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Katherine Wardinski

BSE Ph.D. Student
  • NSF GRFP Fellow
Katherine Wardinski, Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering Graduate Student
302-2 HABB1

Ph.D., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Expected 2025

M.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2021

B.S., Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 2019

August 2019 – Present, Graduate Research Assistant, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

May – August 2019, Environmental Engineering Intern, Oshkosh Defense, Oshkosh, WI

September 2018 – May 2019, Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW-Platteville

May – August 2018, Environmental Engineering Intern, Oshkosh Defense, Oshkosh, WI

May – August 2017, NSF REU Student, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, North Carolina State University

May – August 2016, Environmental Analysis and Review Specialist Intern, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Waukesha, WI

May 2021 – Present, Virginia Water Resources Research Center Student Competitive Grant

March 2021 – Present, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)

March 2021, Outstanding Master’s Student Award, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech

August 2019 – Present, New Horizon Graduate Scholar, Virginia Tech 



September 2017 – May 2018, Academic Student Assistant, CEE 3340 Intro to Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Wetlands influence landscape processes and provide critical ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, even when occupying a small fraction of land cover. Understanding hydrologic controls on carbon accumulation and export within geographically isolated wetlands (GIW) has implications for the success of wetland restoration efforts intended to produce carbon sinks. However, little is known about how hydrologic connectivity along the aquatic-terrestrial interface in GIW catchments influences carbon dynamics, particularly regarding soil-derived dissolved organic matter (DOM) transport and transformation. The organic matter (carbon) that accumulates in wetland soils may be released into water, generating DOM. DOM is mobile and reactive, making it influential to aquatic metabolism and water quality. My research explores which soil horizons are most biogeochemically significant as DOM sources in GIW systems. Understanding coupled hydrologic and DOM fluxes will become increasingly important as climate change is expected to alter the hydrologic connectivity of wetland soils to the surface water-groundwater continuum and as wetlands are more frequently designed for carbon sequestration.


Wardinski, K. M., Guertault, L., Fox, G. A., & Castro-Bolinaga, C. F. (2018). Suitability of a linear model for predicting cohesive soil detachment during jet erosion tests. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 23(9).

Oral Presentations

Wardinski, K., Scott, D., McLaughlin, D., Hotchkiss, E., Desmond, K., Jones, C.N., Palmer, M. (2020). Dissolved Organic Matter Sources from Soil Horizons with Varying Hydrology and Distance from Wetland Edge. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 2020. Virtual.

Poster Presentations

Breitlow, I., K. Wardinski, and G. Bohnhoff. “Closing the Gap Between Theory and Evidence: Coupled Phenomena in Unsaturated Bentonite Barriers Under Variable Temperature and Chemical Conditions”. University of Wisconsin System Research in the Rotunda 2019. Madison, WI.

Wardinski, K. M., L. Guertault, G.A. Fox, and C.F. Castro-Bolinaga. “Suitability of a Linear Model for Predicting Cohesive Soil Detachment during Jet Erosion Tests.” American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental and Water Resources Institute Congress 2018. Minneapolis, MN.