Iowa Engineering Distinguished Speaker Lilia A. Abron - Thursday, March 11

Join the College of Engineering as we welcome our 2nd Iowa Engineering Distinguished Speaker, Lilia Abron, for a day of roundtable discussions and a seminar focused on her academic journey and the role of environmental engineering in solving global challenges

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In 1971, Lilia A. Abron was the first African-American woman in the nation, and the third woman at the UI, to receive a doctorate in chemical engineering. She would go on to become the founder and CEO of PEER Consultants, PC, an environmental consulting firm headquartered in Washington DC. The firm has grown to include branch offices in 10 major cities throughout the United States.

Beyond her work at PEER, Abron has been active in a number of community organizations, including serving as president of the Washington DC chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and as a board member for the Baptist Home for Children. She is also the president and founder of PEER Africa (Pty) Ltd., an innovative design-build, sustainable development company with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

Abron is a member of several professional and technical societies, including the Water Environmental Federation, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association, the Society of Sigma Xi, and the American Association of University Women. She also served on the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers for the District of Columbia and the Engineering Advisory Board for the National Science Foundation.

She has served on the College's Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department. Abron is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and received the UI Hancher-Finkbine Alumni Medallion in 1999. In 2004, Abron was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2020, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for “leadership in providing technology-driven sustainable housing and environmental engineering solutions in the United States and South Africa.”

Event Schedule: Thursday, March 11, 2021

9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - Coffee Break: A Personal Journey

Dr. Abron was the first Black woman to be awarded a PhD in Chemical Engineering in the U.S., and Dean Nembhard will ask her to share her story with us.

12 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Brown Bag Lunch: Engaging the community on social justice

An open group discussion on how we can prepare ourselves and our discipline in service of the common good

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Keynote Conversation: Dr. Lilia Abron and Dr. Jerald Schnoor

These two distinguished NAE members will talk about the role of environmental engineering in solving challenging problems as well as the need to engage at the policy level.

Lilia A. Abron, Ph.D. portrait