Dr. Allyson McGaughey, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Allyson McGaughey



Assistant Professor



Gerald May Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering


Describe your research in about 200 words.

To mitigate and adapt to climate change, freshwater scarcity, and increasing environmental degradation, we must achieve a circular water economy and, at the same time, confront new (and newly recognized) contaminants. Advanced separation processes are necessary to achieve these goals – enabling sustainable extraction of water and other critical resources, and separation or degradation of challenging pollutants. My research focuses on developing and leveraging understanding of interfacial mechanisms and materials in physicochemical separation processes for water reuse, resource recovery, and environmental remediation. By integrating fundamental understanding with applied engineering, we can develop new ways to leverage increasingly complex waste streams and address emerging and future contaminants.


What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?

One summer, I worked with an NSF REU student who planned to pursue an MD-PhD – but first, wanted some experience in materials science. It didn’t seem like an obvious fit, but as we developed the project, we found overlaps in the functionality of the materials we were working on for water treatment, and materials used for biomedical devices. Finding this common ground across seemingly distant fields showed me the opportunity and value in interdisciplinary engineering research.