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Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis

Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis

Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis

Affiliate Faculty
(217) 265-7646
3230a Newmark Civil Engineering Bldg

Education

  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC),1996
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 1993
  • M.A., Geography University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1990
  • Diploma Surveying and Land Engineering (graduated 1st in her class), National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece, 1985

Biography

Dr. Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis holds a Diploma degree in Civil-Surveying Engineering (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), a M.A. in Geography (University of California, Los Angeles), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Air Quality, Science and Environmental Policy, and Engineering Risk and Uncertainty.

An air quality researcher, Dr. Koloutsou-Vakakis has worked on the policy-making aspects of climate change and ozone layer protection. In 1997, she held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in 1998-1999 she was a NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellow at the University of Athens, Greece.

Academic Positions

  • - Research Assistant University of California, Los Angeles, 9/1987 to 6/1988
  • - Teaching Assistant, University of California, Los Angeles, 9/1988 to 6/1990
  • - Teaching Assistant, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 9/1992 to 12/1992
  • - Research Assistant, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 8/1990 to 2/1996
  • - Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 3/1996 to 12/1997
  • - Postdoctoral NSF-NATO Fellow, National University of Athens, Division of Applied Physics, 10/1998 to 01/2000
  • - Research Scientist and Lecturer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 1/16/2009 to date

Other Professional Employment

  • - Consultant, Surveying, Transportation Engineering, Land Cadastre 5/1985 to 6/1987
  • - Consultant, National Observatory of Athens, 2/2000 to 6/2001
  • - Special Scientific Advisor (air quality, climate change, ozone layer), Ministry for the Environment, Regional Planning and Public Works, Greece, 7/2001 to 7/2008

Major Consulting Activities

  • - National Expert for implementation of Directives 53/2000 ? End-of-Life Vehicles and 2000/76 ? Waste Incineration.
  • - National Expert for the compilation of Best Reference (BREF) documents of Directive 96/61/EΚ (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) for (a) waste incineration and (b) waste treatment.
  • - Coordinator of the Kyoto Mechanisms Expert Group of the EU during the latest Greek Presidency of the EU (1st semester of 2003).
  • - National Expert on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions trading during the latest Greek Presidency of the EU (1st semester of 2003).
  • - Evaluator for the program MICE (Modeling Impacts of Climate Extremes) of the EU
  • - Evaluator for the program OSCAR (Optimized Expert System for Conducting Environmental Assessment of Urban Road Traffic).
  • - Member of Working Group CEN/TC 264/WG 15 that developed the European standard EN 14907 for PM 2.5 sampling and continues for revising the existing standard EN 12341 for PM10 sampling.
  • - National Expert, Workshop on ?Review of Methods for Monitoring of PM2.5 and PM10?, WHO, Berlin,Germany, Dec. 10-11, 2004.
  • - National Expert for the Preparation of Regulation 842/2006 ?on Certain Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases?.
  • - Member of the Regulatory Committee of Regulation 842/2006 of the EU ?on Certain Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases"
  • - Member of the Advisory Committee for the Review of Regulation 2037/2000.
  • - Member of the Ozone Management Committee of Regulation 2037/2000 of the EU on substances that destroy the ozone layer.
  • - Delegate and focal point for Greece to the Montreal Protocol (2006-2008)
  • -Delegate for Greece at United Nations Conference on Climate Change (2003-2004)

Teaching Statement

I am teaching:

CEE202-Engineering Risk and Uncertainty;

CEE445-Air Quality Modeling;

CEE438-Science and Environment Policy.

In the sophomore level class, the focus is on building the quantitative foundations of the students. The flipped classroom model is used to induce active, continuous student engagement with the class. R was introduced to support understanding and deep learning through simulation. A team project was introduced to provide experience working with real data and promote teamwork, writing and leadership skills. For the senior/graduate level, I design my classes so that they combine rigorous coverage of the fundamental scientific principles, with challenging the students to address real world questions through research and teamwork. For these classes, development of independent critical thinking and communication skills are encouraged through projects that are guided but not over-prescribed, to allow students to explore different solutions by developing and using quantitative tools and critically interpreting their outputs, given the assumptions, input data quality and degree of simplification of the numerical tools. I believe that engineers should have a strong mathematical and scientific background but also the ability to use these skills to solve problems in different technical and societal contexts, as well as the ability to effectively communicate the results and meaning of their work orally and in writing.

