Advisory Board Members

External Members

Joel T. Abrahamson

Joel T. Abrahamson is a Senior Applications Engineer with 3M. He develops and supports new adhesives for organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays, working with major technology brands and global manufacturers. This display technology provides today’s mobile phones with higher contrast, better color gamut, and longer battery life. In 2015 he was certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Joel’s previous research also advanced applications of nanomaterials for electronics and energy. Primarily he studied carbon nanotube composites as thermochemical reaction waveguides/thermoelectric generators and inorganic thin films for solar energy. These fruitful studies yielded more than 30 presentations at conferences ranging from North Dakota to Italy and 19 peer-reviewed publications, plus one patent granted with a second pending.

Joel earned his B.S. from KU in 2006 and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both in chemical engineering. He lives with his spouse, Dorea, and their two children in St. Paul, MN.

Colby Arnold

Colby P. Arnold is a Reservoir Engineer II in the Rockies district at Chesapeake Energy Corporation in Oklahoma City. Colby is responsible for subsurface assessments, economic evaluations, and technical analysis for a vast wellset spanning several geologic horizons in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.

Prior to his current role in reservoir engineering, Colby spent 4 years serving as a Production Engineer for Chesapeake in the Utica Shale of Eastern Ohio. During this stint, he was in charge of artificial lift installation, production optimization, and budgeting/planning for Lease Operating Expenses.

As part of his training for this role, he was certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Colby earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from KU in 2013 and is currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma with an anticipated graduation date in May of 2018. Colby is originally from Topeka, KS and currently resides in Nichols Hills, OK.

Kelli Calhoon

Kelli Calhoon is a Senior Manager in the Overland Park, Kansas office of Ramboll Environ US Corporation, an environmental consulting firm, where she specializes in industrial air quality compliance and permitting. She consults with clients on interpretations of air quality regulations as they relate to industrial operations, prepares air quality permit applications, conducts comprehensive air emissions calculations, recommends control technology equipment and processes to clients to ensure compliance with applicable regulations, conducts environmental compliance audits, develops greenhouse gas emission inventories, conducts air dispersion modeling analysis, and participates on due diligence teams as an air quality specialist.

Kelli provides environmental consulting services to a variety of industries, including oil and gas production and processing, Portland cement manufacturing, electrical power generation, fertilizer manufacturing, beverage alcohol production, wool fiberglass manufacturing, mineral quarrying/processing, lime manufacturing, lead acid battery manufacturing, grain processing, as well as various other general manufacturing industries.

Kelli graduated from the University of Kansas in 2001 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and currently lives in Shawnee, Kansas with her husband, Brad, and son, Cooper.

Jana Chester

Kirk Gerdes

Kirk Gerdes received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 2001, and obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston in 2006. Since 2006, Dr. Gerdes has researched solid oxide fuel cell systems at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), and has served as the NETL research group leader of fuel cells since 2009. In his present role, Dr. Gerdes leads a collaborative team of federal researchers and university investigators that provides targeted research in support of the principal solid oxide fuel cell development program (SECA) of the United States' government. The NETL Fuel Cell Team specializes in cathode kinetics and materials development, and in characterization of fuel cell degradation processes. This active research team has generated more than 50 peer reviewed publications, presentations, and public reports in support of industry since 2010. In addition to providing technical leadership to the NETL Fuel Cell Team, Dr. Gerdes leads research in contaminant-induced degradation in SOFC, collaborates on topics of crystallographic and morphological evolution in fuel cell cathodes, and directly supports SOFC-related technology transfer activities. Since 2006, Dr. Gerdes has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer reviewed articles and delivered more than 20 domestic and international conference presentations and invited speaking engagements on the topics of SOFC and solid state ionic transport. Dr. Gerdes currently lives with his wife Kristin (KU, B.S. ChE '01) and 3 children in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Gary Gould

