Interview of the Month: Dr. Parna Mukherjee

This month, we welcome Dr. Mukherjee for the interview of the month:

MD: Dr. Mukherjee could you briefly talk about your environmental  experience?

PM: I am holding a BS and an MS degree in Civil Engineering  from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.

After my MS degree, I worked as an Environmental Engineer in the Enviroprotection Division of an engineering consulting firm; Development Consultants Ltd, in Kolkata, India for about 4 years. I graduated from Lehigh University with a PhD in 2003. My thesis was on “Relative Permeation Of Ions In Reverse Osmosis Processes Using Ion Exchange Selectivity Data: Theoretical Approach And Experimental Validation”. 

 Some of my roles after graduation includes:

 Teaching Assistant  in Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept of Lehigh University in PA.

Post Doctoral Researcher/Water and Wastewater Treatment Instructor in Howard University  in DC 

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. 

 In 2005, I resigned to take a break in my career to  raise my kids. I stayed current with my field during this break by continuing to publish journal papers, book chapter, etc. and doing related reviews.

MD: What are the main challenges of being a woman, mother, wife and an amazing environmentalist in this industry?

PM:The main challenge of being a woman in the industry is to balance  work and home life. I feel that the time when one is supposed to be the most productive at work is the same time when one is expected to build a family. I would like to see more support for women at this time. It is like feeling guilty at all fronts.

 MD: What are your thoughts regarding developments in reverse osmosis?

PM: Reverse Osmosis is a treatment method which will be used more and more in the future. It can be used as a treatment method for water treatment plants as well as for a small domestic individual unit. Since it is modular in construction, the system is extremely flexible in case there is a higher demand. Reverse Osmosis is the choice technology for desalination.

There are many other competitive water treatment technologies available. Ion exchange ,Donnan membrane, EDR are some of the water treatment technologies available.

 MD: Thank you, Dr. Mukherjee for sharing your experience with us. 

Dr. Mukherjee lives in NJ with her husband and her two beautiful children. She can be reached at

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