Donna Rizzo Inducted into the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences

Donna Rizzo, PhD speaks after being inducted to the VAAS on September 17, 2016.

Donna Rizzo, PhD speaks after being inducted to the VAAS on September 17, 2016.

Professor and Vermont EPSCoR researcher earns recognition for service in the field of arts and science.

September 20, 2016

Donna Rizzo, PhD, a Professor at the University of Vermont (UVM) and faculty researcher with Vermont EPSCoR, was inducted into the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences (VAAS) on Saturday, September 17th.

VAAS reported that “Dr. Rizzo was nominated because of the quality of her teaching and service as evidenced by all of the awards she has received at UVM. The Trustees were also excited to hear about her research, particularly her work on the problem of pollution in ground water. Her nominator mentioned that she is “…a superb teacher and mentor, inspiring many students, especially women, to carry on careers in engineering” and that “[she is] a critical part of Vermont EPSCoR that is focusing its attention on the health of Lake Champlain.”

Dr. Rizzo has performed research focused on the development of new computational tools that are designed to help understand the full impact of human-induced climate change on Vermont’s natural systems. She has served as a faculty member in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) at UVM since 2002, where she has worked on a number of different computational approaches to environmental problems.

Created in 1965, the VAAS is designed to foster a greater participation in both the arts and the world of science in the state of Vermont. Prior to her appointment at UVM, Dr. Rizzo taught English to children in Germany and received her Masters of Fine Art in Studio Art at the University of Florence in Italy. On the science side of things, she received a BS in civil engineering and a Master’s degree in the field before becoming the first graduate of the Civil & Environmental Engineering PhD program at UVM.

Several distinguished members of the UVM community were also present for Dr. Rizzo’s induction, including Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, PhD, the Chair of the Department of Geography and Judith Van Houten, VT State EPSCoR Director and University Distinguished Professor. Dr. Dupigny-Giroux introduced Susan Wallace, PhD, the Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UVM, who was also inducted into VAAS.

VAAS Fellows must have made an extraordinary contribution to the arts, humanities, science, or teaching, per the organization’s guidelines. These contributions must have a demonstrable impact on life within the state of Vermont.

For more information about VAAS, please visit