Ph.D., Hydrology, Cornell University, 2007
M.S., Hydrology, Cornell University, 2004
B.S., Soil Science, University of Massachusetts, 2004
April 2011 - present – Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
December 2008 – April 2011 – Research Associate, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Soil and Water Lab, Cornell University
January 2007 – December 2008 – Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. Biological and Environmental Engineering, Soil and Water Lab, Cornell University
I serve as a faulty advisor to a Senior Design team (BSE 4125-4126 Comprehensive Senior Design Project) tasked with designing and implementing a wastewater treatment system in the Dominican Republic.
My research addresses both native and managed systems, considers processes at plot- to large river basin-scales, and is relatively evenly divided among field study/monitoring, modeling, and application of results to real world problems. Current projects focus on several areas, such as: 1) How do land use and climate (change) impact water quality? Work here focuses on characterization of the relationships between land use distributions and patterns of nutrient and water flows in the landscape and used this information to predict stream water quality/quantity. 2) How do agricultural and urban management practices affect water quality? This work integrated plot and field scale research with basin scale modeling to assess the impact of best management practices. One of the roles has been to develop and test basin scale hydrologic models designed to provide accurate estimates of both water quality and quantity. 3) What processes control the fate and transport of nutrients and sediment? Recent work has focused on assessing influence of anaerobic conditions on denitrification in a denitrifying bioreactor designed to treat diffuse ground water nitrate. Our hope is to better define engineering guidelines so that conditions in the bioreactor foster complete denitrification (e.g., N2 gas is the end product and not NOx). 4) Can we bridge basic research and modeling to management and application? For instance, results from past research efforts are currently being considered in New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to drive policy decisions on fertilizer use in urban systems.
NSF-WSC-Category-1: Collaborative Proposal: Coupled Multi-scale Economic, Hydrologic, and Estuarine Modeling to Assess Impacts of Climate Change on Water Quality Management. The overarching goal of this project is to develop a quantifiable, predictive framework that couples biogeochemical and hydrologic drivers of terrestrial nutrient export with climate change to evaluate the effects of ecosystem management on estuarine function and costs of water quality protection. To achieve this goal, we propose to work broadly across common regional Chesapeake Bay watershed physiographic gradients and dominant landuses (e.g., agriculture, forest and urban). The following goals will allow us to develop a this framework based on our best current knowledge, explore the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on nutrient and sediment export, and develop new modeling paradigms to improve water quality models used for management decisions.
1. Bracket the mid-century changes in climate for the Chesapeake Bay watershed with downscaled high-resolution regional climate models.
2. Evaluate likely changes in landscape patterns and magnitudes of N and P cycling and erosion using downscaled climate model outputs coupled to multi-scale landscape models.
3. Investigate how climate change and alternative nutrient management strategies affect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
4. Assess tradeoffs between costs of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and landscape management intended to control nitrogen (N) loadings and variability of N loadings under alternative climate change scenarios
Extension and outreach are critical activities. Two core issues of focus when developing extension programs and materials are:
Locally, I serve as a member of the Plasticulture Committee and a member of the VA-DCR Watershed Network Committee. Regionally, I contribute as an instructor at the Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School. I also serve on a joint committee with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (USDA-CIG) system and the US-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess the utility and feasibility of technologies such as active denitrification management and biomass to energy projects to reduce watershed nutrient mass balances in the Chesapeake Bay. Nationally, I serve on the USDA-NRCS-SERA 17 P index Task Force to advise the NRCS on reworking the P-Index standards.
(* undergraduate student, ** graduate student, *** post-doc)