Her work has promoted awareness and improved the understanding of the sources, occurrence, fate and transport, and behavior of several challenging environmental contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 1,4-dioxane, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), perchlorate, N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs).
Focusing on emerging contaminants, Rula has led strategic planning, business development, and project execution for a variety of industrial, municipal, and federal clients. She is an internationally recognized PFAS expert and is well regarded within the environmental community for her leadership in technical innovation through applied research and project delivery, technology transfer and outreach programs, and professional activities. She is the co-chair of two national conferences, the Remediation Technology Summit and the Emerging Contaminants Summit. She recently served as a member of the planning committee for a 2019 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop entitled “Identifying Opportunities to Understand, Control, and Prevent Exposure to PFAS.”
Following teaching assignments at Berkeley and Stanford, Rula was selected as a National Science Foundation Engineering Education Scholar for Excellence in Engineering Education. She is heavily engaged in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering program, which brings together emerging engineering leaders from industry, academia, and government to discuss pioneering technical work and leading-edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. She recently served as a member of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Environmental Engineering Committee (2016 – 2019). In 2010, she earned an Industry Recognition Award for her outstanding contribution as a member of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council’s Remediation Risk Management team. She was the recipient of the 2008 Berkeley Engineering Innovation Young Outstanding Leader Award and the 2019 Association for Women Geoscientists President’s Award. She was also recently inducted into Berkeley’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.