Susan M. Larson holds an A.B. (Washington University, St. Louis 1981) in physics, A.B. (Washington University, St. Louis 1981) in German languages and literature, M.S. (California Institute of Technology 1982) in environmental engineering science, and Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology 1988) in environmental engineering science. She has been on the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois since 1988 and is affiliated with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. During 2002-03 she was a Visiting Assistant Dean and director of the Women in Engineering Program for the College of Engineering.
Dr. Larson has taught courses ranging from introductory to graduate levels. She has taught the probability and statistics course for undergraduate civil engineering students, an air quality modeling for upper level undergraduates and beginning graduate students, and an air pollution sampling classes for graduate students. She has received recognition as an outstanding instructor. She received the 1991 College of Engineering’s Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence and was a 1993 finalist for the University of Illinois Luckman Undergraduate Distinguished Teaching Award. She was also the winner of the 2001Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors/ McGraw-Hill Award for outstanding teaching in environmental engineering and science.
Dr. Larson is a member of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). She has served on the Board of Directors for AAAR (as board member and treasurer) and for AEESP (also as board member and treasurer). She is also a recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award.
Dr. Larson’s research areas include experimental, field, and modeling investigations in air quality. In the area of aerosol optics, she and her research group have studied how particles absorb and scatter light and modeled how this behavior can affect atmospheric visibility and radiative transfer. They have carried out projects into growth mechanisms of air pollution particles, worked to identify their physical and chemical characteristics, and modeled air pollution from the microscale to the global scale.