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Kelly wins Women in Science prize

Kerry Kelly

University of Utah chemical engineering associate professor Kerry E. Kelly is one of five national winners of the 2022 Women In Science Incentive Prize, an award that recognizes “innovative female scientists working on solutions to the most pressing environmental issues of our time.”

The prize is given out by The Story Exchange, a non-profit media organization dedicated to elevating women’s voices through video, articles, and a podcast. Each winner will receive a $5,000 grant. Click here to see a list of this year’s recipients.

Kelly was honored for her research on Utah’s air quality and her work developing and building portable air quality sensors that regular consumers can purchase for their homes. These sensors can then be connected to a network of other air quality sensors along Utah’s Wasatch Front that measure particulate matter and other environmental details. Their AirU program includes an interactive real-time air quality map of the Wasatch Front that can alert readers of what the pollution is like in particular areas. Their network is also part of Salt Lake County’s new AirView air quality map, which also tracks particulate matter in real-time throughout the county. U chemical engineering associate professor (lecturer) Tony Butterfield, electrical and computer engineering associate professor Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon and School of Computing professor Ross Whitaker worked with Kelly on the development of the portable sensors and the U’s air quality network.

Kelly received a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Purdue University. She also earned a master’s from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a doctorate from the U, both in environmental engineering. She currently is associate director for the Program for Air Quality, Health and Society and served eight years on Utah’s Air Quality Board.

In 2019, she received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Environmental Division Early Career Award, which honors those with “outstanding contributions in environmental chemical engineering in the early stages of the recipient’s career.” And in 2018, she was awarded the Clean Air Person of the Year by the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) for her continued work and research into fighting Utah’s air pollution problems.