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Dr. Mira Olson Receives McGraw-Hill/AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering & Science

August 8, 2012

Mira OlsonDrexel’s Dr. Mira Olson, assistant professor in the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) department, has been selected to receive the McGraw-Hill/AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering & Science. The award is given by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Foundation and is sponsored by McGraw-Hill. The award is given annually to recognize a professor who makes outstanding contributions to teaching environmental engineering at both their home institution and beyond. Recipients of this award must prove that they satisfy the following criteria: “possesses and is able to communicate interest in and breadth and depth in subject area knowledge; designs classroom, laboratory, field-based or other learning activities that challenge and motivate students and demand thinking and learning and/or is committed to professional mentoring and academic advising of students.”

Dr. Olson received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Sciences and Engineering from Rice University and both her masters and doctorate in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from the University of Virginia. In 2006, Dr. Olson joined Drexel’s Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering department. Prior to Drexel, she was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Virginia.

Immediately upon her arrival to Drexel, Dr. Olson added substantial knowledge and creativity to the department’s Environmental Engineering program, particularly in the fields of hydrology, groundwater remediation and nanotechnology. Dr. Olson is known for fostering lively interaction amongst students through her use of innovative classroom demonstrations and activities. Students greatly appreciate her continuous efforts to interact and engage the class as well as her ability to incorporate broader social, economic and ethical policy implications into technical engineering topics.

Dr. Olson is also very involved in community outreach and extra-curricular activities. In 2007 she founded the Blankenburg Science Fair Club for Girls which is an afternoon mentoring program that encourages inner-city middle school girls from West Philadelphia to tackle science and engineering projects and to enter the regional science fair. To date, she has recruited and advised 14 Drexel women as mentors for the Drexel-Blankenburg Science Fair Club for Girls. Dr. Olson also currently oversees the department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Engineering Cities summer research program.