Joe Piatt, Carroll University faculty

Dr. Joseph Piatt

Chair of the Department of Life Sciences Get Contact Info


Chemistry Biochemistry Environmental Science


Dr. Piatt is a professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science. He came to Carroll in fall 1998 after completing a post-doctoral appointment (1997-98) and Ph.D. (1997) at the University of Arizona in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science. He received his master’s Civil Engineering-Environmental Engineering Sciences (1993) from the University of Minnesota and B.S. degrees (1989) in chemistry and mathematics from Marquette University. As he grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, he was pleased to accept a position at Carroll and is still happy to call Carroll home after 19 years and counting.


  • University of Arizona, Ph.D., Department of Soil, Water, & Environmental Science, Minor field: Analytical Chemistry, 1997
  • University of Minnesota, MSCE, Department of Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering Sciences), Minor: Soil Science, 1993
  • Marquette University, B.S., Majors: Chemistry and Mathematics, 1989

Areas of Specialization

Analytical Chemistry and Water and Soil Resources.

Scholarly and Professional Achievements

Joseph J. Piatt. Comments on the Waukesha Application for Great Lakes Water. Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Governors and Premiers, Public Hearing, Waukesha, Wisconsin, February 18, 2016.

NSF FEWS Workshop Report (#CHE-1541860). Food, Energy, and Water Systems Challenging Chemists and Chemical Engineers. National Science Foundation Workshop, Arlington, VA, October 13-15, 2015. Report co-authored by workshop participants. Invitation only.

Joseph J. Piatt and Erica M. Patterson. Occurrence of pharmaceuticals in onsite waste treatment systems in Waukesha County. Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research, 2014, 13(3), 55-59.

Great Lakes Beach Association Annual Conference, Toronto, ON, November 12-14, 2014. Todd R. Miller, Chelsea Weirich, Mary Seaman, Lucas Beversdorf, Sarah Bartlett, Sheila Marton, and Joseph J. Piatt. “High- Resolution Monitoring of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Lake Michigan and Comparison to Microbial Indicators.”

247th ACS National Meeting, Dallas, TX, March 16-20, 2014. Joseph J. Piatt, Kristine Multerer, Alexis Bean. “Contaminant transport in porous media: Making connections to chromatography.” CHED paper #136.

241st ACS National Meeting, Anaheim, CA, March 27-30, 2011. Kevin McMahon, Greg Marks, Michael Schuder, and Joseph J. Piatt. “Glasgow and Nottingham - A Tale of two cities: Carroll University pilots a new international undergraduate research program.” CHED paper #124.

WGWA Annual Meeting, Waukesha, Wisconsin, March 19, 2010. Joseph J. Piatt. "Pharmaceuticals in Waukesha County: Surface water and ground water analysis.” INVITED.

V. Klump, T. Miller, J. Piatt, T. Vargo, and C. Nenn. May 4, 2016. “Citizens of the Rivers and Lake Monitoring Program.” Submitted to the Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM). Funded for $59,600.

Kent Molter, Joseph J. Piatt, K. McMahon, and M. Schuder. August, 2015. “Carroll University CREATE Program.” Submitted to the NSF-IRES Program, #1559240. Funded for $250,000.

Service to Carroll University and Profession

Institutional Service

  • Member, Presidential Search Committee, May 2016-present
  • Member, Board of Trustee Committee on Ethics, AY1516-present
  • Member, President’s Advisory Committee on The Climate Survey, AY1516-present
  • Faculty President, July 1, 2015-present.
  • Chair, Faculty Executive Committee, July 1, 2015-present
  • Co-President, University Assembly, December 23, 2015 to September 19, 2016.
  • Chair, Life Sciences Department, AY 2009-10 to 2012-13 (four years)
  • Member, Academic Restructuring Task Force, Fall 2007- Spring 2009
  • Faculty Shepherd & Chair, Science Facilities Planning Executive Committee, 2004-2009
  • Academic Steering Committee, Fall 07-May 2011
  • Chair, Academic Steering Committee, Fall 2010 (GenEd implementation)
  • Chair, LAS Academic Steering Committee, AY 0809

Professional Service

  • Councilor, Milwaukee Section ACS, 2011-2016
  • Chair, Milwaukee Section American Chemical Society, 2005-2007
  • Coordinator, Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, Milwaukee Section ACS, 2006-present

Community Service

  • President, Waukesha Water Utility Commission, October 2013-present
  • Commissioner, Waukesha Water Utility Commission, October 2010-present

Honors and Awards


  • 2012 American Chemical Society Milwaukee Section Award Winner (outstanding contributions or service to the industry, the profession or the Milwaukee Section) 
  • Benjamin F. Richason, Jr. Faculty Award, Carroll College, May 11, 2008 (excellence in teaching, research and educational innovation) 
  • Greatest Community Involvement Award in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, Office of Community Activities, American Chemical Society, September 14, 2006

Honors Membership

  • Alpha Sigma Nu, National Jesuit Honor Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa, National Arts & Sciences Honor Society
  • Phi Lambda Upsilon, National Chemistry Honor Society
  • Pi Mu Epsilon, National Mathematics Honor Society

What is your teaching style?

I teach courses in analytical chemistry, instrumentation, environmental science, and soil and water resources. One of my favorite quotes related to teaching is from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.” I especially enjoy time with students in the laboratory and field, where you get to “do” science! In addition, I enjoy developing and teaching courses in Carroll’s cross-cultural experience program (Alaska, Europe).

Why do you do what you do?

My main research interests are in soil and water resources as related to the occurrence, fate and transport of contaminants in the environment. Recently, I have been investigating the occurrence of human pharmaceuticals in ground water and surface water systems, calcite precipitation dynamics in a calcareous fen system, and the ecology of harmful algal blooms in large lake systems. I enjoy working with students as undergraduate researchers. I have had the pleasure of working with nine Pioneer Scholars so far!

What should students know about you?

I am active in the leadership and activities of the Milwaukee Section of the American Chemical Society. In addition, I engage in several community-based organizations with science outreach initiatives and currently serve as President of the Waukesha Water Utility Commission.

pano of main campus