EnvE Grad Student Named P.E.O. Scholar and Tau Beta Pi Fellow

Julianne Rolf, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, was recently awarded two prestigious graduate honors: the P.E.O. Scholar Award and the Tau Beta Pi Fellowship. 

The P.E.O. Scholar Award is a merit-based award granted to women in doctoral programs in the United States and Canada who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, global experiences, and potential for having a positive impact on society.

The Fellowship Program is Tau Beta Pi's single most important project for the advancement of engineering education and the profession. Since the beginning, the purpose has been to finance, for a select group of members chosen for merit, a year of graduate study at the institutions of their choice.

Rolf is advised by Prof. Menachem Elimelech and her research is focused on membrane surface modification and antiscalants (pretreatment chemicals that delay salt formation and maintain the membrane quality and life) to elucidate their behavior and increase treated water output. With a clearer understanding of antiscalants, pretreatment for membrane-based desalination processes can be optimized, lowering treatment costs and increasing water access.

Rolf completed her B.S. at the University of California, Riverside, where she gained hands-on experience as an undergraduate researcher focusing on electrically-conductive carbon-nanotube membranes for organic and highly saline water. After graduation, she spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in the northeast region of Germany analyzing lake trophic status, cyanobacteria concentrations, and their impact on the temporal sequence of calcite precipitation using data collected at 12 sample sites for over 40 years.