ASCE has honored Teresa B. Culver, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, with the 2020 Margaret S. Petersen Award for her selfless dedication to preparing and mentoring future civil and environmental engineers and to serving the professional community through service and leadership.
Culver is an associate professor of civil engineering in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia (UVA), specializing in environmental and water resources (EWR) engineering. She has made distinguished contributions to the water resources community through—
- Research: Culver conducts research in optimization water resources and environmental systems and design of green infrastructure. For her outstanding accomplishments she was awarded the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize in 2002 and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Furthermore, she has bridged the gap between theory and practice by applying her technical expertise to improve water quality and stormwater management in the local communities.
- Curriculum development: Culver grew the EWR engineering curriculum at UVA to offer courses across all academic levels, and led the development of an EWR track in Civil Engineering, which is now followed by 40 percent of the CE students.
- Teaching: Culver has taught 18 different courses in EWR and Systems Engineering, spanning all academic levels from freshmen to advanced graduate students. In her classes she maintains high academic rigor, which allows students to reach their full potential, while also creating a caring and supportive environment for students. Students from other engineering disciplines outside of CE also take her courses.
- Mentoring: Culver is a role model and mentor to undergraduate students, graduate students, and junior colleagues. Most noticeably, she has advised 88 undergraduate student researchers, many of whom perform numerical modeling and optimization, which requires them to develop strong quantitative skills beyond what is taught in the typical undergraduate curriculum.
- Service and leadership: Culver has provided unparalleled service and leadership to EWRI since its inception. She was instrumental in the creation of the Groundwater Management Committee; she has served on several EWRI- and ASCE-level committees, including chairing the EWRI Awards Committee.
- Promoting the field of civil engineering to underrepresented minorities: Culver has been involved in outreach to young women and underrepresented minorities since she was a graduate student.
The Margaret S. Petersen Award recognizes a female member of ASCE or EWRI who has demonstrated exemplary service to the water resources and environmental science and engineering community.