Dean McLean announces changes within the college’s senior leadership

David McLean, Dean of the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, recently announced changes within the college’s senior leadership.

The individuals  – Karan Venayagamoorthy, Ken Reardon, Sonia Kreidenweis, and Melissa Burt – lead important aspects of the college. Each will continue work with current and prospective students, engage with faculty and research initiatives, help complete the college’s new strategic plan, and expand the college’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

“Ken, Sonia, Melissa, and Karan are critical to the success of building a bright future for our college,” said McLean. “We want to ensure we have the best plans to serve increasingly diverse undergraduate students, attract top graduate students and continue cutting-edge research that will serve the region, nation and world. I look forward to working closely with each of them.”

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Karan Venayagamoorthy

Professor Karan Venayagamoorthy is the college’s new Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. As Borland Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Venayagamoorthy has received numerous awards and recognitions for his teaching, research, and service activities.

His honors include the Colorado State University Board of Governors’ Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, the François Frenkiel Award for Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society, and the college’s own George T. Abell Outstanding Teacher Award. Venayagamoorthy is also part of the recently formed Center for Ethics and Human Rights at CSU, tackling the most pressing equity and social justice issues with other experts from across disciplines.

He takes over from former Associate Dean Anthony Marchese, who left CSU at the end of December to become the new Dean of Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. 

Research Associate Dean Ken Reardon

Professor Ken Reardon, an accomplished and highly respected researcher, became the new Research Associate Dean for the college at the beginning of January. His appointment comes as previous Research Associate Dean Sonia Kreidenweis takes on a new role for the college.

Reardon is the Jud and Pat Harper Endowed Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, and holds joint appointments in several other science and engineering programs across the university.

He oversees a $5.1 million U.S. Department of Energy interdisciplinary project that offers selected undergraduates a holistic view of research. He also leads a $3.2 million DOE grant working with CSU engineers and biologists to boost algae’s potential as a source of biofuels and other products.

Executive Associate Dean Sonia Kreidenweis

University Distinguished Professor Kreidenweis served as the college’s Research Associate Dean for the last seven years, and has been appointed to a new position as Executive Associate Dean. She will be responsible for development of the college’s new strategic plan, and will also focus on long-term planning for college facilities.

Kreidenweis will continue this spring as the college’s representative to the Graduate Education Council. She will remain the college’s liaison to the new CSU Spur campus in Denver.

Her groundbreaking research as a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science includes being the Deputy Director of the newly-awarded $12.5 million National Science Foundation BROADN project, a five-year study of microbes in the air. BROADN, the Biology Integration Institutes: Regional OneHealth Aerobiome Discovery Network, aims to improve our fundamental understanding of the aerobiome.

Assistant Professor Melissa Burt

In addition to continuing her outstanding leadership of the college’s diversity and inclusion activities and initiatives in her role as the Assistant Dean, Melissa Burt is being appointed as the newest member of the Department of Atmospheric Science faculty. As an assistant professor, she will conduct research and teach classes related to social responsibility, science identity, mentorship, and social justice in STEM, with a particular focus in the atmospheric sciences. She will also continue to support the department’s efforts in recruitment and retention of a diverse graduate student body.

Burt was recognized by Colorado State University in 2021 with the President’s Council on Culture Award, for her efforts to co-create a culture that is inclusive and equitable for all members. The award is given annually to staff, faculty, and units who go above and beyond to effect culture change at the university.

She is also one of the stars of a national climate change advocacy campaign called Science Moms. The campaign features Burt and other scientists narrating slideshows with pictures of themselves, their partners, and their children – and how those relationships spur them to action in their day jobs as climate scientists.