Dr. Kelly A. Rusch, PE, BCEE

Executive Director, ND EPSCoR State Office
Office: 102E, 1805 NDSU Research Park Drive
Phone: (701) 231-8093
Email: kelly.rusch@ndsu.edu


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering (Environmental emphasis), Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
  • M.S., Civil Engineering (Environmental emphasis), Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
  • B.S., Biology and Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI

Interest Areas

  • Decentralized Wastewater Treatment
  • Surface Water Quality Management and Modeling
  • Microalgal-based Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Industrial Waste Stabilization and Reuse
  • Engineering Education

Professional Experience

Prof. Kelly A. Rusch completed a BS degree both biology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and then moved to Louisiana where she pursued her graduate degrees in the environmental area of civil engineering. Professor Rusch joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Louisiana State University, where she taught courses in the fundamentals of environmental engineering, lakes management and modeling, water quality analysis, and water quality modeling, and biochemical process for wastewater design and treatment. Dr. Rusch developed a collaborative research team focused on system design for microalgal production, decentralized wastewater treatment for coastal areas, surface water quality management and industrial waste stabilization and reuse for coastal applications. She led the creation of the Institute for Ecological Infrastructure Engineering; an entity dedicated to sustainable design practices. Dr. Rusch also part of an interdisciplinary team focused on advancements in engineering education. She served as the Associate Dean for the College of Engineering for six years and was responsible for research, diversity and inclusion programs, infrastructure, and graduate student and faculty development programs. Professor Rusch North Dakota State University in September 2013 as the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity, a position in which she served until June 2018. Dr. Rusch currently serves as the Executive Director for the state office of ND EPSCoR.  She is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Louisiana and a Board Certified Environmental Engineering. 


Dr. Rusch’s research program is focused on three complementary areas: microalgal-based biofuels and bioproducts, surface water quality/decentralized wastewater treatment, and industrial waste stabilization and reuse. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and focused on sustainable design and application. Additionally, Dr. Rusch has been part of an interdisciplinary team focused on engineering education advances.  These efforts, mostly funded by NSF, have centered on active learning in freshman and sophomore level courses, student success programs within the first three semesters, and collaborative progression programs with community colleges.

Academic Highlights

Dr. Rusch has co-authored over 69 journal manuscripts and over 80 conference, book chapters, and technical publications. She has made over 170 scientific and educational presentations. As Executive Director of North Dakota EPSCoR, Dr. Rusch leads the efforts of an 11-insitution collaboration (two research universities, four primary undergraduate institutions and five tribal colleges) focused on research infrastructure improvement within the State of North Dakota.  She oversees the state office and the efforts of two research centers (focused on sustainable material science and regional climate studies) and the development of implementation of activities that support STEM education and workforce development, diversity, partnerships and collaboration, public communications. 




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