November 20, 2009

Leading professional groups honor Chevalier

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A civil and environmental engineering faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is collecting honors from two leading professional groups.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently named Lizette R. Chevalier, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, a fellow. The distinction is one of the highest offered by the ASCE, which is considered the flagship professional organization for civil engineers

In addition, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers named Chevalier as a board certified environmental engineer. The organization is dedicated to the practice of environmental engineering to ensure public health, safety and welfare.

Chevalier said winning the ASCE fellow designation is a lifetime achievement that made her reflect on her current classes and students and how she started out in the same way years ago.

“As the daughter of an army sergeant with eight kids, I was a first-generation college kid who thought engineers only drove trains,” she said. “It was absolutely unimaginable from that vantage point that I would reach this level of achievement or recognition. I am humbled, amazed, and grateful.”

Naming someone as a fellow is the second-highest membership grade ASCE bestows on its members. The designation recognizes the member’s professional distinction and achievements, including the member having at least 10 years of “exceptional responsible charge” in engineering and maintaining a professional engineer and land surveyor license.

ASCE fellows receive a plaque and commemorative pin, as well as increased visibility within the organization, among other benefits. They are recognized in the field of civil and related engineering specialties as a person who has made an ongoing commitment to supporting ASCE's leadership in the profession.

Chevalier said the AAEE certification is an honor based on recognition from her engineering peers, and therefore very special.

“The academy has established guidelines and procedures for assuring that this award is given to those who have demonstrated a significant body of knowledge in environmental engineering,” she said. “I think it is important for students to know that their classes are taught by faculty conversant with the current standards of engineering practice as well as advances in research.”

Chevalier earned her doctorate in 1994 at Michigan State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She earned her Master of Science degree there in 1990 and her Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at Wayne State University in 1988. She joined the faculty at SIUC in 1995, serving two terms as chair of her department, from 2002 to 2008.

Chevalier’s research interests include environmental engineering, environmental hydraulics, contaminant hydrology, and numerical modeling, among others topics.

Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, interim dean of the College of Engineering, congratulated Chevalier on the accomplishments.

“She now joins a select group of people who have been recognized as bothASCE fellow and a board certified environmental engineer,” he said.