Current and recent research team members (last five years)

Lab Manager

Dorothy NobleDorothy Noble (2005 - 2018) Dorothy Noble received her BA degree from CU-Boulder in EPO Biology and her MS degree in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho.  Dorothy participated in research projects in the Canadian Arctic, Nicaragua and the Pacific Northwest before spending 12 years at the City & County of Broomfield as a Water Quality Chemist.  She managed the DeRISK Center labs   and participated in water quality research projects, specifically on disinfection by-product formation research.   She currently works for CU-Boulder managing the Environmental Engineering research laboratories at SEEL and on the main campus. In her spare time, Dorothy enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids.



Post-Doctoral Research Associates

Matt BentleyMatt Bentley (current)
Matt received his BS in Engineering from Union University and his MS and PhD from the University of Colorado (see below). He is a EVEN instructor and teaches the Contaminant Fate and Transport lab course, Environmental Organic Chemistry, and guest lectures in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene. He also works on the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) project evaluating future opportunities for water reuse in oil/gas and mining industries as well as in low- and middle-income countries with Professor Karl Linden in the Global Engineering Program. In addition, he is leading a research project funded by the Bureau of Reclamation evaluating the application of biochar for the adsorption of organic micropollutants. Finally, Matt is leading research on global pollution and public health and is developing tools for rapid chemical risk assessment in low- and middle-income countries. Matt currently is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow – WASH Specialist for USAID – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and a research fellow in EVEN.


Rosa YuRosa (Yun) Yu (2017-2019)

Rosa is originally from Shanghai, China. She received both her MS and PhD degrees in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research at UMass was focused on the formation and degradation kinetics and mechanisms of non-regulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in municipal drinking water systems and their association with public health concerns. Rosa joined CU Boulder as a postdoctoral research associate in 2016 and worked on projects looking at the physical and chemical transformation of soil organic matter due to forest fires and the role of pyrogenic organic matter as emerging DBP precursors. From 2017-2019 her research at CU Boulder focused on the evaluation of water conservation on water quality in premise plumbing and water distribution systems regarding health-relevant parameters, including DBPs and opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens. In addition she was involved in research projects investigating the control of DBP precursors through ozonation, biofiltration, and granular activated carbon (GAC) in wastewater reuse scenarios. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking in the Rockies and jigsaw puzzling. She currently works for Carollo Engineers.

Doctoral Students

NadiaNadia Jorgenson (in progress)

Nadia is Tunisian-American and received her BS in Chemical & Biological Engineering at CU Boulder in 2020. After completing an undergraduate research project on ion-exchange for heavy metal removal with Prof. Korak through the SPUR program, Nadia decided to pursue graduate school in environmental engineering to study water quality.  Her research focus is on the activated carbon adsorption of unregulated disinfection-by products, especially in water reuse scenarios. She was the recipient of the 2021 AWWA-AECOM Fellowship. Outside of school, Nadia enjoys hiking, skiing, and traveling to new places.



Eric PetersonEric Peterson, PE (2022) co-advised with Professor Sherri Cook
Eric is a native of Washington state and received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington in 2011, then worked as a civil engineer for KPFF Consulting Engineers primarily on urban site development and military design-build projects. He is also active in the Engineering for Developing Communities program at CU Boulder, including as a planning committee member for the annual Colorado Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Symposium hosted by CU. Eric's research interests are in biofiltration and applications in small and decentralized water reuse treatment systems. He has been funded by the DeRISK Center and a Dean’s Fellowship. Outside of school he enjoys spending time with his wife, Hannah, hiking in the Rockies, and hoping that this year will finally be the  Mariners'year.


Kelsey ReevesKelsey Reeves (2021) co-advised with Professor Balaji Rajagopalan
Kelsey received her BS degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Immediately after, she came to CU Boulder to pursue her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research focused on modeling water quality from a watershed perspective. Kelsey was initially funded by a USEPA/WRF project titled “An Integrated Modeling and Decision Framework to Evaluate Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Drinking Water Utility Management under Drought and Climate Change” and final reserach funded by her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Kelsey’s research entails modeling total organic carbon concentrations in influent of drinking water treatment plants using climate and land surface predictors. Kelsey was very active in the Mortenson Center for Global Engineering and has served as the student representative to their executive committee. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, bike riding, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Currently she works as a water resources consultant for the World Bank.


