Headshot of Zuleima Kapryn
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

By Patricia Craig

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Zuleima Karpyn, professor of petroleum and natural gas, has been appointed associate dean of graduate education and research in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Karpyn will start in her new role effective July 1. 

“Zuleima will be an excellent associate dean for our college’s Office of Graduate Education and Research (ADGER),” said Lee Kump, the John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “She brings the breadth of experiences, and the vision, passion and energy needed to facilitate discovery, innovation and collaboration in our college.”

Karpyn will succeed Senior Associate Dean John Hellmann, who has held the ADGER position since 2012. Hellmann will continue as associate dean through the end of June.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next associate dean of ADGER,” said Karpyn. “John has built an outstanding program and has guided the college on a path for success. I am appreciative of his leadership and my goal is to continue to build on his legacy.”

Karpyn brings a wealth of leadership skills to the position. Since 2010, she has served as scientific director of the Center for Quantitative X-ray Imaging, now a core research facility of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. She served as interim director of the EMS Energy Institute from 2013-14. Since 2017 she has served as program chair of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. She was selected the 2018-19 Administrative Fellow to Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones, and as a 2018-19 Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program Fellow. In 2019, she was appointed coordinator of STEM Faculty Development Initiatives in the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

“My goals for improving graduate education and research in the college begin with ADGER being a model service unit for our research faculty, staff and students.” Karpyn said. “I see myself as a maximizer, someone who seeks to transform something good into something excellent. The college has a great intellectual capacity, access to world-class research facilities and resources, well-regarded graduate programs both nationally and internationally, and the impetus to be a place where everybody can participate, engage and thrive.”

Karpyn holds the Quentin and Louise Wood Endowed Faculty Fellowship in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. Her area of research expertise is multiphase flow dynamics in porous media, image data analysis and applications of X-ray computed tomography to the study of geomaterials. She integrates laboratory experiments and numerical modeling to improve understanding, representation and prediction of transport behavior in geologic systems, underground pollutant migration and hydrocarbon recovery processes.

In 2016-17, Karpyn was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar where she traveled to Colombia to collaborate on technical challenges associated with the development of unconventional shale oil and gas reservoirs, such as La Luna shale, located in the Middle Magdalena Basin in central Colombia, and compare it with U.S. shales of similar quality. She also taught graduate and undergraduate students at the National University of Colombia at Medellín, as well as EAFIT University.

Karpyn holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Central de Venezuela, and a master's and doctorate in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State.