Picture of Notable Alumni

In March 2019, BSE celebrated some of its most notable alumni during the “Celebration of Ut Prosim”. Through their varied professional accomplishments, these three alumni of our department have exhibited excellence in service to the profession.


Joshua Flickinger from Three Rivers, CA received the “BSE Outstanding Recent Alumni - Academic” award. Joshua received his BS in BSE from Virginia Tech in 2010, which he followed with Peace Corps Service and the completion of an MA from University of Michigan in Conservation Ecology and Environmental Informatics. He has received both Outstanding Teaching awards during his graduate career and Peace Corps service awards. He is currently a cartographer for the National Park Service, stationed at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. His primary responsibility is mapping for the Division of Resources Management and Science. He currently works on soundscape mapping and forest resilience projects, working primarily using the ArcGIS suite of software. He also participates with the Physical Sciences branch to maintain soundscape equipment, collect soundscape data, conduct water quality assessments, and conduct snow surveys.


Dr. Ofei Mante, from Research Triangle Park, NC received the “BSE Outstanding Recent Alumni –Industry” award. Ofei received both his MS and PHD from the BSE department at Virginia Tech. Ofei is currently a Research Chemical Engineer at RTI International, where he supports the biomass and biofuels program with research and development (R&D) as a Project Manager, PI, and Technical Lead. His research efforts focus on addressing technical barriers and challenges related to thermochemical processing and conversion of biomass. His focus is on using thermal, chemical, and innovative catalytic processes based on a biorefinery concept. He has received a variety of awards for his authorship at RTI and has almost $4M in federal funding, along with two patents and invention disclosures.


Dr. Mary Leigh Wolfe from Blacksburg, VA received the “BSE Distinguished Alumni – Academia” award. Mary Leigh received her BS and MS from Virginia Tech and is currently a professor in BSE. Over the past several decades her research and teaching has been focused on hydrologic modeling, nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control strategies, and decision support tools for NPS pollution control and watershed management. She has served as advisor or advisory committee member for 30 PhD students and 46 MS students and is author or coauthor of 35 refereed journal articles, 5 book chapters, and over 70 conference publications. This work has been supported by numerous grants, as she has been principal investigator for 21 projects with funding of nearly $1.3M and co-principal investigator for 43 projects with funding over $10.4M. Mary Leigh is a fellow of ASABE, ABET, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), served as President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) during 2015-16, and is currently serving as ABET President during 2018-2019. She has many firsts as a woman in BSE. Specifically, she is the first woman to earn a PhD in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Minnesota; serve as a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University; be promoted to the rank of Professor in BSE at Virginia Tech; to be named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers; and to serve as department head for BSE at Virginia Tech.