Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hong Named Gallogly Chair

Yang Hong has served as a member of the University of Oklahoma School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science since 2007 and holds the titles of Presidential Research Professor, director of the Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, co-director of research for the OU Water Technology for Emerging Regions Center, adjunct faculty member in the OU School of Meteorology, Fellow of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and most recently, recipient of the prestigious Gallogly Chair.

His areas of research span the range of hydrology-meteorology-climatology, with particular interest in bridging the gap among the water-weather-climate-human systems across scales in space and time. He developed and taught classes related to these topics, including remote sensing retrieval and applications, advanced hydrologic modeling, climate change and natural hazards, engineering survey/measurement and statistics, land surface modeling and data assimilation systems for hydrological cycle, and water systems under a changing climate.

Hong served on several international and national committees, review panels and editorial
boards of several journals. He served as chair of the AGU Hydrology Section Precipitation
Technical Committee from 2008-2013 and member of the AGU Natural Hazard Focus Group
Executive Committee from 2014-2017. In 2012 he co-edited the book Multiscale Hydrologic
Remote Sensing: Perspectives and Applications (568 pp., CRC Press). For his prolific publication record (more than 300 articles, 4 books, 31 book chapters and numerous technologies) and
contributions to the field, he received the OU Vice President for Research 2016 Award for
Scholarly Dissemination “in recognition of exceptional success in disseminating research,
scholarship, and works of creative activities and expression”; the NASA Group Achievement
Award (Global Precipitation Measurement Mission) in 2015; and the NASA Robert H. Goddard
Award in 2014.

Most recently, he co-authored the book, Hydrologic Remote Sensing: Capacity Building for
Sustainability and Resilience (413 pp., CRC Press, 2016).  It addresses the challenges and
opportunities of global water security, reviews the multiple satellite remote sensing observations
available for monitoring the water cycle in emerging regions and over the globe, and discusses
the application of satellite remote sensing in hydrological modeling and data assimilation. 
Furthermore, the book presents the hydrological capacity building tools developed by the NASA
Applied Science Program and the HyDROS group at the University of Oklahoma during the past

Hong received his doctoral degree major in Hydrology and Water Resources and doctoral degree
minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis from the University of Arizona in 2003, his
master’s degree in Environmental Sciences in 1999, and his bachelor of science degree in Geosciences in 1996 from the Peking (Beijing) University, China. On the awarding of the Gallogly Chair, the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science director Randy Kolar remarked, “Dr. Hong is most deserving of receiving this prestigious chaired position. His vision, his intellect, and his work ethic are nothing short of extraordinary, and through that effort, he has established himself as one of the leading scientists in this field in the world. We are indeed fortunate to have a scholar of his stature among our ranks, and we look forward to many exciting discoveries from his research team in the future.”

Upon notification of receiving the Gallogly Chair, Hong reflected, “I am truly humbled and really thankful for this recognition while approaching my tenth anniversary at OU.  I am very proud to be a part of our great CEES community and am always inspired by our talented colleagues and outstanding leadership, as pursuing excellence is what the Gallogly College of Engineering is all about. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my great collaborators and my supportive family.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sabatini to Receive International Service Award

A University of Oklahoma professor, David A. Sabatini, has been selected to receive the 2017 International Association of Hydrogeologists, U.S. National Chapter’s International Service Award for his many years of promoting sustainable water resources projects in developing and impoverished countries, particularly through the creation of the OU Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center. Sabatini has shown outstanding commitment to the international community and its groundwater needs.

“This award is well-deserved and reflects the international stature of Professor David Sabatini in his field,” said OU President David L. Boren. “No one has done more to help develop safe water for those who desperately need it. The OU family is very grateful to Dr. Sabatini.”

Sabatini, David Ross Boyd Professor and Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science in the Gallogly College of Engineering, is being recognized as director of the OU Water Center and for his career-long commitment to improving the lives of others through the development of water technologies. He will receive the prestigious service award at the 2017 Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Seattle on Oct. 24.

