Dr. Wenqing “Vicky” Xu, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been recognized with Villanova’s 2020 University Scholarly Achievement Award. First presented in 2018, the award recognizes excellence on the part of faculty for published research, scholarship and/or creative expression. An expert in environmental interfacial chemistry, Dr. Xu has established herself as an exceptional researcher, winning more than $2 million in grants over the course of one year for her work in contaminant destruction, wastewater treatment, and nutrient removal and recovery.
In 2018, Dr. Xu earned the prestigious $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award for “Transforming the Synergistic Interactions between Pyrogenic Carbonaceous Matter (PCM) and Sulfur Species into Solutions for Contaminant Detoxification.” She was subsequently named co-PI on a $101,153 Renmatix, Inc. research grant, led by Civil and Environmental Engineering colleague Dr. Metin Duran, to develop an anammox-biochar system for one step, sustainable and cost-effective nitrogen removal and phosphorus recovery from wastewater. Dr. Xu’s largest grant came in 2019 when the Department of Defense awarded her $1.46 million to lead a multi-institutional research project to address explosive residuals at military training sites. Last month, Dr. Xu was awarded a supplement grant from NSF to continue her work on the National Science Foundation CAREER award.
Dr. Xu directs the Environmental Interfacial Chemistry Group and actively engages both undergraduates and graduate students in research and education with the goal of transforming fundamental knowledge into providing solutions for safe drinking water, nutrient recovery and mitigating climate change. She teaches courses in Water & Wastewater Treatment, Introduction to Environmental Engineering Science, Aquatic Chemistry for Environmental Engineers, and Physical and Chemical Treatment Processes. She is also a recipient of a 2020 VITAL minigrant with which she will incorporate visualization software in a required undergraduate course in Water & Wastewater Treatment.