I want students to have a passion for their future with the confidence that they can make a difference in what they’re going to do.

Kevin Gilmore

Everyone needs a roof over their head. Professor Kevin Gilmore, ​civil & environmental engineering, wants it to be green.

One area of Gilmore's research focuses on how sustainable infrastructure can reduce harmful impact to the environment. Green roofs are one such method of significantly reducing rainwater runoff carrying pollutants to waterways. But while the concept is promising, Gilmore's research investigates the technology's unintended downsides.

"The systems are very good for reducing the volume of stormwater, but the disadvantage is that the water coming off them is dirtier in some ways," he says. "Roofs here tend to reduce the nitrogen that runs off, which is good, but they can also increase the amount of phosphorus, which isn't good. How can we reduce those disadvantages so we can use them?"

Gilmore uses Bucknell's green rooftops as learning laboratories offering students on-campus research opportunities including sampling and monitoring.

He is also interested in integrating education and research across Bucknell's colleges. He has co-instructed the course New Orleans in Twelve Movements, an in-depth study of the city from its geologic formation on the Mississippi Delta, to its rich colonial history, to its sometimes turbulent present. Taught in tandem with two colleagues who specialize in education, history and jazz, the course takes students to New Orleans for an off-campus experience.

"It's a mixture of experiences — students do some service, see some sights, listen to jazz. We look at why this city was built in its precarious geographic situation, the value of the city economically and socially, and what engineered infrastructure is required to sustain it. It's been very rewarding to be involved. We see it as a model for interdisciplinary education."

Gilmore says his teaching is fueled by those rewarding "ah-ha" moments when students first grasp a concept. He also tries to instill in them enthusiasm for their life's work.

"I want students to have a passion for their future with the confidence that they can make a difference in what they're going to do," he said. "I have strong convictions about what I do, and I would love for them to have that in their lives too."

Posted Sept. 29, 2017