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Clinton Willson

Clinton Willson

Associate Professor
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
LSU College of Engineering

What was your previous position and where?

In between receiving my bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from Penn State and my master of science degree and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, I spent six and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from UT-Austin, I spent two years as a postdoc in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Environmental Science and Engineering.

What brought you to LSU?

Three things: (1) the large number of water resources and environmental issues that have and are continuing to face the state; (2) the strong natural earth sciences programs on the campus; and (3) proximity to Pensacola, Fla., which is where my wife, Kay, was born and raised.

What is your research interest?

Over the years, my research has evolved into two pretty diverse areas: (1) the physical and numerical modeling of water and sediments in the lowermost Mississippi River; and (2) high-resolution X-ray computed tomography imaging of geologic materials.

What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?

I hope to make LSU the place to work on and study tough engineering problems in complex, natural systems. We have a large number of extremely valuable, economically and/or ecologically, natural systems, including our deltaic coast, numerous groundwater aquifers, and oil-and-gas reservoirs. Our current and future engineers need to understand the complexity and dynamics of these systems in order to engineer the safest and most sustainable natural and built infrastructure.

What do you enjoy most about LSU?

Interactions with students and faculty from across campus is what I enjoy most. I have been very blessed to have had a large number of smart and well-rounded undergraduate and graduate students working with me over the years. In addition, I really enjoy the interactions with outstanding faculty and staff from not just the College of Engineering, but from across campus — CAMD, geology & geophysics, chemistry, the Coastal Sustainability Studio and the School of the Coast and Environment.

What are your major accomplishments?

My major accomplishments include: (1) helping to put LSU on the national and international research “map” in the area of high-resolution imaging; and (2) building a sustainable research group focused on figuring out better ways to utilize the Mississippi River and its resources to help sustain our “working” coastal systems.


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