Matthew BentleyMatt Bentley (2020)
Matt received his BS in Engineering from Union University with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering, and he participated on a number of community development research projects during his time there. He was  part of the CU Engineering for Developing Communities program and was very active in organizing the CU WASH Symposium the in 2017 and 2018. His experiences in refugee resettlement, relief, and development have led him to conduct research in sustainable water treatment in the developing world. Matt is researching biochar, a low-cost alternative to activated carbon, for the removal of trace organic contaminants in the environment, and his research was funded through the NSF GK-12 Fellowship and a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Matt also works with Yunnan Coffee Traders, a specialty coffee company committed to developing communities in rural Yunnan, China. When he is not in the lab, you would most likely to find him rock climbing in the Flatirons, backpacking a remote trail, or enjoying a quality cup of coffee. Matt currently is an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow – WASH Specialist for USAID – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and a research fellow in EVEN.


Kyle ThompsonKyle Thompson (2018) co-advised with Professor Sherri CookKyle received his B.S. in Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology in 2013.  Kyle interned at the A. B. Jewell Water Treatment Plant in Tulsa, OK and Betasso Water Treatment Plant in Boulder, CO. He received a M.S. in environmental engineering with a graduate certificate in Engineering for Developing Communities from the University of Colorado Boulder.  He has worked with Second Mile Water in Nicaragua and travelled to Bolivia and Peru with Engineers Without Borders. He was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and his PhD research area was in greywater treatment utilizing biochar adsorption, biofiltration, chlorination and coagulation. Kyle is currently at the research lab of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.



Leigh TerryP. Leigh Gilmore Terry (2017)
Leigh is from the south (specifically, Alabama) and received her BS degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama and her MS degree in environmental engineering from CU-Boulder. While at CU-Boulder, Leigh was funded by a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award,  the DeRISK Center and was awarded a USEPA STAR Fellowship. Through the EDC program she spent time in Uganda and Kenya to work on environmental systems within schools and through the DeRISK Center time at University of Sheffield, UK. Her research area is biological treatment in the drinking water context with a focus on life cycle analysis. In her spare time, you could find her running the trails of Boulder and skiing the slopes of Colorado. Leigh joined the Civil Engineering Faculty at the University of Alabama in 2018 as an assistant professor.


Kyle ShimabukuKyle Shimabuku (2017)

Kyle is from southern California and received his BS in civil engineering from San Diego State University and his MS in environmental engineering from the CU-Boulder. His work focused on adsorption of organic contaminants from drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater using traditional and low-cost adsorbents,biochar, that could be applied in both developed and developing countries. His work was been funded by USEPA STAR Fellowship, as well as an NWRI Fellowship and the AWWA American Water Scholarship. He has research experience in Arequipa, Peru (NSF-IRES), Mastatal, Costa Rica, and Mundri, South Sudan. He has also taught two courses, environmental organic chemistry and WASH, during his doctoral program. In his free time Kyle enjoys snowboarding, volleyball, surfing, and eating Professor Summers' cooking. Kyle currently is an assistant professor at Gonzaga University.


Josh KearnsJosh Kearns (2016)
Josh grew up in a working-class household in a small town in West Virginia. From a young age he witnessed environmental damage done by resource extraction and industry along with economic hardship endured by rural communities. Josh has a BS in Chemistry from Clemson University and an MS in Biogeochemistry from UC-Berkeley. Prior to coming to CU-Boulder, Josh became the Director of Science for Aqueous Solutions, a NGO based in Thailand and the US that promotes livelihood security, environmental and economic sustainability, and local self-reliance through appropriate technologies in WASH.  While at CU-Boulder Josh received funding from the CU Chancellor's Fellowship for Research, as well as a USEPA STAR Fellowship. His dissertation is entitled "Biochar adsorbent for control of synthetic organic contaminants in affordable decentralized water treatment." He is also passionate about playing bluegrass and traditional Appalachian old-time music on the mandolin. Josh is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering in Global WASH at the North Carolina State University.

