40 Under 40 Recognition Program

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The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists is proud to introduce the AAEES 40 Under 40 Recognition Program.

This program was introduced to recognize talented individuals who have, either personally or as part of a team, been responsible for helping to advance the fields of Environmental Science or Environmental Engineering in a demonstrable way within the last 12 months. Winners are chosen by a panel of past recipients who weigh equally business successes and civic/philanthropic activities.

For the full list of eligibility criteria and information on how you can submit nominations for a worthy Environmental Scientist or Environmental Engineer, click here.

2024 Recipients

Amini Adib

Adib Amini, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP, BCEE
Program Director
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Dr. Adib Amini serves as Program Director at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Engineering’s Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs (InterPro), with particular focus on the water, wastewater, stormwater, and sustainability fields. Dr. Amini also works in engineering consulting, serving clients from the facility planning phase through design and construction. Dr. Amini holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and has expertise in drinking water and wastewater treatment, sustainability, resilient design, technology innovation, life cycle environmental impact assessment, and renewable energy. He has worked on a variety of water/wastewater projects from the facility planning phase through design and construction, and has worked with both municipal and industrial clients, providing high quality, tailored solutions to meet their needs.

Dr. Amini’s water/wastewater work has included the design of novel technologies, including on-site energy systems at water/wastewater facilities. He spearheaded the designs for the first two wastewater treatment facilities in Iowa that are 100% powered by on-site renewable energy systems. Dr. Amini also invented a novel system for ventilation of rated spaces, such as wastewater headworks buildings, for which he holds a provisional patent. Dr. Amini has spoken widely at conferences on topics related to water/wastewater treatment, PFAS, on-site energy systems, resilient infrastructure, and diversity, equity & inclusion. Dr. Amini is also a founding organizer of FRESHwater, an annual program for young people of underrepresented backgrounds, where they engage in a weeklong summer research and educational experience in the water/wastewater field, in collaboration with IAWEA and IA AWWA.

Cecilia Dominguez

Cecilia Maria Dominguez, P.Eng., AAEES Member
Operations Engineer
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts

Cecilia Dominguez stands out as a trailblazer and leader in her field. With a robust educational background, including a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Irvine, a Multiple Subjects teaching credential from LMU, and an MS in Environmental Engineering & Science from Stanford University, Cecilia has seamlessly integrated her passion for education and engineering throughout her career. 

In her more than six years with L.A. County Sanitation Districts, Cecilia has earned her P.E. and now hold the pivotal position of Operations Engineer, overseeing the facility’s Solids Processing. In this capacity, she collaborates with Operators, Electricians and Maintenance crews to ensure the seamless day-to-day functioning of critical processes for the 1,200 wet ton/day production (sludge screening and dewatering, solids conveyance and offsite hauling). Her expertise extends to being the go-to speaker and presenter on biosolids, asset management and condition assessment at The Warren Facility). 

Cecilia’s commitment to the community is exemplified by her drive to bridge education to engineering, which began with her 3 years serving in Teach for America. She currently leads education tours at The Warren Facility for diverse groups and presents at local schools on the wastewater treatment process. Acknowledged for her outstanding contributions, she has been featured in CWEA’s Clean Water Magazine, emphasizing the importance of mentorship and diversity in the workplace. Her colleagues speak glowingly of her technical expertise, dedication to mentoring, and significant contributions to STEM education programs.

A transformative leader, innovator and inclusive mentor, Cecilia Dominguez exemplifies dedication to environmental engineering, education and community service.

Hanigan David

David Hanigan, Ph.D., AAEES Member
Assistant Professor
University of Nevada

Dr. Hanigan completed a BS and MS of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Missouri.  His PhD research was conducted at Arizona State University and investigated the occurrence and formation of disinfection by-products; carcinogens that are reaction products of drinking water disinfectants.  As a post-doctoral scholar at Arizona State University he studied the environmental implications and trade-offs of nanomaterial use in sunscreens over the more conventional organic chemical ultraviolet light filters that have been used in sunscreens for decades.  

He joined the University of Nevada, Reno in the Fall of 2016. Research that his team conducts focuses on water reuse and environmental chemistry, with an emphasis on reducing the environmental loading of anthropogenic chemicals.  He has secured ~$3.8M in competitive funding from the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, the Water Research Foundation, and other private and public entities.

His team has published more than 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts which have been collectively cited more than 1800 times.  He is a registered professional engineer and in his free time he enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, and spending time with his wife and two children.

