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Scientific Leadership

Alejandro (Lejo) Flores, Ph.D.

  • B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University (2001)
  • M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University (2003)
  • Ph.D. Hydrology, MIT (2009)

Lejo_FloresLejo Flores is the Principal Investigator and director of the LEAF group. A computational ecohydrologist by training, Lejo is passionate about using advancing computational tools and techniques to understand integrated land systems where human activity is inextricably coupled to hydrologic, ecologic, and atmospheric processes across a range of spatiotemporal scales. Of particular interest are the local, regional and global teleconnections between water, food, and energy networks.

Matt Masarik, Ph.D.

  • B.S. Mathematics, University of Utah
  • M.S. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
  • Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

Matt_MasarikMatt Masarik is currently running high-resolution, regional weather and climate simulations over the Snake River Basin.  A large thrust of his research is creating long-term gridded climate datasets over our region, as well as the use of these datasets for land surface modeling and study of the local hydrology.


Current Students

Chao Chen – Postdoctoral Researcher

  • B.S. Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, China (2009)
  • M.S. Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, China (2012)
  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2017)

Chao_ChenChao is a hydrologist and engineer interested in hydrologic modeling, water resources management, and hydraulic engineering. Her current research explores the interactions of surface and subsurface heterogeneity through integrated hydrologic models. This project is a part of the NSF Critical Zone Observatory (CZO).


Kendra Kaiser – Postdoctoral Researcher

  • B.S. Soil & Water Science, and Environmental Biology, Montana State University (2011)
  • Ph.D. Water Hydrology and Biogeochemistry, Duke University (2017)

Kendra_KaiserKendra is a watershed hydrologist interested in landscape ecology, remote sensing, and coupling of field and modeling techniques to examine social – ecological systems. Her current research is developing agent based models to examine how land use change and water management decisions affect local to regional scale water resources. This project is a component of the PNNL Integrated Multi-sector, Multi-scale Modeling (IM3) project.

Caroline Nash – Postdoctoral Researcher

  • B.A. Environmental Studies, Yale University (2011)
  • B.S. Geology, Oregon State University (2017)
  • Ph.D. Water Resources Engineering, Oregon State University (2018)

Caroline_NashCaroline is a geomorphologist and hydrologist interested controls on water availability and how landscapes evolve as water availability changes. Her current research is using field data and modelling-derived variables to investigate how climate and topography influence the distribution of plant communities in the headwaters of the Colorado River. This research is part of the DOE Subsurface Biogeochemical Research program.


Karun Pandit – Postdoctoral Researcher

  • B.S. Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Nepal (2001)
  • M.S. Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Nepal (2003)
  • Ph.D. Monitoring, Analysis & Modeling, State University of New York (2016)

Karun_PanditKarun is a biometrician and terrestrial ecosystem modeler, interested in vegetation dynamics, land cover changes, and ecosystem fluxes coupled with human activities and climate extremes. He has experience in growth and yield modeling, dynamic vegetation modeling, spatial statistics, GIS, and remote sensing. His current project is about assessing the effects of restoration techniques and alternate climate scenarios on sagebrush ecosystems of Great Basin, by applying Ecosystem Demography (ED2.1) model, using WRF data, and remote sensing data.

Katie Murenbeeld – Ph.D. Student

  • B.S. Geology, University of Georgia (2007)
  • M.S. Geoscience, University of Arizona (2012)

Katie_MurenbeeldAfter 6 years as a geologist in the mining industry, Katie returned to graduate school to pursue her interests in hydrology and forest ecology. Her current project is focused on the impact of administrative timelines and management practices on ecohydrological processes. This research is a part of the NSF CAREER: Citizens, Conservation, and Climate: Research and Education for Climate Literacy in Managed Landscapes project.


Will Rudisill – Ph.D. Student

  • B.S. Geology, UNC Chapel Hill (2015)
  • M.S. Hydrologic Science, Boise State University (2018)

Will studies hydrologic processes in mountainous, snow dominated watersheds. His current research use the WRF regional climate model to study snow accumulation, melt, and interactions with critical zone processes in watersheds. This research is part of the DOE Subsurface Biogeochemical Research program.


Charlie Becker – M.S. Student

  • B.S. Meteorology, Metropolitan State University of Denver (2017)

Charlie_BeckerCharlie’s primary interests are in synoptic scale climate variation and its effect on regional weather events.  Currently, he’s working on a project for the Idaho Department of Agriculture characterizing climate trends in the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area and producing seasonal forecasts of conditions that may be harmful to local vineyards.


Allison Vincent – M.S. Student

  • B.S. Environmental Science, Iowa State University (2013)

Allison_VincentAllison is a hydrologist interested in relationships between how changes in climate and land cover affect water quality and availability. Her current project uses remote sensing to investigate how topography and land cover affect snowpack in the central Colorado mountains. This research is part of the DOE Subsurface Biogeochemical Research program.


Past Students


  • BANGSHUAI HAN, Postdoc. Now Assistant Professor, Ball State University
  • QINGTAO ZHUO, Postdoc. Now Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oklahoma

Graduate Students

  • MEL KUNKLE, Ph.D. Geosciences. Now at Idaho Power Corp.
  • KATELYN FITZGERALD, Ph.D. Geosciences.  Now in the Research Applications Laboratory at NCAR.
  • MIGUEL AGUAYO, Ph.D. Geosciences 2018. Now Professor at Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Chile.
  • MEGAN MAKSIMOWICZ, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2018. Now at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
  • LUCY GELB, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2018. Now at Weber Basin Conservation District.
  • ANDREA LEONARD, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2017. Now at Brown and Caldwell.
  • AMY STEIMKE, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2017. Now at Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
  • ERIN MURRAY, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2015. Now at USDA Agricultural Research Service.
  • BLAINE DAWSON, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2015. Now at Geosyntec Consultants.
  • RICCI SIMMONS (LOUGHRIDGE), M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2014. Now at Texas A&M Galveston.
  • DANNY TAPPA, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2013. Now at USDA NRCS Idaho Snow Survey.
  • REGGIE WALTERS, M.S. Hydrologic Sciences 2013. Now at City and County of San Francisco.

Undergraduate Students

  • ASTON CARPENTER, B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Boise State
  • ABIGAIL CANNON, B.S. Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Boise State
  • MARTIKA FLORES-RAMOS, B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering 2014
  • AUSTIN HOPKINS, B.S. Geosciences (Hydrology) 2012, M.S. Geosciences Boston College, Idaho Conservation League
  • PAIGE LAYMAN (LAPORTE), B.S. Geosciences (Hydrology) 2012. MS STEM Education, University of Arizona, 2015. Now at Pinnacle High School (Chemistry Teacher and Head Swim Coach)
  • KIMBERLY SMITH, BS Geosciences (Hydrology) 2012. PhD Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah 2017, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • SAVANAH TJADEN, B.S. Hydrogeology, Northern Arizona University