News and Opportunities

Research Opportunities and Open Positions

Now recruiting Ph.D. and M.S. students

Interested in the application of machine learning and complex systems tools to solve pressing environmental challenges while earning a degree in civil & environmental engineering? We are recruiting Ph.D. candidates for multiple projects with a start date of fall 2021 (or potentially summer 2021). Prospective students would work with professors Dr. Donna Rizzo, Dr. Kristen Underwood, and Dr. Scott Hamshaw. Three opportunities include:

  1. Precision Agriculture and the Future of Work – This project seeks to leverage data from advanced remote sensing (drone based lidar, hyperspectral sensing, and imaging) with field monitoring to design AI-inspired tools to improve the sustainability of farms. This project includes study sites within Vermont and South Dakota. Ph.D. candidate to be co-advised by Scott Hamshaw and Donna Rizzo.
  2. Using Big Data approaches to assess ecohydrological resilience across scales – This project brings together researchers from across the country in a Critical Zone Network, combining data science, ecology, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. Students, researchers, and outreach partners will work in dynamic teams to create new knowledge through field and lab work, and improve education, policy, and participation in STEM fields. Ph.D. candidate to be co-advised by Kristen Underwood and Scott Hamshaw.
  3. Multi-scale analysis of watershed monitoring data – This exploratory project funded by the NSF 2026 Idea Machine aims to identify linkages in watershed function across temporal and spatial scales by leveraging watershed monitoring data and integrated human-machine learning (combining AI with watershed science expertise). M.S. or Ph.D. students will be considered for this opportunity to start Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 and will be advised by Scott Hamshaw.
  4. Gund Barrett PhD Fellowships – We encourage PhD candidates broadly interested in the application of data-driven approaches for advancing watershed science to apply for a Gund Barrett Ph.D. fellowship. These four-year fellowships through the Gund Institute for Environment are available specifically for students interested in pursuing an engineering degree at UVM. We are happy to work with prospective students on putting together an application (due Jan. 14, 2021). Students would be advised by Donna Rizzo and co-advised by Scott Hamshaw or Kristen Underwood depending on project interests.

Contact Scott Hamshaw, Kristen Underwood, or Donna Rizzo for details and also see further application information below.

Interested in working with us?

We are always open to new undergraduate, M.S., and Ph.D. students joining us — see below for general information about joining the research group. Specific funded positions will also be posted here when available.

Graduate Students (M.S. or Ph.D.) — If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree either through a Ph.D., M.S., or accelerated M.S. program, please feel free to email me (1) a description of your interests and goals in pursuing a graduate degree and (2) a copy of your resume/CV. Beyond posted positions here, there are other opportunities that can support (fund) a graduate student obtaining either a M.S. or Ph.D. degree. I encourage students to look into applying to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. UVM also offers PhD fellowships through the Gund Institute for Environment. Another great program that can provide supplemental support for either a M.S. or Ph.D. is the Switzer Environmental Fellowship program. Most graduate students I work with pursue a degree the the Civil & Environmental Engineering graduate program, although I am welcome working on interdisciplinary projects with students of different backgrounds.

Undergraduate Students — Participating in research projects as an undergraduate is a great way to explore your interests, interact with professors outside the classroom, and gain practical skills in data analysis, organization, fieldwork, and collaborative project management. I welcome undergraduate students at UVM to contact me about possibilities for getting involved in research. There are many opportunities at UVM for work study and paid research internships either during the fall/spring semesters or as a full time summer position.

Research Group News

[Jan 2021] New paper out in Journal of Hydrology! Multivariate Event Time Series Analysis using Hydrological and Suspended Sediment Data led by Ph.D. student Ali Javed.

[Dec 2020] – Undergraduate researcher Linh Nguyen presented her poster “A Monitoring Tool for Analyzing Sediment Dynamics Using Water Turbidity Sensor Data” at the Fall 2020 AGU Conference

[Dec 2020] – Scott Hamshaw presented his talk “Watershed data science at the event scale: Machine learning for event concentration-discharge analysis” at the Fall 2020 AGU Conference.

[Nov 2020] – Scott Hamshaw presented “UAS Measurement of Streambank Erosion in the Lake Champlain Basin”as an invited speaker at the University of Manitoba GIS Day.

[Nov 2020] – New NSF Project collaboration with South Dakota State University. Testing a responsible innovation approach for integrating precision agriculture (PA) technologies with future farm workers and work. Recruiting a PhD student!

[Oct 2020] – New NSF funded Critical Zone Collaborative Network Big Data Cluster project is now recruiting graduate students. Join an interdisciplinary team from UVM, and six other universities that seeks to investigate the overlapping effects of disturbances on the Critical Zone. Follow on twitter @BigCzcn. Recruitment flyer

[Sep 2020] – New NSF Project funded! An ecologically inspired human-machine intelligence approach to recognizing similitude in multi-scale watershed research. Recruiting a PhD student!

[Aug 2020] – New website launched ( and new research group name: Engineering Hydrology & Environmental Sensing for advancing the study of the environment.