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Atkinson named one of AAEES 40 Under 40 Winners

 John Atkinson and a student in a field in Costa Rica.

John Atkinson, left, and a student in a field in Costa Rica. Photo: Douglas Levere

By PETER MURPHY

Published April 26, 2022

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John Atkinson.

John Atkinson

He is a shining star in today’s engineering world.
Ilyse Shapiro, executive director
American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists

John D. Atkinson, associate professor and Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability, has been named one of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists’ (AAEES) 40 Under 40 winners.

AAEES recently introduced the 40 Under 40 Program 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 within the past 12 months. Awardees include environmental scientists and engineers in the government, industrial, consulting and academic professional sectors.

During the past year, Atkinson was named the inaugural Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability, became an associate editor for the Journal of Hazardous Materials, and oversaw record enrollment in CIE 447, his undergraduate engineering sustainability course.

“John’s contributions to this area extend beyond the last 12 months,” says Joe Atkinson, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. “In 2018, John created the university’s most popular study abroad course, Costa Rica: Sustainability in Latin America, and was instrumental in developing the engineering science master’s degree program in engineering sustainability. We’re proud to see John recognized for his commitment to advancing environmental engineering.”

Atkinson serves as director of graduate studies for UB’s environmental and water resources engineering and engineering sustainability programs. His research focuses on quantifying the impact of waste management decision-making, with projects considering improvements for plastics recycling, increasing the share of waste-to-energy processing in the U.S., and rubber modified asphalt as an approach for scrap tire recycling.

His recent findings have been published in journals such as Waste Management, Journal of Hazardous Materials and Science of Total Environment. These latest publications span such topics as New York’s plastic bag ban and mercury emissions. As Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability, Atkinson also broadly focuses on enhancing UB’s educational programs and growing the university’s research portfolio in sustainability.

“We are very pleased to announce that John Atkinson has been named a 40 Under 40 winner in our inaugural class. He is a shining star in today’s engineering world,” says Ilyse Shapiro, executive director of AAEES.