Carolyn Rodak named inaugural chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Publication Date

Carolyn Rodak will be the inaugural chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She joins Union Sept. 1, and will also serve as an associate professor in the department.

The College recently restored its civil engineering major and added a new environmental engineering major.

Carolyn Rodak

Carolyn Rodak

Rodak is currently an associate professor of civil engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2015. Her research, supported by grants from the New York State Water Resource Institute, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Groundwater Association, has focused on the impact of infrastructure on water resources.

This research, in fact, is part of the reason she was drawn to Union.

“My research, which has focused on water quality in the Mohawk River, has given me the opportunity to connect with some of the Union College community. One of those opportunities was serving as a co-chair of the Mohawk Watershed Symposium held annually at Union,” Rodak said. “Coupled with my passion for undergraduate education and interdisciplinary collaborations, Union stood out as a great fit for me both personally and professionally.”

Rodak is an award-winning teacher who has offered a wide range of courses, including introduction to engineering, statics, fluid mechanics, environmental engineering, hydrology and stormwater management, groundwater hydrology, and water and wastewater unit design.

Outside of the classroom, Rodak has been a longtime adviser to the American Society of Civil Engineers and Women in Engineering clubs. Her administrative experience includes service as coordinator for the civil engineering and engineering science programs and chair of SUNY Poly’s summer undergraduate research program. Her time at SUNY Poly corresponds with the establishment of its civil engineering program, as well as the program’s first ABET accreditation.

“Carolyn’s background positions her extremely well to lead the implementation of civil and environmental engineering at Union,” said Michele Angrist, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Rodak, for her part, is excited about what lies ahead.

“There are so many things to look forward to as I join Union,” she said. “I believe strongly in the values of a rigorous education that empowers students to think critically, sustainably and inclusively toward making the world a better place. So does Union.”

“The launch of the new Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is also an incredible opportunity to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on engineering and build intentional connections with the liberal arts,” Rodak continued. “Having been a part of a new civil engineering program before, there is nothing more exciting than watching our first graduates receive their degrees. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to join Union and chair this new department.”

Rodak earned her B.S. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Notre Dame.