Appointment of Ah-Hyung “Alissa” Park as Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science

June 20, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ah-Hyung “Alissa” Park as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective September 1, 2023.

A member of the Columbia University faculty since 2007, Dr. Park is currently the Lenfest Earth Institute Professor of Climate Change in the Departments of Earth and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Columbia. She also serves as chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering (2020–present), director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (2014–present) and executive committee member of The Earth Institute and Columbia Climate School (2017–present).

Professor Park is one of the nation’s leading experts on carbon capture and conversion technology, as well as an experienced administrator who has worked across disciplines to advance engineering research and teaching. In her roles at Columbia, she has created highly interdisciplinary research and educational programs in sustainable energy and decarbonization, including the CarbonTech Development Initiative for translational decarbonization research, a collaborative effort between the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia. She has also substantially increased the diversity of the faculty and student bodies within her units as well as led efforts to achieve a cultural shift toward equity, inclusion and respect. She has been active in a collaboration with UN Women on a project supporting entrepreneurship in sustainable energy in developing countries, as well as with Columbia’s Women in Energy initiative.

Professor Park’s research focuses on sustainable energy and materials conversion pathways with an emphasis on using integrated carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies to address climate change. Her research group is also working on direct air capture of carbon dioxide and negative emission technologies, including bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and sustainable construction materials with low carbon intensity. Her recent work includes carbon mineralization integrated with the recovery of energy-relevant critical minerals including rare earth elements for clean energy transition. In 2016, she co-founded GreenOre CleanTech LLC, which turns the hard-to-decarbonize industrial sector’s solid wastes and carbon emissions into value-added products such as carbon-negative building materials while recovering energy-relevant critical minerals.

Professor Park is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is also currently a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Carbon Utilization Infrastructure, Markets, Research and Development. She has received a number of awards and honors including the Shell Thomas Baron Award in Fluid-Particle Systems at AIChE PTF, the U.S. C3E Research Award, the PSRI Lectureship Award at AIChE PTF, Columbia University’s Janette and Armen Avanessians Diversity Award, the American Chemical Society WCC Rising Star Award and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She is a member of numerous editorial and advisory boards, and has led a number of global and national discussions on CCUS, including the Mission Innovation Workshop on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage in 2017 and the National Petroleum Council CCUS Report in 2019.

Professor Park received her B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. in chemical and biological engineering from the University of British Columbia and her Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from The Ohio State University, from which she received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic Excellence in 2021.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee members for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates for this position and for their roles in recruiting Professor Park. Paul H. Krebsbach, dean of the School of Dentistry and professor of dentistry, was the committee chair. Other members were:

  • Henry V. Burton – associate professor and Presidential Chair in Structural Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Linda L. Demer – professor of medicine, physiology and bioengineering; vice chair, Department of Medicine
  • Timothy J. Deming – professor of bioengineering, and chemistry and biochemistry
  • Mona Jarrahi – professor and Northrop Grumman Endowed Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Jennifer Jay – professor and vice chair for graduate education; equity, diversity and inclusion officer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; professor, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
  • Adrienne Lavine – professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering
  • John W. Mamer – professor of management
  • Jaime Marian – professor and vice chair of graduate education, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering
  • Philippe Sautet – distinguished professor and vice chair for graduate education, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry
  • Lixia Zhang – distinguished professor of computer science; Jonathan B. Postel Professor of Computer Science

I also wish to recognize and express my gratitude to Bruce Dunn for his leadership as interim dean since last August, and for his longstanding commitment and many contributions to UCLA Samueli and UCLA.

Chancellor Block and I are confident that under Alissa’s visionary leadership, UCLA Samueli will make even greater strides in advancing engineering education and research for the benefit of our society. Please join us in congratulating her and welcoming her to campus and into this new role.


Darnell Hunt
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost