Catherine A. Peters, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been appointed chair of her department effective July 1.

Portrait of Catherine Peters

“This is a time of enormous importance for the field of civil and environmental engineering given the vast challenges the world faces in ensuring human safety and health and in protecting the environment,” Peters said. “As chair, I will work with faculty to advance academic and scholarly innovations to grow and redirect the department in light of these grand challenges.”

Peters’ research focuses on geochemistry, including the intersection of water quality and energy technologies such as carbon sequestration, geothermal energy, and hydrofracking. She previously served as associate dean of engineering, acting department chair, president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, and a member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board.

Peters earned her Ph.D. at the Carnegie Mellon University in 1992, with a joint degree in civil engineering and engineering and public policy. She joined the Princeton faculty in 1994.

Peters succeeds James Smith, the William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, who served as chair since 2011.

“I am grateful for Jim’s leadership and the many ways he has strengthened the department,” said Emily A. Carter, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “I very much look forward to working with Catherine at this time when, as she so urgently realizes, we need rigorous and creative thinking around the future of our metropolitan centers and coastal regions as well as the quality of our water, air, and soil. Through her own work and experience, Catherine is well positioned to lead the department forward in these and other critical areas.”


  • Catherine Peters

    Catherine Peters

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