Kerry-Kelly-AwardUniversity of Utah chemical engineering assistant professor Kerry E. Kelly was awarded the Clean Air Person of the Year by the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) for her continued work and research into fighting Utah’s air pollution problems.

Kelly was honored for her research on the sources of pollution, her community engagement developing LEGO-based portable air sensor kits for high school students, and her service on air quality boards. She was a member of the Utah Air Quality Board from 2009 to 2017 and was recently named chair of the Utah State Air Quality Policy Board. The award was handed out Wednesday, Feb. 21, during a banquet at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Kelly said a lot of credit for her work not only goes to fellow faculty members but also to her students. “There are students — including high school students — who come in even on the weekends and work for free. They fix things, analyze data, all because they want to help with air quality,” she said.

She received her bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Purdue University, a master’s in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Utah. She became an assistant professor in 2015 and is also an associate director of the Program for Air Quality, Health and Society at the U.

UCAIR is a statewide partnership that provides education and funding for projects so individuals, businesses and communities can make small changes to improve Utah’s air quality.