People

Casey Brown
Professor of Water Resources Engineering

Casey_Brown_MG_2419Dr. Casey Brown is Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University.  His primary research interest is the development of analytical methods for improving the use of scientific observations and data in decision making, with a focus on climate and water resources, and he has worked extensively on projects around the world in this regard. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Science from Harvard University and led the water team at the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society at Columbia University.

Dr. Brown’s work is funded by the National Science Foundation, NOAA, Department of Defense, World Bank and the US Army Corps of Engineers.   He is Associate Editor of Water Resources Research and the ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, and chairs the Water and Society Technical Committee of the AGU Hydrology Section and the Water Resources Planning under Climate Change Technical Committee of the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute Systems Committee.

Awards

  • California Climate Science Service Award, 2014
  • Dept of CEE Outstanding Researcher Award, 2014
  • College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, 2012
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2011
  • ASCE Huber Research Prize, 2011
  • Best Policy Oriented Paper Award, ASCE J. of Water Res. Plan. & Man, 2006
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2001 – 2004

HRG November 2017

The Hydrosystems Research Group (Spring 2018) (from L to R: Casey Brown, Januka Gyawali, Sarah Freeman, Dong Kwan (Don) Park, Chinedum Eluwa, David Rheinheimer, Khanh Nguyen, M. Umit Taner, Hassaan Khan, Sungwook Wi, Baptiste Francois, Katherine Schlef, Alec Bernstein, Mariam Allam)

 

Adjunct Professor

Fred Boltz, Ph.D.

Dr. Fred Boltz serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Hydrosystems Group, where he leads an applied research program on resilience and human-hydrologic systems.  Dr. Boltz is the CEO of Resolute Development Solutions, Inc. an advisory firm specialized in the strategic design, execution and adaptive management of conservation and development programs. The firm’s current portfolio focuses on water, climate, and the resilience human systems to global change.  Dr. Boltz has over 25 years of international development experience, including 9 years of fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Latin America. From 2013 through 2017, he served as Managing Director and member of the leadership team at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he led the Foundation’s global work related to the environment and directed key resilience programs. From 2003-13 he served in Conservation International’s leadership team as head of conservation strategy and practice, climate change lead and head of international policy. Dr. Boltz earned a Ph.D. in natural resource economics at the University of Florida and a B.A. in China studies at Duke University. A native English speaker, he is fluent in French and Spanish, and conversant in Portuguese, Malagasy and Mandarin Chinese.

Research Assistant Professor

Sungwook Wi

Dr. Sungwook Wi is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Amherst and a chief hydrologist at the UMASS Hydrosystems Research Group. His research focuses on the intersection between hydrologic, climatic, and anthropogenic systems with an emphasis on sustainable water resources management. He specializes in developing human-hydrologic systems models and applying the models to assess the impact of climate change and variability as well as human activities on water resources planning and management. His expertise in hydrology has played a critical role in addressing water issues for various watershed systems all over the world, including USA, Mexico, Africa, East Asia, and Himalayan regions.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Mariam Allam

Mariam Allam is a postdoctoral research associate who started working with the Hydrosystems Group in 2017. She recently graduated with a PhD from the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at MIT during which she studied the food-water-energy nexus in the upper Blue Nile basin and found alternatives for win-win opportunities for the three stakeholder countries sharing the basin’s water. Mariam did her MSc and BSc in Cairo University in water resources engineering. When she is not thinking about resource allocation problems, Mariam is a fitness maniac! She is a certified group exercise instructor and a BollyX instructor and she enjoys long runs!

Baptiste Francois

Dr. Baptiste François is a postdoctoral researcher in the Hydrosystems Research Group at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has a PhD in hydrology and atmospheric sciences from the University of Grenoble-Alpes (France). His research focuses on the water-climate-energy nexus. He is especially interested in the impact of climate change on the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources into the future electricity grid. His postdoctoral research led him to work at the University of Padua (Italy, 1 year), at the SINTEF Energies research institute (Trondheim, Norway, 9 months) and at the University of Grenoble-Alpes, where he got his PhD (2 years). He is now working on assessing climate change impacts on hydrological extremes.

David Rheinheimer

Dr. David Rheinheimer is currently a Postdoctoral researcher in the Hydrosystems Research Group. With a PhD from the University of California, Davis, his interests are primarily in environmental flows, which encompasses seeking a better understanding of how environmental flows can be better represented in water systems models and how environmental flow requirements interact with other water management objectives and changing baseline conditions.  David has recently turned to web technologies, which enable both easy access to on-demand cloud computing and rapid development of collaboration platforms for distributed participatory modeling and decision-making. David has a wide range of previous experience in the Federal Government (the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and in academia. He has been a Postdoc at the University of California (Davis & Merced campuses), Wuhan University, China, and at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee as a Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Fellow. Before coming to UMass, he was a Research Specialist at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. An avid outdoorsman, David enjoys walking, hiking, backpacking, biking and sailing, and has climbed many a local peak wherever his travels take him.  He is also an avid amateur photographer and clarinetist.

