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UCF Pegasus Professor Emerita Receives U.S. Department of State Sponsored Fulbright Specialist Award

By: Kissimmee Crum on

A University of Central Florida researcher will be training and assisting in the improvement of waste management services and processes for the city of Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recognized Debra Reinhart, UCF Pegasus Professor Emerita, with the Fulbright Specialist Award. Fulbright is an international exchange program meant to provide a short-term, collaborative experience overseas between U.S. academics and institutions abroad. Host institutions, including but not limited to overseas universities, cultural centers, and non-governmental organizations, identify critical global issues and Fulbright names awardees with that expertise.

Fulbright Specialists are a highly selective, diverse group of professionals chosen because of their well-established careers and significant experience. The program, although just weeks in length, aims to generate lasting relationships between the United States and over 160 countries worldwide.

Debra Reinhart, UCF Pegasus Professor Emerita.

Reinhart, a leader in the field of environmental engineering, will be completing a project in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. She will be providing training for the mayor’s office and Solid Waste Management Project staffers on improving waste management services. She will also act as an expert assisting with the preparation of a long-term waste management strategy and development of a public service announcement campaign on waste management.

“Kyrgyzstan is a very poor country, but yet is interested in providing safe, environmentally sound approaches to managing solid waste,” Reinhart says. “I have had the privilege of visiting many developing countries and sharing the expertise I built at UCF in the solid waste field over the past 33 years. I will play a small, but important, role in achieving safe approaches for Bishkek.”

Reinhart will spend two weeks hands-on in Kyrgyzstan during April, with travel and living expenses covered by both the Fulbright program and host country. She will receive $200 per day during her travels.

Reinhart received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Florida Technological University and her master’s in sanitary engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned her doctoral degree in environmental engineering also from Georgia Tech. Reinhart started teaching at UCF in 1989 as an assistant professor of environmental engineering. She was later named a Pegasus Professor for her excellence in teaching, research and service. She served in many roles at UCF and was an associate vice president for Research and Scholarship before she retired in 2021.

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