In 2019, Gary Gould began his new executive position as Chief Operating Officer for EQT Corporation, the largest natural gas producer in the United States.  Prior to joining EQT, Mr. Gould served in leadership roles as Senior Vice President of Production and Resource Development, Senior Vice President of Operations, and Vice President of Resource Development for Continental Resources, where over a period of five years, he played a key role in leading Continental’s Operations and Resource Development teams to double production, double capex efficiency, reduce LOE per BOE 40% to the lowest in the oil industry, and increase cash recycle ratio to the highest among our peers and twice as high as the industry average.  Mr. Gould has over 30 years of industry experience and approximately 15 years of management experience with independent domestic and major international companies, developing over ten different unconventional oil and gas plays.  Previously in his career, Gary was part of the management teams at Chesapeake Energy, Burlington Resources, ConocoPhillips, and KinderMorgan.  Earlier in his career, he progressed through various operations, engineering, business planning, and business development positions with increasing responsibility at Exxon Corporation and Burlington Resources.  Gary received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Kansas.  Gary met his wife Beth at KU.  They have been married for over 25 years and are blessed with five children.

Don Green

Don W. Green is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at The University of Kansas (KU). He holds a B.S. in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa, and M.S. and PhD. Degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Green has authored, co-authored, 65 refereed publications, over 100 technical meeting presentations, and is co-author of the SPE textbook Enhanced Oil Recovery. He is also editor of the 6th, 7th and 8th Editions of  Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook.

His career began in 1962 in the Production Research Division of Continental Oil Co. before joining KU in 1964. At KU he was chair of his department from 1970-1974 and 1996-2000. He was co-director of the Tertiary Oil Recovery Project (TORP) with Professor G. Paul Willhite from 1974 to 2007. A major research focus of TORP has been the application of gelled polymer systems for water control. His group has made significant contributions to a fundamental understanding of the behavior of these systems which led to their rational deployment in field applications. The TORP has a nationally recognized program of technology transfer to Independent Oil Operators in Kansas.

Dr. Green has won numerous teaching awards at KU, including the Honors for Outstanding Progressive Educator (HOPE) Award and the Chancellor's Club Career Teaching Award, the highest teaching recognitions awarded at the University. He has also been featured as an outstanding educator in ASEE's Chemical Engineering Education Journal. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer, recipient of the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, and the Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) Pioneer Award and was named an Honorary Member of both SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) and AIME (American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers). He is also a Fellow of the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers). He received the School of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Service Award (DESA) in 2015.

Guy Green

Guy Green is chief of the Design Branch, Engineering and Construction Division, Seattle Corps of Engineers. The Design Branch is a multidisciplinary staff of engineers and architects performing designs and design during construction for civil works and military infrastructure projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. Guy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1985 and a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering from KU in 1990. Upon graduation, Guy worked for Earth Technology Corporation in Alexandria Virginia. Guy worked with Corps of Engineers offices in Baltimore and Tulsa prior to going to Seattle in 2005.

Sonya Herrick

Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Schley Johnson is a cofounder of Agrivida, Inc., an industrial biotechnology company based in Medford, MA. Jeremy oversees process development research and plays a role in overall scientific strategy planning and business development. He also manages operations, human resources, and finance for the company. Prior to Agrivida, Jeremy worked as a process engineer in the Process Division of Black and Veatch.

Jeremy graduated from the University of Kansas in 1997 with a BS in Chemical Engineering. He completed a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2006.

Anahita Khanlari

Roy Knapp

Roy M. Knapp was the C.W. Mewbourne Professor of Petroleum & Geological Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Roy retired from OU in 2008. He served 11.5 years as Director of the PGE school. He taught courses in reservoir engineering and numerical methods. His research interests include microbial enhanced oil recovery, and reservoir simulation and engineering. Before he joined OU in 1979, he was on the University of Texas petroleum engineering faculty. Earlier he worked for Northern Natural Gas Company in gas supply, employee relations and operations research. Roy graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering and a Doctor of Engineering. Currently, he is Director of the Mid-Continent NA Region of the Society of Petroleum Engineers International.

Carol Krska

Carol Krska consults on an as required basis for LaserCycle/InkCycle, Inc., a privately held manufacturing business located in Lenexa, Kansas. The company was started by Rick and Carol Krska in 1992, to remanufacture toner cartridges for the household and business community. It expanded to include inkjet technology in 1997, and is now North America.s largest remanufacturer of recycled inkjet printer cartridges. From 1982-1997, Carol was employed by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technology specializing in polymer applications in electronics, metals, plating, printed wiring, board and assembly technology, materials compatibility, cleaning, failure analysis and aging evaluations as applied in electronics for nuclear weapons systems. Carol received her BS in Chemical Engineering from KU in 1982 and her MS in Chemical Engineering in 1997.

