Dr. Mary Julia (Judy) Wornat began her tenure as Dean of the College of Engineering in February 2017 after more than 20 years in academia and 13 years at LSU. She holds the Bert S. Turner Chair in Engineering, the Robert Hughes Harvey Professorship and the William G. Reymond Professorship in Chemical Engineering.
Wornat has held various leadership roles since joining the College, first serving as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering (2005-2011), Chair of the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering (2011-2015), and most recently, as Interim Dean (2015-2016).
Prior to coming to LSU, Wornat served on the faculty of Princeton University, in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Prior to that, she worked as a research scientist for two years each at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., and at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Sydney, Australia.
Wornat received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering summa cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., in 1981. She continued her studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., where she earned her S.M. in 1983 and her Sc.D. in 1988, both in Chemical Engineering.
Wornat has received several teaching and research awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (1996); a Distinguished Paper Award from the Combustion Institute (2009); and LSU’s Rainmaker Award, which honors the university’s top 100 research and creative faculty (2009).
Wornat’s research focuses on the pyrolysis and combustion of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels—with particular emphasis on the chemical and physical mechanisms governing the formation of environmental pollutants, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Additional areas of interest are gas-phase and heterogeneous reactions; analytical techniques for the compositional determination of complex organic mixtures; supercritical fuel reactions; and the health effects of combustion by-products. This research has led to the publication for 75 refereed journal articles.
In addition to her LSU responsibilities, Wornat is very active professionally. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of three journals: Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (2004-present), Fuel (1995-2010), and Energy & Fuels (2000-2002). She has also served as the President of the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (2005-2007). Her memberships in professional societies include the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Combustion Institute, the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compound, and the American Society of Engineering Education.