Dr. Catherine Thomas of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg has been selected as the 2016 Minority in Research Science Emerald Honoree Most Promising Scientist Award at the 30th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards in Philadelphia, Penn.
Thomas grew up in Port Gibson. She first joined ERDC in 2006 as a graduate student at Alcorn State University after seeing a flier for student jobs at ERDC. Initially, she provided administrative support in Environmental Laboratory but was soon presented the opportunity to work on research.
Thomas developed her expertise on the use of plants to reduce the migration of munitions contaminants, such as explosives and heavy metals. Her research has helped validate the use of “green” ammo, the M855A-1 Enhanced Performance Round all-copper round, already in use by the Army to reduce environmental impacts on firing ranges.
Thomas participates in community outreach efforts, such as the Jackson State University’ “UNITE” camp, a summer program for high school students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is a vocal champion for STEM careers.