The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Environmental and Water Resources Institute is Recognizing Teresa Culver with Two Awards in 2020

Teresa B. Culver’s lifelong love of the outdoors led her to career research, teaching and service in environmental and water resource engineering.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental and Water Resources Institute is recognizing her contributions with the 2020 Margaret S. Petersen Award. Culver, an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia, was selected for her “selfless dedication to preparing and mentoring future civil and environmental engineers and to serving the professional community through service and leadership.”

Culver also was named the 2020 recipient of the Service to the Institute Award. Both awards will be formally presented in May during the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Henderson, Nevada.

Teresa B. Culver, associate professor of engineering systems and environment, is shown at the Gooch-Dillard residence hall rain gardens, where her research group collects field data.

“It is a tremendous honor to be included among the other pioneering women in water resources engineering who have been recognized with the Margaret Petersen Award,” Culver said. “As an environmental and water resource systems engineer, it has also been a privilege to serve the institute, a leader in bringing environmental systems research to practice. Our collective efforts are vital to meeting the complex challenges posed by increasing population density and urban development, climate change and aging infrastructure.”

Culver’s contributions to the institute include serving on the Technical Coordination Executive Committee, chairing the Groundwater Council, serving on the Interdisciplinary Council, chairing the awards committee, and representing the institute to the American Society of Civil Engineers national Walter L. Huber Award selection committee; she won the Walter L. Huber Award in 2002 for her research in the simulation and management of water quality. She was also the founding chair of the hydraulic fracturing committee.

Culver and her students have recently been investigating innovative green infrastructure systems for stormwater management. They are part of a broader community of researchers at UVA Engineering addressing numerous environmental and infrastructure challenges.

In making its selection for the two awards, the Environmental and Water Resources Institute pointed to Culver’s distinguished tenure at UVA. During her time at the School of Engineering, she earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and was recognized by the School and the University with the Outstanding Teaching in Civil Engineering Award and as a Lilly Teaching Fellow. She has taught 15 different courses in civil engineering and has directed the undergraduate civil engineering program for 17 years.

Blazing her own trail as the first female faculty member in the nation’s second-oldest public civil engineering program, Culver has opened doors for women engineers ever since. She has advised 48 female students on their undergraduate theses — 44% of her advisees — and created service learning courses attractive to groups that are underrepresented in engineering. She has helped support the increase in women enrolled in the program, which is poised to graduate a majority-women undergraduate class of civil engineers in 2021.

“Teresa has been tireless in her service to the environmental engineering research community through her work with the institute, and it’s great to see her recognized for it,” said Brian L. Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment. “By providing technical information developed through research to engineers in the field, she and the institute help to address significant challenges related to water resources and infrastructure, which in turn improves the lives of real people. She is also highly respected in her field, and I appreciate the stature she brings to our department.”