Kelly Pennell, Gill Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and director of the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Center, has received a 2021 College of Engineering Excellence in Research Award.
Kelly Pennell is an internationally recognized expert on chemical transport in the environment and stakeholder engagement. In July 2020, Pennell was named the director of the UK Superfund Research Center (UKSRC) after serving as the assistant director for four years. She also served as the acting director of the Kentucky Water Resources and Research Institute and the acting director of the Tracy Farmer Institute of Sustainability and the Environment. As director of UKSRC, Pennell’s research integrates disciplinary expertise from engineering, biomedical sciences and public health to achieve research, diverse training and stakeholder engagement objectives around a common theme: reducing health risks posed by environmental contaminants in vulnerable communities. Throughout Pennell’s career, she has contributed to $50 million in collaborative research projects. She has executed $3.4 million of direct-controlled research, including funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Pennell’s research is published in scientifically rigorous journals and has also gained wider attention by being featured in news media, including the New York Times and National Public Radio. Her research has informed international, federal and state science-based policy decisions that aim to reduce exposure risks associated with toxic chemicals in communities.