Carleigh SampsonCarleigh Samson (2016) co-advised with Professor Balaji Rajagopalan
Carleigh is from Rhode Island and received her BS degree in mathematics from McGill University in Montreal, her MA degree in education from John’s Hopkins University, and her MS degree in civil (environmental) engineering at CU-Boulder. While at CU-Boulder, Carleigh was funded by a NSF GK-12 Fellowship and was the lead editor of the TeachEngineering digital library. She also received funding from the AWWA-WITAF. Her PhD dissertation is titled “Modeling Relationships between Climate, Source Water Quality and Disinfection Byproduct Formation and Speciation in Treated Drinking Water”. In her spare time, Carleigh is an avid skateboarder and has appeared in some local skateboard videos. She currently works for Corona Environmental Consulting as a Water Process Engineer.



MS students (research based)

MichaelMichael Hernandez (in progress)
Michael is from Houston, Texas and received his BS in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Michael was an intern at the City of Aurora's Binney Water Purification Facility where he worked on the activated carbon pilot plant. His research evaluates the control of organic contaminants, with a focus in PFAS removal with GAC. He was the recipient of the 2021 AWWA Camp Fellowship. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and skiing. After finishing, Michael will join CDM Smith in Denver.





Yiqun YaoYiqun Yao (2020)
Yiqun is from Guangzhou, China and completed her BS degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her MS research focus has been on the coagulation of organic matter from the wastewater treatment plant effluents. In addition to running coagulation experiments in the lab, she compiled literature results in an effort to develop a model that will predict the removal of organic matter as a function of coagulant type and dose. In her free time, she likes to playing puzzles, skiing and playing with her dog.  Yiqun is currently a doctoral student at Colorado State University.



Marylia Duarte BatistaMarylia Duarte Batista (2020)
Marylia is from Uberaba, Brazil and completed her BS in Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro. During the course of her undergraduate education, she was admitted to a Brazilian mobility program, which provided a full scholarship for a year of study at University of Colorado Boulder. In Brazil, she focused her research in the use of hydrodynamic cavitation for microalgae inactivation. Marylia worked on a project entitled “Water Conservation and Water Quality: Understanding the Impacts of New Technologies and New Operational Strategies” funded by USEPA, and investigated the impacts of water conservation on water quality in premise plumbing and hot water systems. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities. Marylia currently works at the National Institute of Standards in Gaithersburg, MD as a research engineer.



Allison FryAllison Fry (2020)
Allison is from Plankinton, South Dakota and completed her B.S. degree in Civil Engineering at South Dakota State University where she worked as a wastewater treatment plant operator while earning her B.S. degree. While earning her M.S. degree at CU, Allison interned at the Aurora Water - Binney Water Purification Facility and her research focused on the control of organic matter by biofiltration and activated carbon adsorption. In her spare time, Allison enjoys skiing, hiking and camping with her dogs, and baking pastries. Allison currently works for Kennedy Jenks Consultants.



Steven ShiokariSteven Shiokari (2018)
Steven is from San Jose, CA and completed his BA in Applied Mathematics at Azusa Pacific University. He is in the Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) certificate program and has worked with small-scale community water systems in Zambia. Steven’s  research focused on the use of ozonation and biofiltration for water reuse treatment. In his spare time, Steven enjoys skiing, climbing, trail running, hiking. Steven currently works for Brown and Caldwell.




Ben MurphyBen Murphy (2018)
Ben is originally from the suburbs of Chicago, and he received his BA in Ecology from CU-Boulder before beginning his MS in Environmental Engineering.  He also previously completed a BM in Music Composition and Music Technology at the University of Montana - Missoula.  His research focused on the chemical activation of biochar for removal of organic contaminants in water.  In his spare time, Ben enjoys writing and recording music, playing with his adorable dog, hiking, and camping. Ben currently works with Carollo Engineers.



Audrey YoungAudrey Young (2018)
Audrey is originally from the suburbs of Chicago and received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.  She worked for three years in the industrial water treatment designing chemical treatment systems for cooling towers and boilers for institutional buildings.  While in the field, Audrey developed a passion for the water industry and developing water conservation solutions.  In addition, Audrey became interested in building water quality management.  At the University of Colorado, Audrey worked on the USEPA funded project “Water Conservation and Water Quality: Understanding the Impacts of New Technologies and New Operational Strategies,” investigating the effects of water conservation on building water quality.  In her spare time, Audrey is an avid baker, mediocre gardener, kickboxer, traveler and outdoors enthusiast. Audrey currently works with Carollo Engineers.



