On August 21, 2020, Professor Bridget Wadzuk, PhD, ‘00 CE, officially began her tenure as the Edward A. Daylor Chair in Civil Engineering. Committed to “resolving environmental justice issues with resilient engineering solutions,” she follows in the footsteps of Professor Robert Traver, PhD, PE, D.WRE, F.EWRI, F.ASCE, ’82 MSCE, who held the position from 2015-2020.
A professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2005 and a faculty researcher in the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems, Dr. Wadzuk is recognized for advancing novel concepts in stormwater engineering, which has included turning Villanova University’s campus into a world-renowned research and demonstration park. Over the past fifteen years, she has secured more than $10 million in external research funding and has authored or co-authored 27 papers. Within the field of stormwater engineering, her work on evapotranspiration has led to the reimagining of stormwater design and she is one of only a handful of researchers incorporating machine learning, artificial intelligence and edge computing into this work.
Advancing applications in machine learning is one of Dr. Wadzuk’s three areas of focus for her first five years as Daylor Chair. Additional goals include integrating stormwater into food-energy-water nexus solutions, which will have a positive human impact; and changing the way stormwater engineers look at a hydrograph, which is the most common tool used to explain the flow in or out of a system over time, but one which she believes needs to be remade. A committed teacher-scholar, Dr. Wadzuk also looks forward to bringing these topics and others into the classroom through new interdisciplinary courses.
"I will continue to work in a collaborative way, leveraging the resources of this chaired position to bring these ideas to fruition,” says Dr. Wadzuk. In addition to supporting undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows and Villanova colleagues, she plans to attend more conferences, particularly international conferences, to meet with colleagues worldwide. “Participating in these conferences,” she explains, “will augment publications on these new topic areas, highlight Villanova as a leader in stormwater engineering, and potentially lead to new partnerships and new sources of students.”
Inaugurated in 1994, the Edward A. Daylor Chair was first held by Professor G. Lee Christensen, PhD, who retired in 2002. The chair was subsequently held by Professor Ronald Chadderton, PhD, and Dr. Traver, who stepped down in order to provide an opportunity for a mid-career rising faculty member. Being selected as an endowed chair is a prestigious honor for accomplished professors, recognizing leadership in their respective field and loyalty to the University and their department. In addition to acknowledging top professors, the position also provides flexible resources to support the chair holder’s research, adding to Villanova’s pioneering innovation and discovery.
The College of Engineering has four funded endowed chairs; most recently, Nance Dicciani, PhD, ’69 ChE, established an endowed chair in chemical engineering.