Next steps

As you may know, I’ve been at the Columbia Water Center since September 2015, pursuing a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Engineering. I’ve had the chance to interact with many wonderful classmates, colleagues, teachers, and mentors, and have learned more in five years than I ever thought possible. I’ve also spent a lot of time (far too much…) over the past six months thinking about what will come after I complete my degree, and finally have some concrete news to share.

In January 2021 I will start as an assistant professor at Rice University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I’m very excited to join this brilliant and diverse department, whose members I have found to be kind, welcoming, and supportive.

My research group at Rice will develop tools and knowledge to help decision-makers plan and design infrastructure systems under uncertainty. I plant to focus in particular on (1) quantifying and managing flood risks, (2) informing capital investments in energy systems to better incorporate intermittent renewable resources, and (3) leveraging distributed and decentralized technologies to improve water services. If these (broad / vague) areas seem interesting to you, let’s chat more!

Texas and Houston offer exciting contexts within which to explore these questions. I’m particularly excited to join ongoing projects in the area, and to develop new projects around the world. Houston is far from home, and Mari and I are of course a bit nervous at the prospect of being so far from our friends and family. However, Houston is also a vibrant, diverse, and growing city, and we’re excited for the move. Come visit us!

Between now and January 2021, I hope to defend my dissertation and then spend six months with the Keller Group at the Pennsylvania State University. I’ll continue my work on flood adaptation under uncertainty and expect to learn a lot about climate science, multiobjective optimization, and sensitivity analysis.

After a long period of uncertainty, it feels great to have finalized these plans. I’m very excited about all that lies ahead, and even more grateful for the opportunities that have smoothed my path. Most of these opportunities were completely undeserved, and I believe broadening access to these opportunities to be a key part of my mission. I’m also humbled by the scope of the problems I’m working on and will rely on collaborating with many brilliant colleagues. Thanks again to all my mentors, teachers, friends, colleagues, and family for your support.

(And, uh, if you know any brilliant students interested in doing a Ph.D. on infrastructure, floods, or climate adaptation, put them in touch!)