South Hill TCE Research Participants

Participants are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

M. Ekrem Cakmak - After getting a BS degree in Environmental Engineering from Mersin University (Turkey) in 2002, M. Ekrem Cakmak received a MS degree from the Department of Environmental Engineering at Cukurova University (Turkey) in 2004. From there Ekrem was admitted as a PhD student in Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University in Jan 2005. At Cornell, Ekrem is studying in the Soil and Water Laboratory under Tammo Steenhuis. Previously he was employed as a research assistant beginning in Dec 2003 and has been supported since Jan 2005 by Cukurova University. After completing PhD program Ekrem will return to Cukurova University. Contact: Web:

Larry Cathles joined the Cornell faculty as Professor in 1987, having worked at Kennecott’s Ledgemont Research Laboratory, Penn State University, and Chevron Oil Field Research. His main focus of research is the organic and inorganic chemical interactions associated with natural fluid. Recent topics considered include defining current natural hydrocarbon fluxes, capillary and dynamic controls on permeability, physical-chemical aspects of hydrate deposition and dissolution, and the rapid controlled venting of volatiles from intrusions. Cathles is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of several professional societies. He has served on committees of the National Research Council and is a past associate editor of Economic Geology. In 1985 he won the Extractive Metallurgy Science Award of the Metallurgical Society of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers. He has taught Ground Water Hydrology with Steenhuis and others since 1987.

Ken Deschere has been a resident of Ithaca since 1967, and has lived on South Hill Terrace since 1981. Ken received his BA in Applied Mathematics (Computer Science) from Cornell in 1971 and specializes in design and maintenance of database systems for international health insurance administration. He is Vice President of International Educational Exchange Services. He and Regina have two sons, Jonathan and Brian.

Rachel Dunn got her master's degree in Chemical Engineering at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand and her bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. She recently joined Cornell's Biological and Environmental Engineering department to study watershed management both in Ithaca and in Thailand.

James W. Gillett (Ph.D. Biochemistry, UC-Berkeley; BS, Chemistry, Kansas) came to Cornell University in 1983 from the USEPA Corvallis Environmental Research Laboratory and the Environmental Health Sciences Center at Oregon State University to start an ecotoxicology program concentrating on exposure to pesticides, hazardous wastes, and toxic chemicals. He was the director of Cornell's Institute for Comparative & Environmental Toxicology (`86-`92) and headed the Cornell Superfund Basic Research Program (`93-`02) which emphasized work on volatile organics, PCBs, and lead. Recent efforts have expanded physical, mathematical and conceptual modeling of exposure assessment in ecosystems to risk analysis, management and communication more broadly. This has led to long-term efforts with the Mohawks at Akwesasne on the St. Lawrence and assisting citizens adjacent to superfund sites, such as the Elmira Southside High School and Seneca Army Depot.

Adrian Harpold is a Ph.D. student working for Dr. Tammo Steenhuis in the Biological and Environmental Engineering Department at Cornell University. Adrian's interests center around Land and Water Engineering related to nonpoint source pollution, physical hydrology, public policy, and soil and water conservation in developing countries. Adrian has a B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech in Biological Systems Engineering. His Ph.D. work will look at developing travel time estimations using chemical signatures in watersheds in the Catskills, NY. Adrian is from Seattle Washington, but has lived in Winston-Salem, NC, Blacksburg, VA, and Logan UT.

Veronica Morales is a first year M.Sc./PhD student in the department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, working under the supervision of Dr. Tammo Steenhuis. She finished a B.S. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004 in the field of Environmental Science, Hydrology. Her research interests include the transport and fate of pollutants in the subsurface. In the past, Veronica has worked on other TCE research projects through the University of California, Davis on the Evaluation of Field Methods for Measuring Contaminant Mass Discharge in Flowing Aquifers at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Rachel Shannon received her B.A. in geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May of 2002. During her undergraduate, she had the opportunity to work in a variety of geological applications. Most of her time was spent in a geophysics lab as part of a larger project to develop a new method to detect the movement of contaminant plumes (such as TCE) through the ground. She was also involved in some shorter-term projects she did mostly for fun: one summer she spent hiking and mapping the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, and during her senior year she worked in an isotope geochemistry lab age-dating rocks and archaeological artifacts. After graduation, she went to work as a geologist for a company that makes software used by oil companies to help locate and evaluate oil reserves. After two years there, she came to Cornell for her Master's degree. With Larry Cathles, her adviser, she is studying the source of a large copper deposit in Montana. Rachel will graduate in the summer of 2006.

Brianne Smith is a junior in the School of Engineering at Cornell University. She is majoring in biological engineering as well as environmental engineering. Brianne is a co-op employee at Merck & Co. and plans to begin work on a Masters of Engineering degree in the spring of 2007.
Jennifer Smith is a Master of Science student at Cornell University in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. She is graduating from the Environmental Engineering program, with a minor in Risk Assessment, Communication and Policy. Her undergraduate degree was from the University of Idaho, in Biological Systems Engineering with an Environmental Engineering emphasis and a minor in Mathematics. She will be working at a consulting firm starting this summer in Seattle, WA

Ian Toevs is currently finishing his Master of Science degree at Cornell University in the Biological and Environmental Engineering department with an emphasis in Soil and Water Engineering and studying under Tammo Steenhuis. Ian received his BS degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Idaho in 2004 with a minor in Outdoor Recreation Leadership. Ian will start work in the summer of 2006 at Barton and Loguidice, P.C. in Syracuse as an environmental engineer and geohydrologist.

Tammo Steenhuis is Professor of Water Management in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. He runs a group of 20 graduate students, 3 research associates and one post doctoral assistant and is an expert in the transport of water and chemicals in the landscape. He is concerned with determining the best methods of managing soil and water resources and landscape processes in both the USA and developing countries by better understanding of the complex interrelations among morphology, water flow, plant growth, and fertility. His group’s findings are incorporated in models that require only easily available data. Research proceeds from basic processes to fundamental and universally applicable solutions to engineering design problems in water management and pollution control. Current projects concern the movement and fate of pathogens, metals, pesticides and phosphorus in the Catskills, Ethiopia, Mali and Ghana.