Domenico Grasso, PhD, PE, DEE
Vice President for Research and
Dean of the Graduate College
Dr. Domenico Grasso is the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont (UVM). Prior to holding this position, he was the Dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) at UVM. He holds a B.Sc. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from The University of Michigan. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Connecticut and Texas, and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.
How to get across the idea to a group of college sophomores that, thousands of years before Steve Jobs launched Apple Computer, humans were capable of technological innovation and brilliance? In an Honors College course called Ancient Inventions taught by Domenico Grasso, students learn the old-fashioned way: by actually building the machines of the ancient world -- with only a book of illustrations to guide them.
This video was featured on Science360 in August 2012. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Science360 is an up-to-date view of breaking science news from around the world.
Professor Grasso is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Engineering Science, and has served as Associate Editor of Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, Vice-Chair of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board and President of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. He was appointed by Vermont Governor James Douglas to Chair the Vermont Environment and Engineering Advisory Council. He has authored more than 100 technical papers and reports, including four chapters and two books. Federal, state and industrial organizations have supported his research work. He has served on advisory boards at Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, WPI, and the National Academy of Engineering.
Prior to joining UVM, Professor Grasso was Rosemary Bradford Hewlett Professor and Founding Director of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College, the first engineering program at a women's college in the United States, and Professor and Head of Department in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He has been a Visiting Scholar at UC-Berkeley, a NATO Fellow, and an Invited Technical Expert to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, Austria.
In 1998, Professor Grasso served on a World Bankfunded international
team of scholars that established the first environmental engineering program
in Argentina. In 2000, the Water Environment Federation named him a "Pioneer
in Disinfection." He chaired a U.S. Congressional briefing entitled
"Genomes & Nanotechnology: The Future of Environmental Research."
In addition, Professor Grasso was co-founder along with Dr. Sally Ride, the
first American woman astronaut, of TOYChallenge a national toy design
challenge for 5th to 8th graders to excite them about science, engineering and
the design process in a fun, creative and collaborative manner, relevant to
An Advocate for the Environment
Dr. Grasso is an environmental engineer who studies the ultimate fate of contaminants in the environment and develops new techniques to reduce the risks associated with these contaminants to human health or natural resources. His research focuses on molecular-scale processes that underlie nature and the behavior of contaminants in environmental systems. He views engineering as a bridge between science and humanity, making it particularly well suited for incorporation into liberal arts universities. His classes, although technically rigorous, also explore the societal and philosophical issues facing engineers and scientists. He has authored a number of essays that have helped better define engineering for the 21st century. The most influential of these is "Holistic Engineering."
On a Personal Note
Professor Grasso, his wife Susan Hull Grasso (also an engineer) and their children Benjamin, Jacob, Elspeth and Caitlin enjoy hiking, camping and a variety of musical and athletic activities.