Theresa Thompson named Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ‘56 Faculty Fellow

Theresa Thompson, associate professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellowship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Elizabeth and James Turner created the Turner Fellowships in 2011 with a $1 million gift to recognize faculty excellence. James Turner is a 1956 agricultural engineering alumnus who is the retired president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics. He is also a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, and in 2004 received Virginia Tech’s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Recipients hold the title of Turner Fellows for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2004, Thompson has developed a leading research and teaching program in ecological engineering with a focus on stream and wetland systems.

Her research focuses on determining fundamental processes in streams and wetlands and using that knowledge to develop methods and tools to improve stream and wetland restoration design, or restoring lost ecological services to society. She has received several external grants to support her research, and she has published numerous papers and given several keynote invited presentations on her work at national and international conferences.

Thompson has served as president of the American Ecological Engineering Society. As a member of the Stream Restoration Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers, she co-authored a paper that defines the body of knowledge required for any professional practicing stream restoration design.

She brings her prior work experience and research to the classroom and emphasizes “real world” problems and hands-on experiences.

Thompson is the assistant department head for undergraduate studies and oversees all aspects of the educational program. Student enrollment has tripled under her leadership.

She received her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech and a master¹s degree from North Carolina State University.

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