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Faculty Focus: Catherine Brewer, College of Engineering


Catherine Brewer, chemical and materials engineering associate professor, enjoys sharing her passion with students.

“My favorite aspect of being a professor at NMSU is working with students: to learn the new skills and knowledge in class, to navigate the messy world of experimental research, and to figure out what they want to do after graduation,” Brewer said. “I am a giant nerd who gets to share what I love with other nerds, then watch as they find their own topics to love. My job is never boring.”

Brewer joined the NMSU faculty in 2013 as an assistant professor after she was a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University from 2012-13.

The majority of Brewer’s work is interdisciplinary. She works with products from alternative crops in collaboration with plant and soil scientists; brewing in collaboration with food scientists; environmental management with geologists and environmental engineers; education research with sociologists; product characterization with chemists; and sustainable agriculture systems with Extension personnel and economists. 

“My current research topics include separation and testing of value-added fractions from guayule resin and bagasse (residues of natural rubber production); variety trials and fiber-based product development of hemp; extraction of rare earth elements from coal fly ash; conversion of algae, food waste and sewage sludge using hydrothermal liquefaction to fuels, nutrient and adsorbent materials, including composts; phytoremediation of impacted soils and alternative treatments of water at legacy uranium mines; and impacts of co-curricular training and entrepreneurship training on engineering education.”

Brewer earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and biorenewable resources and technology from Iowa State University in 2012.