Havala Pye, Ph.D.
B.S., UF ChE ’05
US Environmental Protection Agency
Title: Chemical engineering to improve air quality
Abstract: The troposphere contains most of Earth’s atmospheric mass, the air we breathe, and numerous trace constituents of both natural and anthropogenic origin. Species are continually added via emissions from sources like cars and vegetation, transformed via reactions, and transported to downwind locations. Principles of chemical engineering are applied to quantify these processes and develop tools that can be used by air quality managers to predict the impacts of policy on pollutant concentrations. Along with ambient measurements and laboratory experiments, computer models—especially Eulerian chemical transport models (CTMs) that solve for the evolution of concentrations in time and space—are fundamental tools used to understand the atmosphere. As a research scientist at the US EPA, Dr. Havala Pye advances our knowledge of atmospheric chemistry by developing and applying the Community Multiscale Air Quality CTM system (www.epa.gov/cmaq). In this talk, Dr. Havala Pye will describe the personal and professional experiences that shaped her career, examples of how chemical engineering is used in research at a regulatory agency, and what it is like to work for the federal government as a scientist.
Bio: Havala Pye received her BS in Chemical Engineering summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2005 and her PhD in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Environmental Science and Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2011. Since 2011, she has been a research scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development where her work focuses on fine particles and other airborne pollutants that can impact human health and climate change. Specifically, she develops the representation of fine particles and organic species in the Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system (www.epa.gov/cmaq) allowing for improved quantification of air pollution impacts in regulatory analysis. In addition, methods developed by her team are being used to estimate evaporative air emissions from chemical products as part of the National Emissions Inventory which occurs every three years in the US. She has also worked on biogenic volatile organic compound chemistry, role of volatile chemical products in secondary pollutant formation, deposition to vegetation and other surfaces, and chemistry of suspended condensed phases such as liquid particles.
Dr. Pye has authored or co-authored 54 refereed journal articles with over 4,000 citations, including 5 articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and 1 in Nature Sustainability, as well as given 17 invited talks. Dr. Pye is a topical editor for the journal Geoscientific Model Development and the recipient of multiple EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards as well as a bronze medal for commendable service. In 2017, she was recognized with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.More information about her work can be found at havalapye.wordpress.com.
Note. In addition to this alumni seminar, Dr. Pye will be presenting in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences Graduate Seminar series March 5 from 11:45 am to 12:35 pm.