Debbie Niemeier, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has been honored for “distinguished contributions to energy and environmental science study and policy development.”
Niemeier and this year’s other new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin — representing science and engineering, respectively — at the 2015 AAAS annual meeting, taking place Feb. 14 in San Jose, Calif. The new fellows are being formally announced Nov. 28 in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science.
Niemeier received her undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas in 1982, while working as an engineer for the Austin branch of the Texas Department of Highways. She then accepted a job as a transportation project manager at T.Y. Lin International in Falmouth, Maine, while completing a master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Maine. She followed that with a doctorate, again in civil engineering, from the University of Washington in 1994. She joined the UC Davis College of Engineering that same year.
Her research interests span transportation, vehicle emissions and air quality monitoring; energy consumption and land use interactions; and public sector infrastructure programming and budgeting. She was a member of the independent review teams assigned to assess the cost increases in the construction of the new San Francisco Bay Bridge, and to review the cost methods employed for the proposed third locks of the Panama Canal. As part of a company formed with three former students, she also works with legal advocacy groups across the world, on social justice issues associated with access to transportation and related air quality.
Niemeier served a two-year stint as vice-chair of the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and then became department chair from 2001-04. The following year, she accepted simultaneous appointments as director of the UC Davis John Muir Institute on the Environment, and Associate Vice Chancellor of the Office of Research. She served as director of the UC Davis-Caltrans Air Quality Project for more than a decade, and is founding director of the UC Davis Sustainable Design Academy.
Niemeier also serves on Capital Public Radio’s science advisory board, and since early 2013 has written eTakes, their blog on energy and the environment.
Niemeier’s many honors include UC Davis Outstanding Faculty and Mentor Awards in 1995 and ’97, respectively; she also earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1997. She was a Chancellor’s Fellow from 2000-04, and received a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Award from Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science, engineering and innovation for the benefit of all people. The society’s goals include enhancing communication among scientists, engineers and the public; promoting and defending the integrity of science, and its use; providing a voice for science on societal issues; promoting the responsible use of science in public policy; fostering science and technology education for everyone; increasing public engagement with science and technology; and advancing international cooperation in science.