Kevin Lafferty

Kevin D. Lafferty joined Lagoon Water Solutions in March of 2019 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Mr. Lafferty served 9 years with Devon Energy Corporation, most recently as Senior Vice President, Exploration and Production, where he directed major operating divisions and corporate groups, and managed large projects throughout the organization. Mr. Lafferty also served on the Board of Directors for EnLink Midstream LLC (NYSE: ENLC) and EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (ENLK) while controlled by Devon. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kansas. He serves on the Executive Committees of the University of Kansas Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board and the Oklahoma City Ballet Board of Trustees.

Lance Lobban

Lance Lobban is professor of chemical engineering at the University of Oklahoma, where he has been on the faculty since 1987. He holds the Francis W. Winn Chair in chemical engineering, and has been the director of the school since 1998. He received his BS in chemical engineering from KU in 1981 and his PhD from the University of Houston in 1987. His current research interests involve thermochemical and catalytic conversion of biomass to liquid fuels and chemicals. He is the author or coauthor of over 50 archival publications and book chapters and three patents, and has received several teaching awards at OU.

Yvonne Murtha

Kent ​Pennybaker

Kent Pennybaker received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from KU in 1983. He worked as a Borehole Gravity Engineer doing specialized wireline logging worldwide for 3 yrs before returning to KU to pursue his masters. He received his M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from KU in 1987. While at KU he was a Teaching Assistant for "An Introduction to Computers in Engineering", and was named "Outstanding Graduate Student" in 1987. He then went to work for Conoco based in Ponca City, Oklahoma for 7 years. He supported the upstream and midstream operations providing process engineering support. This included gas plants and off-shore facilities worldwide. In 1994, he left Conoco and founded River City Engineering, Inc. (RCE) in Lawrence, Kansas. RCE focuses on process engineering services for the upstream and midstream industry. He has worked on many new plant designs and troubleshooting of existing facilities worldwide. One of the highlights was his involvement in designing and start-up of the first floating gas processing and fractionation facility in the world. Currently he is involved in another first of its kind project; a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility. Kent is married to Janet Knollenberg, who was a KU Chemical Engineering student, and they have two children; Attie and Austin.

Derrick Rollins, Sr.

Dr. Derrick Keith Rollins, Sr. grew up in inner city Kansas City, Missouri. He received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1979. From then until 1986 he worked for the E. I. Du Pont Chemical Company in Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. In the fall of 1985 he returned to college and earned the following degrees from The Ohio State University: an M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1987, an M.S. degree in statistics in 1989, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1990.

Professor Rollins joined the Iowa State University (ISU) faculty in the fall of 1990 in a unique joint appointment between the Statistics Department and the Chemical Engineering Department. Since coming to Iowa State, Dr. Rollins has received many research grants and awards including the 2013 National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Joseph N. Cannon Award in Chemical Engineering, the 2012 McDonald Mentoring Award from the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, the 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) MAC Eminent Engineer Award, the ISU 2007 Louis Thompson Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2005 Regents Faculty Excellence Award given by the Iowa Board of Regents, the 2000 ISU Presidential Service Award, the 1996 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award, the 1994 ISU Foundation Award for Early Achievement in Teaching, and in 1994 the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellows Award, which was considered the highest honor the federal government gives young scientists and engineers. The latter award was given by the president of the United States each year to no more than 30 faculty members -- 15 in engineering disciplines and 15 in science disciplines. His research areas include glucose monitoring, modeling and control to help people with diabetes control blood sugar better and for improving cancer protocols in Biomedical Engineering; Bio- and Material- Informatics and data mining; and development of processes for non-destructive testing procedures. He is the ISU Director for IIN-SPIRE LSAMP and recently named ISU University Professor.

“One of the noblest and critical professions is being an educator of young minds. The responsibility to shape, challenge, inspire, and influence our youth should not be taken any lighter than life itself.”

