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Dr. Tolessa Deksissa will receive the Research Leadership Award at the 2022 BEYA STEM Conference. As director of the Water Resources Research Institute at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), he has been instrumental in building excellence in environmental research, teaching, and training capacity.


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He co-led the establishment of UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences, initiating accreditation, new research projects, and courses, and securing extramural funding through the United States Geological Survey, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation.  He is also the founding director of the professional science master’s program in water resources management, and the environmental quality testing laboratory.

“Dr. Tolessa Deksissa has made a difference at our university,” said Dr. Victor McCrary, vice president for research and graduate programs at UDC. “He articulates the mission, and through his research efforts builds resilience in our communities. His knowledge, research prowess, and demeanor to help others make him an excellent candidate for this award.”

Deksissa has authored or co-authored more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations. He is currently serving as the president of the American Water Resources Association National Capital Region Section.


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