Carnegie Mellon University

Catherine Peters Headshot

December 15, 2020

Peters Named CEE’s Distinguished Alumni

During CEE’s 2020 Alumni Awards reception, Catherine Peters (CE ’90 and '92) was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes CEE alumni who have one or more major achievements that have improved the work of professional engineers or have improved people’s lives in some way.

Peters is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University and has earned both national and international distinction as an educator, researcher, and professional leader.

Her research in environmental engineering and sustainable energy technologies is focused on greenhouse gas mitigation through geological carbon sequestration—founded on environmental chemistry, geochemistry, mineralogy, and engineering.

Dave Dzombak, Hamerschlag University Professor and CEE department head, added that Peters participates in numerous professional societies, including the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Board of Directors—serving as Vice President, President, and Past President. She’s also Deputy Editor of the AEESP journal Environmental Engineering Science.

“Dr. Peters has exhibited outstanding leadership and impactful contributions to our profession—we are pleased to recognize her with the 2020 CEE Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Dzombak.

While accepting the award at the online ceremony, Peters mentioned that she invited friends and family from across the world to tune in. “At CEE, I spent my most important years that shaped me to be the person, researcher, and educator that I am today.” She stated that she’s proud to recommend CEE to her students at Princeton and noted that many of them went on to CEE—and were present for the evening’s virtual alumni awards presentation.

Peters recalled how technology has changed throughout her career, shaping her role as an educator. “When I started, I was the keeper of the knowledge and I decided what knowledge to transfer to my student. Now, students have easy access to information and can gain knowledge. My job now is to help them interpret and sort through all of that information.”

Peters has earned awards from the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She’s also been invited to serve on advisory panels for the EPA, Department of Energy, and National Research Council.