Engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Originally from Ji'an Jiangxi (southern China), Zixuan enjoys travel, podcasts, fitness, and reading.

Past Recipients





Kogler, Anna, Stanford University

Dr. William A. Tarpeh, Stanford University


Nguyen, Duong

Anthony Straub, Ph.D.


Gao, Jiong

Dionysios D. Dionysiou, Ph.D., BCEEM


Joseph E. Weaver

Dr. Francis L. de los Reyes, III and Dr. Joel J. Ducoste, BCEEM


Christopher Lawson

Katherine McMahon


Andrew Pfluger

Junko Munakata-Marr and Linda Figueroa


No recipient


Dr. Matthew Verbyla


Bryan D. Coday

Tzahi Cath, Colorado School of Mines


Maureen Kinyua

Sarina Ergas, University of South Florida


Roland Cusick

Bruce Logan, Pennsylvania State University


Xie He

Francois de los Reyes, North Carolina State University

This award is given annually to recognize an environmental engineering or environmental science graduate student whose research contributes to the knowledge pool of wastewater management. The award selection will be based on original, innovative research of publishable quality and other factors as provided below.

Both Master’s and Ph.D. students are eligible. The award will consist of a plaque and a cash honorarium of $1,500.00 for the student and a plaque for the faculty advisor. A $500.00 travel allotment to student recipients who attend the AAEES Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science awards ceremony will also be provided. This award selection committee is administered jointly by AEESP and AAEES, and is co-sponsored by HDR. Eligible applicants will be judged based on academic program performance (45%), professional or community service (15%), project significance (25%), purpose and goals (10%), and any other evidence provided (5%). An applicant remains eligible up to one calendar year following graduation and receipt of the degree earned.

Electronic nomination packages should include: (1) A letter from the faculty advisor of the applicant, indicating that the applicant has completed all substantive requirements for the graduate degree sought, and has earned a minimum GPA of 3.3/4 in the current program, (2) Two academic letters of recommendation, detailing the contributions of the research to the profession, (3) Copy of a publication (or manuscript submitted for publication) derived from the subject research for which the applicant is the first author – 25 page limit, (4) A professional resume of the student applicant, listing all professional affiliations, publications, honors, service, and relevant experience, and (5) An applicant-prepared statement of professional purpose in pursuing the graduate degree and goals for the first five years of professional practice – (limit 500 words).

Information on where to submit a nomination package can be found here:

Professor Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. is considered the “godfather” of industrial wastewater management. He was a great colleague and mentor to numerous practitioners, professors, and students. His prolific contributions to the environmental engineering discipline included writing over thirty books, serving as a principal in several environmental engineering firms, and receiving twenty-eight awards from a wide range of professional societies. In addition, Dr. Eckenfelder was an accomplished professor with a teaching career that included positions at Manhattan College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Vanderbilt University. He was known internationally as an early developer and innovator of biological treatment technology that is now considered a standard skill employed by practicing professionals, worldwide.

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