Patricia Terry

Patricia Terry


LS 463

Research Interests

Water quality, environmental separations, alternative energies, biodiesel.


B.S., M.S. University of Texas; Ph.D. University of Colorado

Faculty Spotlight - July 2017


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Tell us about yourself?

I am part time professor, world traveler, mediocre endurance sport athlete, and crazy cat lady. When I get too egocentric, the cats bring me back down. My most important role is Aunt Prisha to a 10 year old nephew who is a little too much just like me.  I was also born on a Naval Air station in Pensacola Florida and raised in Texas.

What brought you to UWGB?

Of the places from which I received job offers, Green Bay was by far the most appealing. I have several bikes, a kayak, and cross country skis, so the outdoor opportunities appealed to me. This seemed like a great place to live. The funny thing is that when I was growing up in Texas I swore that I’d never live east of the Mississippi river or anywhere north. I also once said that there wasn't an NFL team I was less interested in than the Green Bay Packers. Now, I’ve converted my entire family into Packer fans.

What is your education?

My BS (1989) and MS (1991) in Chemical Engineering are both from the University of Texas (Hook ‘em Horns!) and my PhD (1995) is from the University of Colorado (Go Buffs!). My faculty advisor for my MS at the University of Texas was Dr. David Himmelblau, one of the first and most famous researchers and professors in the field.

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Tell us about your research interests and why you are passionate about this topic?

My primary research is in water purification, specifically removing heavy metals and nutrients that cause eutrophication. I started working on nutrient removal in 2002 training for my first Ironman triathlon when I could not find an unpolluted open body of water for swim training. Getting stuck at swimmer level in a giant algal bloom in Lake Winnebago creeped me out enough to inspire research in how to prevent algal blooms. My expertise was already in environmental separations, so I focused on surface water.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I am well known for endurance sports and have completed three Ironman Triathlons, three 50 mile trail running races, and over 40 marathon or longer distances. My knees and shoulders have decided that I don’t swim or run marathons any more, but I am passionate about bicycles and can run short distances. I also have a kayak, snow shoes, and several sets of cross country skis.

I work to support my travel habit and have been to 7 European countries, Israel, Jordan, Chilean Patagonia, Peru, and 49 US states. Mostly, I love Germany and have traveled there 5 times. Thanks to Professor David Coury, I speak just enough German to get around. I also go to Colorado every summer to hike in the mountains and get my zen state back.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

I distinctly remember that when I was 8, I decided that being a university professor was one of two choices. Once I knew the highest degree one could earn was a PhD and knew I wanted one. The other choice was to be a veterinarian, but I failed 8th grade frog dissection. All of the organs looked identical – oval grey things. I picked chemical engineering because I was good at math and chemistry and my bigger goal at the age of 18 was to have money and everyone knows that engineers make a lot of money. Between then and earning my PhD, I developed a slightly more noble value system.

Who has influenced you the most in life?

A number of people in different arenas at different times. A high school government teacher first sparked my interest in understanding world affairs and politics. He converted me from a really judgmental, un-empathetic conservative into the socially active liberal that I am today by making me view the world through other peoples’ eyes.

What is the best advice you would give to Engineering Technology majors?

To any student: Don’t ask the professor what the minimum requirement is for any assignment. When in doubt (or not), go the extra yard, do the extra work, impress your professor. This will have huge dividends down the road.

What is the best part about being a UWGB faculty member?

There are two aspects of being a UWGB faculty member that I particularly love. One, my primary job is to facilitate success. That may be the success of students, the success of junior faculty that I mentor, or the success of the programs for which I am responsible. For the past four years, that has been Engineering Technology, but between 2004 and 2010, I also chaired the MS program in Environmental Science and Policy and retain a vested interest in that program. The second aspect may sound cliché, but it is true; I sincerely believe that I work with the best colleagues that there are. In all programs, UWGB employees some of the most dynamic and amazing people I could ever have the honor of knowing. I would mention specific people, but the list would be too long. It is an honor to be counted among this group.

What are you most proud of in your time at UWGB?

In two years, the engineering technology program has grown to 120 students and as chair of the graduate program, I increased enrollment despite severe budget cuts.  What I am most proud of is my continuous evolution as a person. Since starting at UWGB, I have learned a lot about other disciplines including becoming a good environmental scientist and learning some German language. I wish I had enough time to pursue greater studies. I’ve taught classes that I have no formal training for and two of them, Hydrology and Energy and Society, are among my favorite to teach. I’ve known for a long time that I belong in academia because of my continuous passion for learning new things.

What is your mission at UWGB?

My mission is to facilitate the success of students and faculty in my domains. There is no greater satisfaction than having helped someone achieve a goal.

What was your first impression of UWGB?

When I was first hired in 1995, the NAS department had about 30 faculty and I was the only woman and, by many years, the youngest. That was intimidating.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I read voraciously, including the classics. I considered studying 20th century US literature.

What is your favorite quote?

“It’s not teaching if no one is learning.”