JoAnn Slama Lighty is currently Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering. She has held the position of Chair since January 2007. Prior to this, she was founding Director of the Institute for Combustion and Energy Systems (now the Institute for Clean and Secure Energy) from 2004-2007; Associate Dean for Academics for the College of Engineering, 1997-2004; and, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering in 1998. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and spent six months at the University of Cambridge, UK, as a By-Fellow of Churchill College. Her recognitions for contributions to education and research include: YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award (2006); University of Utah Diversity Award (2005); Distinguished Engineering Educator Award, Society of Women Engineers (2004); Linda Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women, University of Utah (2002); Utah Engineering Educator of the Year, Utah Engineering Council (2001); and, the NSF, Presidential Young Investigator Award (1990).
As Chair, she has completed a major Projects Laboratory Renovation, created an Industrial Advisory Board for the department, and continues to establish key connections with industry and alumni. During her years as Associate Dean, she implemented several outreach events which are still active, namely HiGEAR (High School Girls Engineering Abilities Realized) and Elementary Engineering Week. Since becoming a faculty member in 1988, she has been PI or co-PI on almost $12.9 million in research funding, resulting in 57 peer-reviewed publications and 135 presentations. Her current research focus in on the formation of fine and ultra-fine particles from coal combustion and liquid fuels, namely soot; chemical looping combustion, a technology for carbon capture; and, the impact of fine and ultra-fine particles on health and the environment.
Dr. Lighty is an advocate for women in engineering and science and committed to innovative and new teaching methodologies. She and her husband are proud of their two daughters, 20 and 17, and have been avid fans at their soccer games over the years.