Sabatini founded the OU Water Center in 2006 to promote peace by advancing health, education and economic development through sustainable water and sanitation solutions for impoverished regions. As the organization’s director, he has been integral in the success of the center and the biennial International Water Conference, which is designed to bring together participants from multiple disciplines worldwide in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of bringing water and sanitation to emerging global regions.

Sabatini has vast experience in Water Technologies for Emerging Regions, including integrating culture/behavior, business/supply chain, and technology in pursuit of sustainable solutions. His other research interests include groundwater quality management fate and transport of pollutants in the groundwater environment, surfactant-based technologies for expediting remediation of subsurface contamination use of passive treatment; and water and wastewater treatment, which is the treatment and/or recovery of municipal and industrial water and wastewater streams utilizing physiochemical systems with an emphasis on surfactant-contaminant separation and surfactant reuse.

Among other outstanding awards Sabatini has received throughout his career are the Steven K. Dentel Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Award for Global Outreach; the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence; the David L. Boren Award for Outstanding Global Engagement for the University of Oklahoma; the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association; the Gallogly College of Engineering Pursuit of Excellence Award; and the Water Environment Federation Award of Merit for Work in Developing Countries.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bymasters give back with endowed scholarship

From left: Development Officer Stephanie Buettner, Kristin
and Adam Bymaster and Dean Tom Landers
Adam and Kristin Bymaster, 2004 CBME graduates, have established the Bymaster Endowed Scholarship taking advantage of ExxonMobil’s matching gift program for employees. Recently, we had the opportunity to ask the Bymasters about their time at OU, their careers with ExxonMobil and why they chose an endowed scholarship as the vehicle for giving back to the University of Oklahoma. 

How did you (Kristin) arrive at your current role at ExxonMobil?My career began with three internships at ExxonMobil, which were found using OU’s Career Services department and through OU’s Minority Engineering Program. Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, I was hired full-time by ExxonMobil in May of 2004. I have held multiple positions, beginning as an offshore facilities engineer and progressing into various technical leadership roles for assets across the United States. In 2013, I moved to XTO Energy (an ExxonMobil subsidiary) as a Business Development analyst. My current role is Midstream Engineering Manager for East Texas, South Texas, and Appalachia.

Did Adam take a similar path? Adam completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at OU in May of 2004, and subsequently pursued a graduate degree as a PhD candidate at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His undergraduate training proved to provide the strong foundation required in a competitive graduate program. Upon completion of his PhD in 2009, Adam began his ExxonMobil career at the Upstream Research Company, where he led the development and deployment of new technologies and processes to capture deepwater resources, and also published various papers and patents in the areas of subsea processing technology. In 2013, he moved to XTO Energy (an ExxonMobil subsidiary) as a senior advisor in the Engineering Technical Services Group, providing support across the United States, Canada, and Argentina for various complex facilities. His current role is a senior midstream engineer and he rotates to Argentina. His responsibilities include designing and managing construction for start-up facilities including pipelines and plants.

Did you know what career path you wanted to take while at OU?No. Originally, we both were leaning towards the medical field. We both chose Chemical Engineering because of the employment flexibility in various industries (oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, medical, etc.). Adam even went so far as to complete the pre-med degree option and take the MCAT. However, we felt the oil and gas industry was more geared towards our family lifestyle (work-life balance preferences) and our technical interests. Our internships were also an important step in making the decision to work in the oil and gas industry, including Kristen’s oil and gas internships and Adam’s internships across various industries (i.e. materials/chemicals engineering, oil and gas, and academia).

What motivated you to make your gift? We both benefited from scholarships at OU and might not have been able to attend otherwise. Kristen benefitted from the National Merit Scholarship and the Rita H. Lottinville Prize. Adam worked on campus part-time during his first year at OU at the Cate Center, giving him an appreciation in the later years when his scholarships fully-funded his tuition and he was able to solely focus on classes. Adam benefitted from the Sam A. Wilson Chemical Engineering Scholarship, International School of Hydrocarbon Measurements Scholarship, Robert C. Thomas-Tenneco Energy Scholarship, ChevronPhillips Mentor Scholarship, and the Valedictorian Scholarship. It is important for us to give the same opportunity to other students, and ExxonMobil’s 3 to 1 match provides a great way to make our donations go even further. We encourage others to check their employer’s matching gift program and take advantage of this wonderful benefit.

