By Edwin B. Smith
University of Mississippi
Cristiane Surbeck, chair and professor of civil engineering at the University of Mississippi, has been named Engineer of the Year by the Mississippi section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Surbeck is a published author and part of the team completing research on green stormwater infrastructure funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. She was president of the ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute and featured earlier this year as the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors August 2021 Engineer Spotlight.
She has been licensed in the state since 2012.
“It’s an honor and humbling that a former student who graduated 10 years ago thought about me and my work and went through the effort to nominate me for the award,” Surbeck said.
“I think most of us go through our days, months and years working hard and trying to make a difference. But winning an award for all these efforts tells you you’re on the right track and that people feel the impact of your work. I really treasure this award.”
Surbeck was nominated by Matthew Hosey, a former student and Ole Miss graduate. Hosey is project manager for the Jackson County Board of Supervisors and a former officer of the Mississippi section of ASCE.
“Her work in academia has included sustainability evaluations of water bodies, pollutant transport in surface waters and engineering education,” Hosey wrote in his nomination letter for Surbeck. “As part of her doctoral research, she determined sources of pathogens in urban rivers in Southern California through field and laboratory studies.
“She has been the faculty adviser of the UM chapters of Chi Epsilon and Engineers Without Borders. For EWB, she has led projects in a rural village in Togo. She is the recipient of three UM School of Engineering awards: Junior Faculty Research in 2014, Excellence in Teaching in 2010 and Faculty Service in 2015.”
Surbeck earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland and her master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental engineering from the University of California at Irvine.
A member of the Ole Miss faculty since 2007, Surbeck is a former associate dean of the School of Engineering.
She said her favorite part of teaching is giving her students a sense of what the working world is like for engineers.
“I really try to do things in the classroom that will help them once they become full-time engineers,” she said.