Willie F. Harper Jr., Ph.D.

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Willie F. Harper, Jr. is a Professor in the Environmental Engineering and Science program at the Air Force Institute of Technology. He received a BS (Civil Engineering) from UCLA, a M. Eng (Civil and Environmental Engineering) from Cornell University, and a Ph.D (Civil and Environmental Engineering) from UC Berkeley where he studied biological phosphorus removal under David Jenkins. Dr. Harper is a registered Professional Engineer (Arizona), and has also served on the faculty at Auburn University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Harper is generally interested in water quality, including biological and chemical treatment methods. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and has been honored with several awards, including the 2016 John L. McLucas Basic Research Award, the 2013 Fulbright Scholar Award, the 2011 Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award, and the 2006 NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award. Dr. Harper is originally from North Long Beach, CA.


University of California, Berkeley

Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Spring 2002
Minor: Chemical Engineering and Microbiology
Area of Specialization: Water Quality Engineering. Thesis Topic: Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal. Advisor: David Jenkins, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering, May 1993
Area of Specialization: Water Quality Engineering. Design Project: Nitrogen Removal at the Fairfield Wastewater Treatment Plant. Advisor: Richard Dick, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, June 1992


Embassy Science Fellow (Togo), 2017-2018

John L. McLucas Basic Research Award, 2016

AFIT ENV Best Faculty Researcher, 2015

Fulbright Scholar Award (Japan), 2013-2014

AFIT ENV Faculty Scholar of the Year, 2013

Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award, 2011

PITT EXCEL Summer Research Internship, Best Mentor Award, 2011

Auburn University Alumni Engineering Council Junior Faculty Research Award, 2007

NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award, 2006



Brandon M. Stewart, Michael E. Miller, David M. Kempisty, John Stubbs, and Willie F. Harper, Jr. (2018). Oxidation of Tartrazine with ultraviolet light emitting diodes: pH and duty cycles effects, Water Science and Technology, Vol 77 (3), 1651-1659.

Willie F. Harper, Jr., William Flemings, Kandace Bailey, Walter Lee, Daniel Felker, Vicente Gallardo, Matthew Magnuson, and Rebecca Phillips (2017). Adsorption of malathion onto copper and iron surfaces relevant to water infrastructure. Journal of American Water Works Association, Vol 109(11), E494-E502.

Akihiko Terada, Sho Sugawara, Keisuke Hojo, Yuki Takeuchi, Shohei Riya, Willie F. Harper Jr., Tomoko Yamamoto, Megumi Kuroiwa, Kazuo Isobe, Chie Katsuyama, Yuichi Suwa, Keisuke Koba, and Masaaki Hosomi (2017). Hybrid nitrous oxide production from partial nitrifying bioreactor: hydroxylamine interactions with nitrite. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 51(5), 2748-2756.

Robert Scott, Patrick Mudimbi, Michael E. Miller, Matthew Magnuson, Stuart Willison, Rebecca Phillips, Willie F. Harper, Jr. (2017). Advanced oxidation of tartrazine and brilliant blue with pulsed ultraviolet light emitting diodes. Water Environment Research, Vol. 89, 24-31.

Daniel Baseley, Luke Wunderlich, Grady Phillips, Kevin Gross, Glen Perram, Stuart Willison, Rebecca Phillips, Matthew Magnuson, Sang Don Lee, Willie F. Harper, Jr. (2016). Hyperspectral analysis for standoff detection of dimethyl methylphosphonate on building materials, Building and Environment, Vol. 108, 135-142.

Erik Rauglas, Seth Martin, Kandace Bailey, Matthew Magnuson, Rebecca Phillips, Willie F. Harper, Jr., (2016). The effect of malathion on the activity, performance, and microbial ecology of activated sludge, Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 183, 220-228.

Willie F. Harper, Jr., Yuki Takeuchi, Shohei Riya, Masaaki Hosomi and Akihiko Terada (2015). Novel abiotic reactions increase nitrous oxide production during partial nitrification: Modeling and experiments, Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 281, 1017-1023.

Matthew K. Weschler, William J. Barr, Willie F. Harper, Amy E. Landis (2014). Process energy comparison for the production and harvesting of algal biomass as a biofuel feedstock bioresource technology, Bioresource Technology, Vol. 153, 108-115.

Tho Tran, LeeAnn Racz, Michael Grimaila, Michael Miller, and Willie F. Harper Jr. (2014). Comparison of continuous versus pulsed ultraviolet light emitting diode use for the inactivation of Bacillus globigii spores. Water Science and Technology, Vol. 70 (9), 1473-1480.

Feng, Y. and W.F. Harper, Jr. (2013). Biosensing with microbial fuel cells and artificial neural networks: Laboratory and Field Investigations. Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 130, 369-374.

Cheng, W. and W.F. Harper, Jr. (2012). Chemical kinetics and interactions involved in Horseradish Peroxidase-mediated oxidative polymerization of phenolic compounds. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Vol. 50(3), 204-208.

Larissa C. Parsley, Erin J. Consuegra, Kavita S. Kakirde, Andrew M. Land, Willie F. Harper, Jr., and Mark R. Liles (2010). Identification of diverse antimicrobial resistance determinants from an activated sludge microbial assemblage and encoded on bacterial, plasmid, and bacteriophage metagenomes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 76(11): 3553-3757.



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