Can you give us some details about the scholarship and setting up the endowment?We knew we wanted to give to the CBME, but we weren’t sure how to make the best use of our donation or company match. We were put in touch with Brandon Brooks and later Stephanie Buettner, who worked with us to ensure our gift was being used in a way that met our intentions. They took the lead in setting-up the scholarship and made the entire process very easy for us. Also, we weren’t required to fund the scholarship all at once; we could set-up a payment schedule to allow us to fund it over time, with assistance from our company’s matching gift.

The Bymaster Endowed Scholarship will be ready to award in the year 2020. To qualify, applicants must be full-time students in the CBME program with a minimum 3.25 GPA. Dr. Grady, as the Chair of the Scholarship Selection Committee, will determine the amount and number of scholarships given each year. We will receive a report each year detailing the recipient(s), and we hope to be able to meet them personally.

What are some of your dreams or goals in establishing the endowment? We hope to pay our gratitude forward by assisting deserving, hard-working students with their educational expenses, allowing them to focus on studies and classes. We are excited to play a role in impacting our university’s state-of-the-art programs and recognize talented students.

It is important to us to remain connected to the University. We have a great appreciation for our degrees and feel we were well-prepared to enter the competitive workforce upon graduation. We have had the privilege of attending a past CBME board meeting and networking with other donors and alumni, and we hope to continue in similar roles. We are members of the Felgar Society and make an annual donation to that program as well. Kristen has been a part of the ExxonMobil / XTO Energy campus recruiting teams, searching for prospective interns and full-time hires. We are also football season ticket holders and enjoy traveling to Norman to attend the home games with our three children and extended family.

CBME Alumnae receive AIChE 35 Under 35 Award

Ashlee Ford Versypt and Kendall Werts, OU CBME alumnae, are among the recipients of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 35 Under 35 Award.  An initiative of AIChE’s Young Professionals Committee, with support from the AIChE Foundation, the AIChE 35 Under 35 Award was created to acknowledge the early-career successes of some of AIChE’s youngest members, all under the age of 35, and to promote the accomplishments of the new generation of chemical engineers. The award winners were selected based on their achievements in one of seven categories: bioengineering, chemicals, education, energy, innovation, leadership, and safety.

Ashlee Ford Versypt, is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University and a member of the OKChE Advisory Board.  Dr. Ford Versypt directs the Systems Biomedicine & Pharmaceutics research laboratory at the intersection of chemical engineering, computational science and engineering, applied mathematics, biomedical science, and pharmaceutical science.  She has advised 15 undergraduate research students and three graduate research assistants and teaches process controls, reaction engineering, and an elective on scientific computing.  In addition, she has been honored with the CEAT Excellent Teacher Award, Outstanding Poster Presentation Award, New York Academy of Sciences Symposium on Chronic Kidney Disease, and more.

Kendall Werts works in the safety and health compliance group of Linde Gas, where she ensures that all North and South American plants are compliant with regulatory and corporate safety and health programs. She is an active AIChE member and serves as a Technical Steering Committee member for the Center for Chemical Process Safety. In addition, Kendall serves as vice president and chair for the Loss Prevention Committee, where she organizes the 11a track at the Global Congress on Process Safety. Among her awards is the Linde Engineering Mentorship Program Award.

In congratulating the honorees, AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey said, “the winners exemplify the best of our profession, and represent the breadth and diversity of chemical engineering career paths and practitioners.”

AIChE announced the recipients in the August 2017 issue of its flagship magazine Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), and are profiled online in AIChE’s ChEnected blog (  A 35 Under 35 Award reception will be held at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting, October 29 – November 3, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Organizations and non-members of AIChE may purchase copies of the August 2017 issue of CEP containing the 35 Under 35 Award winners by contacting AIChE Customer Service at 800-242-4363 (outside the U.S., 203-702-7660) or