UCOWR recognizes nine award categories: Warren A. Hall Medal, Early Career Award for Applied Research, Early Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement, Mid-Career Award for Applied Research, Mid-Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement, Friends of UCOWR, Education and Public Service Award, Ph.D. Dissertation Award, and JCWRE Paper of the Year. Recipients are nominated by UCOWR delegates and are recognized during the Awards Banquet at the Annual Conference. Awards may not be given if no nominations were submitted or a deserving recipient was not identified.
Dr. David R. DeWalle is an Emeritus Professor of Forest Hydrology at the Pennsylvania State University with the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in forest resources from University of Missouri and Ph. D. in 1969 from Colorado State University in watershed science. At Penn State he taught courses in watershed management, snow hydrology and forest microclimatology. He served as major thesis advisor to over 50 M.S. and Ph. D. students. Dr. DeWalle’s research covered a broad range of topics related to forest hydrology and ecosystem health including impacts of acidic atmospheric deposition. Along with faculty colleagues he conducted field studies that provided early evidence that acidic deposition was leading to episodic acidification of Appalachian mountain streams and mortality of native brook trout. Teaching and research experiences led to publication of numerous papers, books, and reports authored by Dr. DeWalle. He participated in research collaboration and book writing while on sabbatical leaves at the University of Canterbury, NZ; University of East Anglia, UK; and USDA-ARS in MD and NM. During his career Dr. DeWalle also served in several other professional capacities including Director of the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center, advisor of the Penn State AWRA award-winning student chapter and national AWRA President in 2006.
Dr. Jonathan A. Czuba, P.E., is an Assistant Professor of Watershed Engineering in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities during which time he was awarded an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, Edward Silberman Fellowship, and Alvin G. Anderson Award. He also holds a M.S. and B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has over 5 years of experience working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Illinois and Washington State. His research focuses on the development and application of modeling tools to predict the transport and fate of sediment and nutrients in rivers and inform river management, including: 1) understanding the fundamentals of stream and floodplain restoration, 2) transport on the branching structure of river networks, and 3) how water and sediment affect and are affected by plants, fish, and mussels.
Receiving Honorable Mention in Early Career Applied Research
Dr. Erfan Goharian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at University of South Carolina and director of the iWERS lab. Before joining University of South Carolina, during his postdoctoral research at the University of California Davis, he led the research on re-operation of integrated water systems in California as a part of University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative (UC Water). Dr. Goharian received his Ph.D. with emphasize on Water Resources Management from University of Utah. His research advances innovative techniques to improve informed management of smart water resources systems using artificial intelligence and systems engineering techniques. He has built various complex quantitative and computational models with the support of multi-source heterogenous data for the purpose of providing enhanced knowledge needed to better understand and manage interactions in coupled human-natural systems. Dr. Goharian and his team explore alternatives beyond utilization of traditional methods and existing structures to consider technical, social, political, and economic dimensions.
No recipient for 2023
Dr. Matthew Gribble is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, where he leads a research and teaching program in environmental epidemiology. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. He is broadly interested in how drinking water chemistry affects population health outcomes and has an interest in drought health effects research. His research has been funded by the United States Geological Survey, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He enjoys collaborating with hydrologists and engineers.
2023 Mid-Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement
Dr. Jake Mowrer currently works with clientele across the state of Texas on issues related to soil nutrient and water resource management. Daily activities run the gamut from applied field research to public outreach and education on best practices in rural and urban settings. Demonstrating for farmers the importance of nutrient stewardship and cultural practices that improve water capture and use-efficiency is also a big part of the job. Research activities include projects that focus on the intersection of water-smart and climate-smart agricultural practices and how they enhance or undermine desired outcomes regarding nutrient and carbon cycling. In his spare time, he enjoys playing jazz mandolin and brewing beer.
Dr. Daniel L. Devlin recently retired from Kansas State University where he served as the Department Head, Western Kansas Research and Extension Centers and Director, Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment and the Kansas Water Resources Institute. Dan is also an emeritus Professor in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. He specializes in Great Plains agriculture: his research analyzes the impact of climate change on grazing systems in the southern Great Plains, the sustainability of the Ogallala Aquifer, pesticide surface and ground water movement, watershed planning, and best management practices for soil erosion and pesticide usage. He has published over 125 scientific publications and received over $40 million in extramural grant funding. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and in 2019 received the USDA Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for the most Outstanding Research Project. He has international experience, working in Belarus, China, Costa Rica, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia and Ukraine. He received his BS and MS degrees from Kansas State University and his Ph.D. from Washington State University. He is a native of Smith County, Kansas.
