Mira Olson


Dr. Mira Olson is an Associate Professor in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at Drexel University. The broad focus of her research is on protecting source water quality, including remediation of contaminated ground water, assessing the impact of water resources technologies and policies on source water supply and quality, and the fate and transport of both chemical and biological agents in the environment. Dr. Olson is a co-founder and Director of Technical Extension of the newly established Peace Engineering program at Drexel.

Degrees / Education

  • PhD, Civil (Environmental) Engineering, University of Virginia, 2004
  • ME, Civil (Environmental) Engineering, University of Virginia, 2000
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Rice University, 1998
  • BA, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Rice University, 1998

Research Areas

Research Interests

Source water quality protection and management, contaminant and bacterial fate and transport, community engagement

Areas of Study

Academic Distinctions

  • 2018, Frontiers of Engineering Organizing Committee
  • 2017, 2006, Louis and Bessie Stein Fellow
  • 2016, ELATE Fellow
  • 2012, McGraw Hill/AEESP Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Science and Engineering Award
  • 2009, Drexel Career Development Award
  • 2007, ASCE ExCEed Teaching Fellow
  • 2004, Battelle Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds Student Paper Competition Winner
  • 2004, ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Paper Award Winner
  • 2003, AAUW Selected Professions Engineering Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2003, EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship
  • 2003, Alcoa International Research Fellow
  • 2003, AGU Hydrology Section Outstanding Student Paper Award
  • 2002, EREF Fiessinger Environmental Science Scholarship Grant
  • 2001, AGU Hydrology Section Horton Research Grant
  • 2001, William R. Walker Graduate Research Fellow Award
  • 1999, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Select Publications

  • Sniffen, K.D., Sales, C.M. and M.S. Olson, 2018. “The fate of nitrogen through algal treatment of landfill leachate”, Algal Research, doi:10.1016/j.algal.2017.12.010.
  • Abualfaraj, N., Gurian P.L. and M.S. Olson, 2018. “Assessing Residential Exposure Risk from Spills of Flowback Water from Marcellus Shale Hydraulic Fracturing Activity”, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, doi:10.3390/ijerph15040727.
  • Hums, M., Amin, H., Tsao, Y.-C., Olson, M., Spatari, S., and R. Cairncross, 2018. “Longitudinal Study of Wastewater Greases and Their Potential for Production of Biofuels”, Energy & Fuels, in press.
  • Sniffen, K.D., Price, J.R., Sales, C.M. and M.S. Olson, 2017. “Influence of Scale on Biomass Growth and Nutrient Removal in an Algal-Bacterial Leachate Treatment System”, Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs/est.7b03975.
  • Abualfaraj, N., Gurian, P.L., and M.S. Olson, 2014. “Characterization of Marcellus Shale Flowback Water”, Environmental Engineering Science, Vol 31, No. 9, pp. 514-524.
  • Zhang, H., Amer Nordin, N., and M.S. Olson, “Evaluating the effects of variable water chemistry on bacterial transport during infiltration”, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Vol 150, pp 54-64 (2013).
  • Galada, H., Gurian, P., Olson, M., Teng, J., Kumar, A., Wardell, M., Eggers, S., and E. Casman, 2013. “Development of Failure Scenarios for Biosolids Land Application Risk Assessment”, Water Environment Research, Vol 85, No. 2, pp. 141-150.
  • Smalls-Mantey, L., DiGiovanni, K., Olson, M., and F.A. Montalto, 2012. “Validation of two soil heat flux estimation techniques against observations made in an engineered urban green space”, Urban Climate, DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2012.11.001
  • Singh, R. and M.S. Olson, 2012. “Transverse Chemotactic Migration of Bacteria from High to Low Permeability Regions in a Dual Permeability Microfluidic Device”, Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/es03614y.
  • Olson, M. and P.L. Gurian, 2012. “Risk Assessment Strategies as Nanomaterials Transition into Commercial Applications”, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11051-012-0786-8.