Lanny Schoeling

Lanny Schoeling has over 30 years of experience in many technical and managerial positions.  He is currently the Vice President of Engineering and Technical Development for Kinder Morgan CO2 Company.  Prior to working at KinderMorgan,  he was the Chief Reservoir Engineer for Unconventional's at Shell E&P, responsible for developing and managing the Commercial Reservoir Development Team. He holds a Doctorate of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering, Masters of Science in Chemical Engineering, and a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry.  He is a professional engineer in Texas and Kansas.  He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and was a distinguished lecturer in 1996 for SPE,  was chairman of the SPE Education and Accreditation Committee, author of numerous SPE papers, a preliminary Speaker at the 2000 SPE-DOE Improved Oil Recovery Meeting, and technical chairman of the technical program for the 2012 IOR-SPE Tulsa Symposium.  

Robert Smith

Bob Smith has a B.S. from Kansas State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, all in chemical engineering. He has taken management courses at The University of Texas at Dallas and Southern Methodist University and has completed the engineering management program at Harvard Business School and the executive management program at the University of Michigan.

Bob is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has served as chairman, vice chairman, secretary and publicity chairman of the Dallas section. He was recipient of the Dallas Section Engineer of the Year Award in 1980. He has served on the executive board of the Engineering Construction Division and on the board of directors for the AIChE.

He has received the College of Engineering Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2000 at Kansas State University. He was inducted into the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Hall of Fame at the University of Kansas in 2000.

He spent 38 years in various aspects of the petroleum and petrochemical industry including research and development, plant operations and engineering and construction. He retired from Black & Veatch in 2000 where he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Process Division. During his career he published eight papers and received 16 patents.

Jacob Spence

new member

Cecilia Tapia​

In October 2003, Cecilia Tapia became a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service as the Director of the Superfund Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 (EPA).  The Superfund Program addresses abandoned hazardous waste sites, emergency responses to acute short term risks and focuses on the reuse of properties undergoing cleanup actions.  She currently oversees the Environmental Sciences and Technology Division which provides services designed for the collection, generation, quality assurance and analysis of data for strategic planning and environmental decision-making.

Previously, Cecilia served as the Director of the Region 7 Enforcement Coordination Office which is responsible for coordination of the Regions regulatory programs.   As a manager in the Air, RCRA and Toxics Division she oversaw the RCRA Enforcement and State Programs Branch which included responsibilities in RCRA Enforcement and case development, State Grants, and State Authorization. 

Cecilia joined the Environmental Protection Agency in May 1987 and began her career as a Project Manger in the Superfund Program.

Cecilia attended the University of Kansas and earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1987.

Dominic Varraveto

Mr. Varraveto is currently Chief Process Engineer and Director of Process Technology for Burns & McDonnell Oil, Gas & Chemical Division.  He leads a group of Process Technology Managers that focus on early phase project development and that provide a bridge between technology and process engineering. His previous role was Process and Technology Department Manager responsible for providing process engineering resources for project execution.  Prior to that, Mr. Varraveto was Refinery Process Technology Manager focusing on new and revamped process units and infrastructure to meet Clean Fuels Regulations for gasoline and diesel.  His 38 years of experience includes management, engineering, process development, start up and operations support.  He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas and is a Registered Professional Engineer in California.

Bryn Womack

Bryn Womack is a Process Safety and Regulatory Compliance Engineer for ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, where she provides direction and expertise to the Refinery on regulatory and process safety requirements and emergency response planning.  Over her 10 year career with ExxonMobil, she has had the opportunity to gain a variety of experiences in different areas of the oil business, including operations, engineering, environmental, and safety.  Current and previous assignments with ExxonMobil have allowed Bryn to manage programs and operations related to Environmental release reporting, Environmental regulatory variances, Benzene Waste Operations NESHAPs reporting, HAZWOPER, fireproofing, toxic release emergency response planning, process hazard analysis (PHA), risk management, hydrocarbon storage and transfer processes, catalytic reforming processes, wastewater treatment processes, and safety relief system design.

In addition to the CPE Advisory Board, Bryn has served on the ExxonMobil recruiting team at the University of Kansas for almost 9 years, regularly attending the Engineering Career Fair and SWE Banquet.  Bryn graduated from the University of Kansas in 2007 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and currently lives in Chicago area with her husband, Brandon, and sons, Stratton and Harrison.

