Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D.

Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering

Fighting plastic waste + marine debris

Telephone: 706-542-6454


0103 Riverbend Research Center South
220 Riverbend Road
Athens, Georgia 30602
United States

Named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow for her work investigating the scale of plastic pollution and galvanizing efforts to address plastic waste, Jenna Jambeck is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering in the University of Georgia College of Engineering. Jambeck is internationally recognized for her research on plastic waste in the ocean and for the Marine Debris Tracker app she co-created with fellow faculty member Kyle Johnsen. She notes that being active in research helps bring current environmental engineering issues into the classroom for students. 

In the News

UGA's Jenna Jambeck awarded MacArthur grant

Sustainability startup moves into Delta Innovation Hub

Message in a (Plastic) Bottle
UGA’s waste management expert explores how plastics are affecting the nation’s most important waterway.

Environmental engineer talks the future of recycling

Researchers help Miami fight plastic pollution


Ph.D., Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, 2004
M.E., Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, 1998
B.S., Environmental Engineering Sciences (with honors), University of Florida, 1996

Professional Appoinments

  • Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia College of Engineering, 2020 - present
  • Professor, University of Georgia College of Engineering, 2019 - present
  • Associate Professor, University of Georgia College of Engineering, 2015 - 2019
  • Assistant Professor, University of Georgia College of Engineering, 2005 - 2015
  • Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2005 - 2009
  • ORAU Post Doc, US EPA, 2004 - 2005
  • Graduate Research Assistant, University of Florida, 2000 - 2004 
  • Project Engineer, URS Corporation, 1998 -2000
  • Intern, Law Engineering and Environmental Services, 1996

Honors and Awards

  • MacArthur Fellow, 2022
  • National Geographic Fellow, 2018
  • Georgia Water Coalition "Water Hero," 2018
  • UGA Public Service and Outreach Fellow, 2016
  • Women Leading the Charge to Protect Our Environment, Elle Magazine, 2019
  • College of Engineering Research Award, University of Georgia, College of Engineering, 2016
  • Creative Research Medal, University of Georgia, 2016
  • UGA College of Engineering Instruction Award, 2015
  • Outreach Scholar Academy, UNH, 2007
  • UNH President's Excellence Award Grantee, University of New Hampshire, 2006

Professional Services

  • National Geographic Fellow - Co-Lead Source to Sea Plastics Initiative, National Geographic, 2018 - present
  • NASEM Study Board, United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste, 2021
  • Air and Waste Management Association Member, 2014 - present
  • United Nations Global Partnership for Marine Litter Advisory Board Member, 2015 - 2016

Area of Specialty

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Marine Debris

Publications and Scholarly Articles

Google Scholar Page


Jambeck Research Group