Katie Marjanovic, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts

Colleen Naughton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of California Merced

Rak Banville

Justin Rak-Banville, AAEES Member
WSP Canada Inc.

Justin plays a pivotal role within WSP's Water Treatment and Facilities team, overseeing operations management as Director, Western Canada. His dedication to improving client service through strategic expertise has grown over a decade of experience in the water and wastewater industry. Justin provides leadership to dynamic, cross-functional teams, addressing the diverse needs of both public and private-sector clients across various aspects of water management that impact our daily lives. 

With a background in treatment, Justin consistently develops innovative short and long-term water and wastewater treatment strategies, providing clients with valuable technical support while promoting operational efficiency. Holding dual licenses as a Professional Chemist (P.Chem.) and Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Canada, he brings a unique and comprehensive technical perspective, which he uses to enhance interdisciplinary design solutions through innovation, strategic acumen, and steadfast leadership.  

Beyond traditional engineering roles, Justin's expertise extends to treatment conceptualization, piloting studies, process pre-design, and adept client and project management. His skill set covers a wide range of areas, from mechanistic aquatic chemistry to technology assessment, piloting to treatment evaluations, instrumental analytical chemistry to laboratory methodologies.  

In addition to his client-oriented success, Justin's current focus is on improving how professional service firms manage their knowledge, strategically leveraging organizational resources to create value and maintain a competitive edge. He firmly believes that the foundation of successful engineering teams lies in cultivating comprehensive solutions that seamlessly integrate technical expertise with astute business acumen. 

Justin's extensive client portfolio spans diverse sectors, including government departments, non-profit organizations, corporatized entities, universities, as well as commercial and industrial organizations. This wide range of experience underlines his adaptability and effectiveness in delivering solutions across various industries, establishing him as a valuable asset in the water and facilities field. 

Adam Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental Engineering Program
University of Southern California

Amalia Terracciano

Amalia Terracciano, Ph.D., EIT, CAPM, ENV SP, AAEES Member
Environmental Engineer
CDM Smith

Dr. Amalia Terracciano is an Italian engineer, from the small island of Ischia (Italy), currently living in NJ. Her educational background includes a PhD degree in Environmental Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental and civil Engineering from the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy). She currently holds a position as environmental engineer at CDM Smith following her tenure as senior research scientist at the Center for Environmental systems (Stevens Institute Technology, Hoboken, NJ) USA).

During her research tenure, Dr. Terracciano has been instrumental in the design and performance of research programs focused on the development of engineered and sustainability-driven solutions for treatment and valorization of energetic-laden wastewater streams from US Army Industrial Bases. Her research interests include UV based advanced oxidation, zero-valent reduction, and advanced nutrient recovery algal-based processes. In addition to her research background,

Dr. Terracciano has delivered mentorship and education to graduate and undergraduate students as well as high-school students as instructor for the Stevens Pre-college and Art Harper Saturday Academy (AHSA) programs; through targeted classes and design of focused research modules, she led the students to the understanding of engineering practices and encouraged them in the pursuit of STEM careers. In her free time, she enjoys connecting and giving back to the local community by volunteering at the Hoboken Food Pantry, the Hoboken homeless shelter and its fundraiser events organizing committee.

Ryan Thomas

Ryan Antonio Thomas, Ph.D. 
Emerging Contaminants Principal
Parsons Corporation

Dr. Ryan Thomas is an Emerging Contaminants Principal and Senior Technical Consultant at Parsons Corporation with experience in academic research and professional consulting. He serves as a Writing Subgroup Leader for the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) team and Co-Chair for the National Groundwater Association’s PFAS Sampling and Analysis team focusing on developing technical guidance. 

Dr. Thomas obtained his Ph.D. in Inorganic Analytical Chemistry from Wayne State University researching metallic complexes to characterize their photophysical properties as photosensitizers for solar energy conversion. Additionally, he was an Analytical Lab Manager maintaining research instrumentation and training users within the Lumigen Instrument Center. Later, Dr. Thomas was appointed Post-Doctoral Associate at the State University of New York at Buffalo involved in projects on time-resolved studies of excited-state structures including crystallographic experiments, spectroscopic measurements, and computational chemistry. 

At Parsons (and previously at GHD), Dr. Thomas is supporting client solutions and technology development related to practical treatment and effective management of PFAS and 1,4-dioxane. He also served in GHD’s Innovative Technology Group performing treatability studies on environmental media towards full-scale remediation. These activities led to peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international conferences. 

