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Phone: 307-766-2379
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UWyo Magazine

September 2014 | Vol. 16, No. 1

Closing the Gap

As the first female full professor in the history of UW’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, Patricia Colberg combines engineering and science to enhance her perspective on technology.

By Sharon Almirall

The University of Wyoming’s first female full professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science began her UW career in the Department of Zoology and Physiology in 1992. She moved to the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering in 2009 and was promoted to the rank of professor in 2013.  “I don’t see the boundaries that separate disciplines,” Patricia Colberg says.

Originally from Fargo, N.D., Colberg holds dual citizenship in the United States and Switzerland. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in science and mathematics from North Dakota State University, a master’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Idaho and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Stanford University. Colberg is a registered professional engineer in Wyoming, and her research is focused primarily on microbial transformations of environmental contaminants in groundwater.

In addition to offering graduate courses on remediation of hazardous waste sites and environmental microbiology, Colberg teaches an introductory course in environmental engineering, a course on design of wastewater treatment facilities and the capstone design course in environmental engineering. “I love my job—no day is quite the same as the one before,” Colberg says.

Mentoring fellow faculty: Colberg serves as mentoring champion for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, organizing panel discussions each semester for pre-tenure and pre-extended term faculty.

“Our mentoring program has been a big success. We’ve talked about why lecturing is perhaps not the best way to teach, how to develop a sustainable research program and other topics related to early career development. We want our faculty members to succeed at UW,” Colberg says.

As an IDEAL Senior Scholar with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), Colberg travels to other universities to facilitate workshops on program assessment. She also serves as one of two assessment scholars for UW’s University Studies Program.

John Oakey, an assistant professor in UW’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, says, “There is very little that Patricia has not experienced in academia, and she is generous with her time and wisdom.”

Ensuring student success: As a teacher, Colberg incorporates discussions, design and case studies into her courses. In her wastewater course, students work in teams on projects that vary from designing a facility that accepts brewery wastes to treating wastewater that will be injected into groundwater wells for potable reuse. She says, “My goal is to give students a better sense of what contemporary problems environmental engineers need to solve and help them be more competitive for jobs.”

Professor Patricia Colberg

Patricia Colberg
“I love my job—no day is quite the same as the one before,” Patricia Colberg says. Colberg is UW’s first female full professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming

About UWyo

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UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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