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Lashun Thomas is the program coordinator for the Environmental Engineering (ENVE) program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

The ENVE program at UALR is the only undergraduate program in the state of Arkansas and one of  70 in the United States.

“I am one of the few women of color here in the US that oversee such programs,” Dr. Thomas said.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master’s of Engineering from Tennessee State University in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Then she received her doctoral degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2011.

“My research interests are aimed at better understanding the fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater systems,” she said.

Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Construction Management & Civil and Construction Engineering at UALR during the fall of 2014, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University, New York. Before that worked as a hydrologist for five years with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters, manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

Job Demand for Environmental Engineering

According to the Environmental Science organization, the employment outlook for environmental engineers is excellent. The field is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Some growth will be fueled by the need for water reclamation projects that increase water supplies, especially in Western states. Concerns about industrial wastewater, particularly from fracking for natural gas, will also drive growth in this area. Retirements will also open up future positions. Those with master’s degrees will have the best opportunities to fill vacancies.

“I grew up on a farm in a low-income and socio-economically depressed area in Arkansas and attended a high school graduating class of less than 40 students,” Dr. Thomas said.

“Since a very early age, I have always had a keen interest in improving water quality. Through my research efforts, I have the opportunity to be involved in environmental projects that have addressed a wide range of groundwater contamination concerns at sites across the country. I strongly encourage students interested in groundwater research to contact me to discuss available positions in my lab.”

Click here to contact Dr. Lashun Thomas

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View Comments (1)

Elvis Chekwube BelloAugust 24, 2017
1:24 pm

Dear, Dr. Lashun Thomas,

I saw this article on Facebook through a friend. I am a stratigrapher and sedimentologist and looking to pursue a career in a groundwater sector. So, I would like to work as a groundwater research in your department. Not really sure if I fit in perfectly into your program but here is a brief history about me.

I will be completing my Ph.D. in geology in August 2017 and have a permanent resident status in the United States. If considered, I believe that I would bring to the department the experience of having applied scientific knowledge to social needs in a developing economy — that of my native Nigeria. In Nigeria, public water systems are either non-existent or highly unreliable and/or unsafe. For six years after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Geology from a Nigerian university, I not only worked in Nigeria’s vital oil production industry, but I also worked in my spare time to meet the need in my country for reliable, safe domestic water systems by owning and operating a water well drilling firm. In operating my firm, I drilled 10 to 14 domestic water wells annually, conducted hydrogeological and environmental investigations, mudlogged at every 10 feet, performed water quality testing, lithologic logging, aquifer testing and interpretations, and supervised well completion and development. Furthermore, I developed groundwater sampling plans to conform to the government and community requirements at drill sites and provided independent technical, project evaluation, and operational advice to contractors and clients. Thus, I believe that I could bring to the department actual experience in applying advanced scientific knowledge to meet social needs in a developing economy.

With the scientific training that I received in obtaining my master’s degree and Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Arkansas, I believe that I have significantly advanced my capacity to use scientific learning to solve social problems. I am a sedimentologist and a stratigrapher, and my work centers mainly on sandstones preserved in the Southern Ozark region – Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma: their origin, distribution, and characteristics, and overlaps the borderline between primary and applied research in sedimentary, stratigraphy, and reservoir geology. My research concentrates on the features of sedimentary rocks and processes that produce them and how these forces control heterogeneity in conventional and unconventional plays. The research method comprises the examinations of depositional systems, stratigraphic framework, and sedimentology. To investigate these questions, I analyze and incorporate outcrop and subsurface data (e.g., well logs, thin section petrography) and use reservoir modeling and statistical tools (e.g., HIS Petra, Ipython, Sigma Plot, Google Earth, advanced Microsoft Word and Excel ) to estimate the stratigraphic and sedimentologic controls on reservoir quality. I believe that these advanced skills can help me contribute to solving the great challenge of harnessing the earth’s subsurface resources and simultaneously enabling the company to reach their full potential to serve human needs.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how I might best assist in fulfilling your department groundwater research needs. I will be available from October 2017. You can reach me by phone at (479) 790-3410.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Elvis Bello

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