M Umit Taner

Dr. M. Ümit Taner, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  He received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2017.  He has more than ten years of experience in international water projects, ecological modeling, and wastewater treatment. Previous to University of Massachusetts, he had worked at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK-MRC) and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Water. During his Ph.D. work, he developed various hydrology and water resources system models and web-based tools to aid long-term water systems planning under climate change. He has also instructed a number of stakeholder workshops in Africa and Asia for various World Bank funded projects. His recent work includes various water system planning and management projects in United States, Kenya, Malawi, and the Niger River Basin. Currently, his work focuses on integration of vulnerability-based planning approaches and robust optimization to solve complex planning problems involving long-term water, food, and energy security.


PhD Students

Chinedum Eluwa

Chinedum Eluwa started work as a Research Assistant in the Hydrosystems Research Group in September 2016 when he moved to Amherst, MA to begin a PhD in Water Resources Systems Analysis.  Prior to this he completed a Master’s degree in Hydrology and Climate Change (in Newcastle, UK) and worked as a researcher to develop flood risk assessment methods for the European Union RAMSES climate adaptation project.  In his current work, he helps governments (including inter-governmental organizations) decide which water-resources infrastructure investment options to pursue given future uncertainties – especially hydro-climatologic uncertainties.  When not working, Chinedum enjoys listening to economic or political debates on one of the BBC’s channels.

Sarah Freeman

Sarah Freeman is a PhD student in the Hydrosystems Research Group. Ms. Freeman joined the group in the fall of 2016 after spending the past decade working for both private sector and non-profit organizations in the infrastructure and environmental conservation sectors. She has worked in a variety of roles that have included project management, scientific research as well extensive work with stakeholder processes around the world. She is particularly passionate about how science can inform policy. Ms. Freeman is currently leading the HRG’s Resilience by Design project in the Valley of Mexico. She was recognized as the 2009 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Young Professional of the Year and holds a MSc in Water Resources Engineering and her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University. She is also the designated cocktail maker for the HRG and occasionally a soccer co-captain along with Katherine Schlef.

Don Park

Dong Kwan (Don) Park is a first year Ph.D. student with the Hydrosystems Research Group from Fort Collins, Colorado.  He completed his B.S. in 2013 from The Pennsylvania State University in Civil Engineering – Water Resources and received his M.S. from Seoul National University in 2015 in Civil Engineering with a focus in Hydrology and Water Resources.  From 2014 through early 2017, Don worked at Seoul National University as a researcher developing an integrated framework that includes social, environmental, and water resources through the Model of Integrated Impact and Vulnerability Evaluation of climate change (MOTIVE) project with the Ministry of Environment Korea.  In his free time, Don enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, and listening to music.

Khanh Nguyen

In 2013, Khanh Nguyen obtained a Bachelor of Engineering in environmental management and technology at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMUT), Vietnam. After graduation, Khanh worked as Research Assistant in the domain of Geographic Information System and hydrological modeling at DITAGIS center, HCMUT. In 2014, she worked as Corporate Environmental Coordinator in Holcim Vietnam Ltd., where she undertook tasks of CO2 reporting and waste management. Six months later, Khanh began her masters program in environmental science and engineering with the expertise of hydrology, water, soil and ecosystems at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland under a RESCIF-CARE fellowship. During the masters program, she worked as an intern at GeoplanTeam which is a Swiss enterprise in geo-informatics and geographic information systems. In 2017, Khanh achieved her masters degree and became a graduate student in the Hydrosystems Research Group at University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Research Fellow/Project Manager

Alec Bernstein

Alec Bernstein is the Hydrosystems Group Project Manager and began work with the Group in 2016.  Alec previously worked as a water resources engineer in Seattle, WA, and also worked briefly at a startup on water distribution system monitoring hardware.  From 2013 to 2014, Alec conducted independent research in India as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar investigating water treatment system sustainability in communities in rural West Bengal.  Alec completed his M.S. from the University of Massachusetts in civil engineering with a focus in water resources engineering in 2013, and a B.S. from Lafayette College in civil engineering in 2011.  He enjoys collaborating with local stakeholders to solve complex water resources challenges, and has worked on projects in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and North America.  Alec has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys biking, hiking, camping, cooking, brewing, playing and listening to music, and any water-related activities from a lazy day at the beach to hiking on glaciers.


Alumni

Brian Pitta
Kelcy Adamec
Ken Hunu
Pooja Kechamada
Paul Moody
Kevin Mulligan
Julia Ryan
Jesus Morales
Danica Lefever
Scott Steinschneider
Sarah Whateley
Caitlin Spence
Patrick Ray
Katherine Schlef
Hassaan Khan