Internal Faculty Members

Laurence Weatherley, Department Chair

Laurence Weatherley received his PhD from the University of Cambridge for research on ion exchange kinetics in macroporous resins. He then worked in industry in the United Kingdom as a practicing chemical engineer for six years before joining Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland where he was faculty member in Chemical and Process Engineering. In 1992 he was appointed to an endowed chaired professorship at the Queens University of Belfast, the DuPont Chair of Process Engineering where he took a leadership role as convenor of a $2.5M Clean Technology and Environmental Processes demonstration project as a development of the Queens University Environmental Research and Technology Center. The project was a major vehicle for research and technology transfer between the university and industry. In 1997 the Center won the Queens Award for Innovation in Higher Education in the UK. In 1998 he accepted the position of chaired professor and head of chemical engineering at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He took his current role as chair and Spahr Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kansas, USA in 2004. Dr. Weatherley's research interests are in the area of liquid-liquid systems, process intensification, water treatment and enzymatic biotransformation. He has published over 200 research papers and articles. He is currently Editor of a leading international research journal, the Chemical Engineering Journal where his responsibilities cover the environmental chemical engineering section of the journal. Dr. Weatherley is a chartered professional engineer, is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, United Kingdom, and is a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand.

Shapour Vossoughi, Hall of Fame Chair


  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran
  • Grad. Diploma, Chemical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • MS, Chemical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada


​Kevin Leonard, Board Clerk

The focus of my research group is to advance the fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms, and to leverage that understanding to intelligently design catalysts that utilize emerging feedstocks, specifically water and CO2. There is an immediate need for developing new catalytic conversion technologies with these feedstocks to make petrochemical equivalents. Several of the new technologies will operate in the liquid phase and new experimental tools are needed to provide fundamental insights into catalytic adsorption and surface reaction mechanisms and structure effects. Lack of such tools is impeding the ability to intelligently design the chemical composition and morphology of catalysts. To address this need, my research group is developing novel solution-phase chemical imaging techniques that will produce nano-scale chemical reactivity images and measurements of surface-adsorbed intermediates. This new understanding will be used to predict and synthesize new catalysts with optimum chemical compositions and morphologies for utilizing emerging feedstocks.


Karen Nordheden, faculty representative

My research interests are in the areas of microfabrication, plasma processing, and catalytic reforming. Our current project involves plasma catalysis of two greenhouse gases, methane and carbon dioxide, to produce syngas (H2 and CO) in collaboration with the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC). A major drawback of using a conventional dry reforming catalysis method is the high process temperature, which leads to high energy and equipment costs as well as easier coke formation on the catalyst surface. The integration of non-thermal plasma technology and catalysis is an attractive alternative since it should allow for a reduction in the operating temperature of the reforming reactor. The energetic electrons and active species in the plasma (ionized gas) can stimulate chemical reactions even when the bulk gas is near room temperature. When combined with a catalyst, the hybrid plasma catalysis process can promote reaction pathways to form desired products.


Russ Ostermann, faculty representative

I have worked primarily in the field of petroleum transport properties and phase behavior in the past. Research projects have involved viscosity measurement and prediction, reservoir phase behavior measurement and prediction, and enhanced oil recovery. In particular this work is aimed at understanding the phase behavior and flow properties of complex mixtures of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon/CO2/H2O mixtures in petroleum reservoirs.

There is little difference between this environment and the porous environment encountered in groundwater contamination. In particular,contrasting with bioremediation of groundwater, the transport of nutrients, fuel sources, and cometabolites to bacteria and removal of respiration products are subject to many of the same processes encountered in petroleum applications.

My current work in bioremediation is focused on nutrient and moisture requirements for degradation of highly weathered oil field wastes. We are dealing with surface (landfarming) at this juncture. A field site is available a short drive from the University for our research. We are currently working in the laboratory, and plan on field work in the spring.

Upcoming Events and Deadlines
  • CPE Spring 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony | Saturday, May 8th | Starts @ 2:00PM | Zoom Meeting ID: 948 2295 8118 | Event Flyer | LiveStream available @
  • 2021 Virtual School of Engineering Recognition Ceremony Set for May 15--- KU Engineering will honor graduates from Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 with a special video recognition ceremony that will go live on the School of Engineering YouTube channel on Saturday, May 15
  • Events honoring KU graduates will take place May 16 for the Class of 2021 and May 23 for the Class of 2020 - Learn more @

Upcoming CPE Graduate Defenses

Link to Seminar Page

Engineering Career Accelerator Lecture Series

School of Engineering Events

KU Calendar