Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Each year, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University awards a member of our distinguished alumni with an Alumni Achievement Award to commemorate their unique contributions to the field of geosciences. Below is a list of awardees, accompanied by biographies that highlight their educational and professional histories, as well as their many accomplishments.


Sara K. Pearson, an experienced geoscientist and environmental leader, received her master's degree in environmental earth science from WMU in 1994. After graduating, she worked as a consulting hydrogeologist in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids before joining the state's environmental regulatory agency's remediation section in 2004. She has spent her career overseeing complex, multimillion dollar contamination cleanup and revitalization projects involving local governments, community interest organizations, and state and federal agencies. She has taken an active role in efforts to reform Michigan's environmental remediation standards and regulations. In her present role leading the Source Water Unit within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), she actively mentors her team to help them improve their talents and achieve their professional goals. Pearson's dedication to both technical expertise and mentorship is evident in her professional service efforts. She has served on the national and Michigan boards of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG), as well as the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC). In these roles, she has planned, coordinated and sponsored technical training for peer-to-peer learning, as well as arranged professional field excursions and served as co-chair of yearly professional development workshops. She also gives back to WMU's Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, where she has long served on the Advisory Council and is now Vice President. She has shared her significant knowledge with students by providing seminars about jobs in environmental protection and working with Western’s student chapter of AIPG.


Lisa K. J. Phillips


Dr. Robert LoPiccolo


Dr. Thomas Robyn


Dr. Roger Steininger


Dr. Ahmed Murad


Dane Alexander


Dr. Brian Shaw


Mike Wireman


James W. Farnsworth


Thomas Drean


Dr. W. Richard Laton


Howard A. Nevins

Recipients prior to 2010