I also develop and teach modules for K-12 outreach,such as those of the Environmental and Sustainability GAMES camp, which I initiated and co-organize since 2012. These are short modules where the goal is to inform and inspire pre-college students about the role of mathematcis, science and engineering in protecting the Environment and promoting Sustainability. My approach is to develop hands on activities that lead the students through asking and answering questions, while building an air pollutant measurement or cleaning apparatus or using simple mathematical and computational tools, depending on their class grade.

Course Development

  • CEE 438 Science and Environmental Policy
  • CEE 498 MEA Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Other Undergraduate Advising Activities

  • Developed the NEW Environmental Engineering camp for female high school students, that was offered for the first time in Summer 2012, as one of the Girls Adventures with Mathematics, Engineering and Science (G.A.M.E.S.) camps organized by the Women in Engineering Program. The camp has been offered annually since then, to date, currently named WYSE, female track.

Research Statement

My main research interest is to study land-atmosphere interactions with emphasis on impacts to air quality and climate change. My goal has been to develop the infrastructure and experience base to enable both measurements of trace gases and modelling using chemical transport models. Obtaining funding by NSF for an ongoing project relating to quantification of trace gas fluxes from agriculture, has made it feasible to move along with this long term goal.

A new project funded by USDA aims to investigate effects of agricultural management practices on soil microbial community dynamics and emissions of nitrous oxide and ammonia to the atmosphere.

As a result of persistent work, a full scale air quality modeling platform (not available before at UIUC) has been built on the engineering college cluster, including state of the art weather, emissions and regional 3-D chemical transport model, while a biogeochemical model was adapted for the Linux platform to enable its integration with the emissions model. The modeling system remains fully functional.

Research Interests

  • air quality, aerosol particles, trace gases in the atmosphere, nitrogen cycle, atmosphere-land exchange, air pollution monitoring and control, environmental policy, global environmental politics

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • W Nelson A. J., Vieira-de-Silva M., Lehmann C., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., and Rood M.J., ?Quantifying Bi-Directional Ammonia Flux from Managed Cropland by Relaxed Eddy Accumulation?, Poster presented at 2014 NADP Fall meeting, Indianapolis, IN.
  • W Fu K., Balasubramanian S., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., McFarland M. and Rood M.J., ?Preliminary Results from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model over Midwest USA?. Presented at 2014 NADP Fall meeting, Indianapolis, IN.
  • W Balasubramanian, S., Koloutsou-Vakakis, S., Wang, M., Xiong, Y. and Rood, M.J. ?Increasing Spatial and Temporal Resolution of Gaseous Ammonia Emissions from Agricultural Chemical Fertilizer Usage?. Poster presented at 2014 Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium, National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Indianapolis, Indiana, October 2014. 8. Nelson A. J., Vieira-de-Silva M., Lehmann C., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., and Rood M.J., ?Quantifying Bi-Directional Ammonia Flux from Managed Cropland by Relaxed Eddy Accumulation?, Poster presented at 2014 NADP Fall meeting, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Sibble D., Caldwell J., Caillaud T., Johnson E., Saylor R, Heuer M., Nelson A., Rood M.J., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., Myles L. Estimating Atmospheric NH3 Exchange in the Midwestern U.S. using SURFATM-NH3. Abstract ID# 26042, 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Caldwell J., Sibble D., Heuer M., Nelson A.J., Johnson E., M.J. Rood, Koloutsou-Vakakis S., Myles L., ?Application of cavity-ring down spectroscopy to quantify NH3 fluxes from fertilizer application in the Midwest US?. Abstract ID# 23715, 2014 AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • W Balasubramanian S. and Koloutsou-Vakakis S. ?Preliminary Outcomes from a Week-Long Environmental Engineering Summer Camp for High School Female Students. Abstract ID #17531; Final ED31B-3435, AGU 2014 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California, December 2014.
  • !W Balasubramanian S., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., and Rood M.J. ?Quantifying Uncertainty in Daily Temporal Variations of Atmospheric NH3 Emissions Following Application of Chemical Fertilizers?. Abstract ID# 17370, AGU 2014 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California, December 2014.
  • !W Nelson A.J., Vieira-Filho M.S., Heuer M., Lehmann C., Myles L., Koloutsou-Vakakis S., and Rood M.J. ?Measurement of Bi-Directional Ammonia Exchange Above a Maize Canopy in the Midwestern US?. Abstract ID# 22929, 2014 Fall AGU meeting, San Francisco, CA
  • Myles L., Koloutsou‐Vakakis S., Lehmann C., Saylor R., Heuer M., Sibble D., Caldwell J., Balasubramanian S., Nelson A.J., Rood M.J., Bernacchi C. ?NH3 Emission from Fertilizer Application: A Collaborative Study in the Midwestern US?. Abstract ID# 24102, B12C-02, 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • W Balasubramanian S.; Wang M.; Koloutsou-Vakakis S.; Rood M. J., AWMA 107th Annual Conference and Convention, Long Beach, CA, USA, 2014.
  • W Yuen W.; Koloutsou-Vakakis S.; Rood M. J.; Mattison K., Measurement of Plume Opacity using Smartphones and the Digital Optical Method (DOM, Paper # 12336, prepared for submission as proceedings paper for the AWMA 106th Annual Conference and Convention, Chicago, IL, USA, 2013.
  • W Balasubramanian S.; Koloutsou-Vakakis S.; Rood M. J., Identifying Spatial Heterogeneity in Ammonia Emissions from Agricultural Fertilization, Paper # 12549, prepared for submission as a proceedings paper for the AWMA 106th Annual Conference and Convention, Chicago, IL, USA, 2013.
  • W Yuen W.; Johnsen D. L.; Koloutsou-Vakakis S.; Rood M. J.; Kim B. J.; Kemme M. R., Open Burning and Open Detonation PM10 Mass Emission Factor Measurements with Optical Remote Sensing, Paper 2012-A-61-AWMA, AWMA 105th Annual Conference and Convention, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2012, pp. 11.
  • !Sapsis T; Koloutsou-Vakakis S.; Rood M.J.; Kim B. J.; Kemme M.R., Fugitive Dust Dispersion using LIDAR measurements and a stichastic Lagrangian Model, 103rd AWMA Annual Conference, June 2010, Calgary, Canada.

Invited Lectures

  • "The Making of a Successful Multilateral Environmental Agreement:Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol"
  • ?Quantifying emissions of primary fugitive PM and secondary PM precursors?

Professional Societies

  • Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA), Platform Paper Awards, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Member: Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA); American Geophysical Union (AGU); American Society for Engineering Education; Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (affiliate); Hellenic Association for Aerosol Research (HAAR); Technical Chamber of Greece (TCG)
  • Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA), Ph.D. and M.S. Thesis Award Committee, 2010, 2011

Service on Department Committees

  • CEE/EES group graduate admissions committee

Service on Campus Committees

  • Coaching Fulbright Applicants, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • I-PROMISE mentor to Sally Szeto, 2013-2014 Chibuihe Asonye, 2014-2015

Other Outside Service

  • Speaker on air quality issues at college student annual meetings in Athens, Greece, 2004-2005.
  • Consulting (voluntary) for environmental projects in schools in the greater Athens, area, Greece 2006-2007.
  • Committee for the Environment, Greek Standardization Organization (ΕLΟΤ).
  • 3rd European Community Support Program (2003-2007), COMPETITION - ?Human Networks forResearch and Technological Education?, Thematic Area: ?Land, Atmospheric Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Development, General Secretariat for Research and Technology, 2003 (member of evaluation committee).
  • 3rd European Community Support Program (2003-2007), ENVIRONMENT: ?Global Environmental Problems, Climate Change and Protection of the Ozone Layer ? Project 4: Revision of the 2nd National Program for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?, Ministry for the Environment, Greece, 2006-2007 (member of supervising and evaluation committee).
  • 3rd European Community Support Program (2003-2007), ENVIRONMENT: ?Global Environmental Problems, Climate Change and Protection of the Ozone Layer ? Project 2: Fulfilling the obligations that arise from the Montreal Protocol and EU Regulation 2037/2000 for the substances that the destroy the ozone layer?, Ministry for the Environment, Greece, 2003-2007 (member of supervising and evaluation committee).
  • 3rd European Community Support Program (2003-2007), ENVIRONMENT: ?Global Environmental Problems, Climate Change and Protection of the Ozone Layer ? Project 1: Fulfilling the obligations that arise from the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol?, Ministry for the Environment, Greece, 2003-2007 (member of supervising and evaluation committee).
  • 3rd European Community Support Program (2003-2007), ENVIRONMENT: ?Systematic Monitoring of the vertical distribution of ozone over Greece, according to the Vienna Convention?, Ministry for the Environment, Greece, 2004-2006 (member of supervising and evaluation committee).

Honors

  • American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists , ?2013 Grand Prize University Research (2013)

Teaching Honors

  • List of Excellent Teachers, UIUC, Fall 2009, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018

Research Honors

  • -Air and Waste Management Association, Graduate Fellowship, 1993
  • -NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellowship 1998-1999

Courses Taught

  • ATMS 425 - Air Quality Modeling
  • CEE 202 - Engineering Risk & Uncertainty
  • CEE 438 - Science & Environmental Policy
  • CEE 445 - Air Quality Modeling