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Former Environmental Director at RIT Honored with Feinstone Award for Work in Government EPA

suny esfThe 2016 Feinstone Environmental Awards won’t take place until this October, but four women scientists have already been identified as future recipients at the “Women in Science” event. This year, at least one of the winners may be familiar to local Rochester residents.

According to a release from the SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) website, Anahita Williamson previously served as director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology and as a senior engineer at Xerox Corporation. Now, she currently works as director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2’s Division of Environmental Science and Assessment. Apparently, she’s doing some pretty great work.

“The Feinstone Environmental Awards recognize outstanding achievement in advancing the cause of the environment and social environmental issues,” the school’s site explains. “One of the oldest and most-respected award programs in the environmental field, the Feinstone Awards were established in 1976 by Sol Feinstone, a 1915 graduate of ESF who was a widely known historian and author. The program recognizes leaders who care for the environment, encourage volunteerism and add to society’s understanding of environmental issues and their solutions.”

While efforts in preventing and cleaning up pollution and environmental waste have come a long way in recent years, there is still a lot of work to do. In fact, approximately 80% of the most serious hazardous waste sites in the U.S. have adversely impacted the quality of ground water nearby.

Williamson has worked hard against this environmental impact during her time at the EPA as she’s overseen the collection, analysis, and evaluation of environmental data in support of the government agency’s monitoring programs.

Three other women — Nancy Barbour (private industry), Janine Benyus (non-governmental organizations), and Robin Kimmerer (academia) — will be awarded at the ceremonial dinner on October 26 at the Gateway Center on the ESF campus.