Dr. Michael Kuitu is an Extension Program Specialist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Mr. Kuitu is a licensed Professional Geoscientist in Texas, a Certified Floodplain Manager, and holds two degrees and a graduate certificate from Texas A&M University: Master of Water Management and Hydrologic Science, Bachelor of Environmental Geoscience, and Graduate Certificate in Business. Michael’s career has centered on water resource/water quality management and remediation, included geoscientific review of contaminated soil and groundwater remediation cases overseen by the TCEQ. Currently, Michael is the Program Coordinator for the Texas Watershed Steward (TWS) program, a non-point source pollution mitigation education program funded by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As coordinator of the TWS program, he is responsible for facilitating and educating stakeholder groups to participate in the development of watershed protection plans and other water resource restoration and protection projections throughout Texas.
Natural Science & Engineering Category
Dr. David Gold is a postdoctoral researcher in Environmental and Water Resources Systems (EWRS) engineering at Cornell University. David’s research focuses on infrastructure planning under conditions of uncertainty, such as those stemming from climate change and population growth. A key focus of his work is the human dimensions of water supply planning problems, including equity, power dynamics, and financial risk. David is originally from Rhode Island and received a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Lafayette College. After graduating from Lafayette, he worked for several years with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, designing sustainable stormwater management practices for agricultural areas. He completed his Ph.D. at Cornell in 2022, his dissertation is titled “Advancing regional water supply planning to develop robust, adaptive, equitable, and cooperatively stable infrastructure investment and management pathways.”
Receiving Honorable Mention in Natural Science & Engineering
Dr. Kyungmin (Kay) Sung is a hydro-climatologist whose research focuses on hydrologic extreme trends under anthropogenic climate change overlaid on natural variability. Her current research is to analyze longer term pattern of drought trends around the world using various types of datasets. She earned her Ph.D. in Civil, Environmental, and Geodetics Engineering at the Ohio State University. Her dissertation is titled “Modeling Multi-centennial Nonstationary Variability in Meteorological Drought and Pluvials: Linking Paleoclimate, Observations, and Future projections.” Before coming to OSU, she earned M.A at Purdue University, and B.A at Yonsei University in South Korea. She currently works as a post-doc at the Ohio State University.
Dr. Esther Lee is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida, working with Prof. Cohen on wetland hydrologic connectivity. She was previously a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she worked with Prof. Kumar. Her doctoral work includes the impact of moisture transport through plant roots on the water use of coexisting vegetation species in a semiarid climate. She is currently conducting research in collaboration with wetland modeling and experimental synthesis to examine the patterns of wetland hydrologic connectivity across coastal-plain wetlandscapes. Her research interest includes ecosystem resilience to climate variability and ecohydrological processes in critical zones spanning from dry to wet ecosystems.
Water Policy & Economics Category
Dr. Anna Gitter received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Water Management and Hydrological Science from Texas A&M University. During her Ph.D., she also worked as a Research Specialist for the Texas Water Resources Institute and developed watershed management plans for impaired waterbodies in Texas. During her graduate education, she developed an interest in integrating water quality data to inform public health decision-making and is currently pursuing a postdoc at the El Paso Campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston School of Public Health. Dr. Gitter’s research interests include quantitative microbial risk assessment, water resources management, food safety, and risk communication. Her dissertation, titled “Evaluating microbial risks in private wells and recreational waters”, explores water quality issues adversely impacting drinking and recreational water sources through risk assessment and survey approaches.
Michael Schramm is a research specialist with the Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas A&M AgriLife Research. He provides modeling, data science, data visualization, and stakeholder support for the Institute’s watershed planning and assessment work. Michael’s research interests include evaluating outcomes and efficacy of water quality programs, policies, and regulation. He is also involved in the development and maintenance of open-source software tools for water quality research. Prior to arriving at Texas, A&M, he earned degrees in Biology and Environmental Science at UNC-Wilmington, a Master of Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, and completed a postgraduate research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he supported research on the federal licensing and environmental mitigation of U.S. hydropower facilities.