National Society of Black Engineers Honors Hobbs as Rising Star

Shakira Hobbs is named a Rising Star in Academia by the National Society of Black Engineers.

April 9, 2024 - The National Society of Black Engineers has recognized Shakira Hobbs as a Rising Star in Academia at the 2024 Golden Torch Awards ceremony held March 24 during the NSBE annual convention in Atlanta. Hobbs is a UC Irvine assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and a Samueli Faculty Development Chair. She was honored for developing an approach to environmental justice that meaningfully involves communities and students in addressing problems at the interconnections between food, energy and water systems.

“This award underscores the importance of resilience,” said Hobbs. “I am grateful for this recognition and excited for what lies ahead.”

Through her research, Hobbs has developed engineering processes that play a crucial role in reducing the amount of solid waste sent to landfills while also generating renewable energy via anaerobic digestion. Her research extends to understanding the environmental occurrence and fate of pesticides such as glyphosate. Her endeavors have resulted in the creation of innovative laboratory analyses for detecting pollutants in water, as well as a provisional patent for a glyphosate water testing kit.

Hobbs is also a co-founder of BioGals, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women of color and engaging communities to co-create innovative solutions for a more sustainable world. The organization has partnered with the Sittee River Village in Belize and collaborated with the Belize Department of Environment to design and conduct sustainability research projects, allowing engineering students to gain hands-on experience.

The NSBE described Hobbs as “an unwavering advocate for a sustainable future, a visionary researcher and a catalyst for inclusive change. We celebrate her outstanding contributions to the field and her profound impact on shaping a more sustainable environment for humanity and the environment.”

NSBE, one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. The Golden Torch Awards ceremony recognizes organizations and individuals who exemplify the society’s ideal of academic excellence, professional success and commitment to strengthening the Black community.

– Lori Brandt