Vital to Dr. Thomas is his duty to support DE&I and foster a network essential for the personal and professional development of diverse team members and allies. He is currently President of Parsons’ Black employee business resource group (EBRG), was a Founding Co-Chair of GHD’s Black EBRG, and previously recognized as a Buffalo Black Achiever. 

Xing Xie

Xing Xie, Ph.D.
Carlton S. Wilder Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Xing Xie is a Carlton S. Wilder Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (GT). Prior to joining GT, he was a postdoc at Caltech. Dr. Xie received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Science & Engineering from Tsinghua. He received his second M.S. degree in Materials Science & Engineering and Ph.D. degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford.

Dr. Xie’s research interests center around the applications of environmental biotechnology and materials science at the nexus of water, energy, and health. He has worked on many projects related to water treatment and reuse, pollutant detection and quantification, and energy and resource recovery. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, and his work has been cited over 9000 times with an H-index of 35. Dr. Xie has received the NSF CAREER Award, the AAEES (American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists) Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Honor Award, the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Emerging Investigator Award, the CAPEES (Chinese-American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science)-Nanova Early Career Award, and the Environmental Science & Technology Best Paper Award. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in Georgia.

Yang Yang

Yang Yang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Clarkson University

Dr. Yang Yang received his Ph.D. from Tsinghua University in 2014 and his postdoc training at the California Institute of Technology from 2014 to 2018. He joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University as an Assistant Professor in 2019. Dr. Yang specializes in the synthesis and characterization of advanced electrocatalysts and piezoelectric materials and the exploration of their environmental applications, such as disinfection, emerging contaminant control, and harmful algal bloom mitigation. Dr. Yang has published 30+ peer-reviewed articles in flagship journals and owns three patents in subject areas of emerging contaminant analysis, wastewater treatment, and flue gas purification. He is the co-founder of ResET Water, a startup company dedicated to commercializing electrochemical water treatment technology.  

He was elected to the Young Editorial Board of the Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering. He is an associate editor of Emerging Contaminants and an Early Career Editorial Board member of ACS ES&T Engineering. His research group at Clarkson received > $2M in funding from NSF, DoD, DoE, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. He received the prestigious NSF CAREER award in 2023.

Previous Recipients – 2022/2023

Wael Abdelraheem, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Michael Adelman, P.E.
Associate, Stantec Institute Researcher

Bulbul Ahmed, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Sr. Engineering Manager
Keurig Dr Pepper

Nirupam Aich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Onur Apul, Ph.D., P.E.
Assistant Professor
University of Maine

John D. Atkinson, Ph.D.
Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability Associate Professor
University at Buffalo - State University of New York

Andrew Ault, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
University of Michigan

Samik Bagchi, Ph.D., BCES
Director of Innovation
Digested Organics

Michelle Barton
Environmental Supervisor
LA Sanitation & Environment

Kyle Bibby, Ph.D.
Wanzek Collegiate Chair and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
University of Notre Dame

Lee Blaney, Ph.D., AAEES Member
Professor, Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering
University of Maryland Baltimore County

Muralikrishna Chelupati
Senior Associate

Dylan Christenson, P.E., Ph.D.
Wastewater Process Engineer
Black & Veatch

Karen Dannemiller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The Ohio State University

Dillon Joseph Devitt, P.E., BCEE
Wastewater Engineer

Patrick Dunlap
Wastewater Process Specialist
Black & Veatch

Colin Fitzgerald, P.E.
Senior Process Engineer

Leanne Gilbertson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering

Dillon R. Hoffmann, AAEES Member
Couvillion Group

Mohamed Ateia Ibrahim
Environmental Engineer/Group Leader

Syeed Md Iskander, AAEES Member
Assistant Professor
North Dakota State University

Vikram Kapoor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio

John Dannley Kenny, P.E., BCEE
Associate Civil Engineer
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Ihsan Ullah Khan, MS
Certified Teacher

Poonam R. Kulkarni, P.E., AAEES Member
GSI Environmental Inc.

Maile Lono-Batura, BCES
Dir. of Sustainable Biosolids Programs

Christine M. Magers, AAEES Member
Environmental Scientist
Balcones Field Services LLC

Daniel McCurry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Southern California

Jeremy Nguyen
Chemist II
LA Sanitation & Environment

Taraneh Dawn Nik-Khah, BCES
Environmental Affairs Officer
LA Sanitation

Rosaleen Nogle, D.WRE, P.E., BCEE
Principal Sanitary Engineer
Buffalo Sewer Authority

Arifur Rahman, Ph.D, P.E., AAEES Member
Wastewater Technologist


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