Since 2015, I have worked under Dr. Greg Characklis on research to identify and mitigate risks for urban water utilities in the US. The bulk of my work is in the NC Research Triangle, exploring how regional utilities can sustainably manage water resources over the next half-century. This includes questions of hydrologic (climate and land-use) change impacts, identifying tools and development strategies for improving utility resiliency to drought and demand growth, and evaluating opportunities for utilities to cooperate through legal agreements and shared financing (more than once!).
Outside of the Research Triangle, we also have ongoing research into the physical and financial risks to water resources in southwestern Florida with the Tampa Bay Water Authority and collaborators at Cornell University. Previously, I have studied domestic bioenergy (biofuel) production from a spatial perspective as a part of two different projects, one siting algal biofuel production at wastewater treatment facilities, and another identifying cropland suitable for replacement by bioenergy feedstocks to meet US Government biofuel mandates.
Science Policy Advocacy
Over the course of my time in graduate school, I’ve become much more interested in the role of science in policy. As a part of the American Geophysical Union’s 2019 Voices for Science Program, and in leadership roles with UNC’s Science Policy Advocacy Group, I am working toward improving the connectivity between scientists and policymakers through advocacy at the federal and state levels. Now more than ever is it vital to demonstrate the value of science and science funding, and contributing to that goal has been a fulfilling (and important) experience.
As a part of my graduate studies within the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, I taught ENVR 890: R for Researchers (previously MATLAB for Researchers) for 4 years. This course is a one-credit, introductory class intended to cover the basics of the R programming language and orient undergraduate and graduate students to basic problems in water resources management. The most recent iteration of this course, and all materials for it, are publicly available if you’re interested!