Sierra JohnsonSierra Johnson (2018)
Sierra is from Laramie, WY and completed her BS in Civil Engineering and BA in African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of Wyoming. She was in the Engineering in Developing Communities certificate program and served on the Colorado WASH Symposium planning committee. Sierra’s MS thesis was on the  adsorption of disinfection byproduct precursors by activated carbon as part of a water reuse approach. Outside of school, Sierra enjoys ballet class and whitewater rafting. She currently works for Corona Environmental Consulting as a Water Process Engineer.



John MeyerJohn Meyer (2016)
John is originally from Colorado Springs, CO. He completed his BS in environmental engineering at CU Boulder in 2014 and continued on with his MS degree. He earned certificates in International Engineering (Spanish) and Water Engineering & Management. As a graduate student, John worked for the USEPA funded DeRISK Center. His thesis was titled "Drinking Water Risk Assessment: Public Health Impacts of Alternative Disinfection Byproduct Control Strategies." During his time at CU John worked on projects in Peru and Nicaragua with several student organizations. In his free time he enjoys snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and hiking. John currently works for Carollo Engineers.



Nathan YangNathan Yang (2016)
Nathan is from Northern California and received his B.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from UC Davis. While at CU-Boulder, Nathan worked as part of the DeRISK Center. His master's thesis was titled “Evaluation of Adsorptive and Biological Mode DBP Removal in Activated Carbon Filters”. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys playing beach volleyball on the beaches of Southern California. He currently works for the Los Angeles Sanitation Districts as an Engineering Associate.




Ben GreinerBen Greiner (2016)
Ben is from Buena Vista, CO, and completed his BS in civil engineering, followed by an MS focused in environmental engineering, both at CU Boulder. He earned certificates in Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC), International Engineering (Spanish), and Applied Business. He received graduate scholarships from the CU Norlin Scholars program, WateReuse CO, and the Mortenson Center in EDC. During the course of his CU Boulder education, Ben worked on small- and  medium-scale water and sanitation projects through three different organizations in Peru, Nicaragua, and Rwanda, with a cumulative total of six months in the field. Ben's MS thesis was titled "Thermal Regeneration of Biochar for the Adsorption of Synthetic Organic Contaminants in the Presence of Dissolved Organic Matter". In his spare time, Ben loves to be in the mountains, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, running, or backpacking. He currently works for Water for People.


Riley MulhernRiley Mulhern (2016)
Riley grew up in Denver, CO and received his BS degree in physics and geology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. After a six-month internship in Nicaragua where he studied quality of drinking water sources in an area affected by natural arsenic contamination, he returned to Colorado to pursue his MS in Environmental Engineering at CU Boulder. While at CU he received funding from the Water Research Foundation and studied activated carbon adsorption of wastewater-derived NDMA precursors. When he was not in the lab at CU he was enjoying the outdoors as much as possible climbing, camping, fly-fishing, and skiing. He now lives in Oruro, Bolivia with his wife where he works for an environmental justice nonprofit addressing issues of mining contamination in indigenous communities. He currently is a PhD student at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina.



Paige PruisnerPaige Pruisner (2016)
Paige is from Boulder, Colorado and received her B.S. in Environmental Engineering and MS in Civil Engineering (environmental engineering) from the CU- Boulder. She has numerous research experiences, including working at the Southern Nevada Water Authority where she completed her thesis research. Her  thesis wastitled "Assessing Trace Organic Contaminant Removal Trends in Biologically Active Filters at Multiple Stages". Her research was funded by the Water Research Foundation. She has presented her research results at several conferences. Paige is passionate about mentoring young women in STEM fields and spending time in the great outdoors. She regularly volunteers on environmental restoration and sustainable trail building projects in Colorado. She currently works at Golder Associates.



Undergraduate and, external and research report MS students

  • Dana Coe (undergraduate) 2020-
  • Isabelle Sexton (undergraduate) 2019
  • Alex Nolan (undergraduate) 2017 -
  • Powel Hinson (undergraduate) 2018 -
  • Luisa Fernanda Alarcón Vargas (visiting MS student), Alarcón Balsell's Fellow, Rovira i Virgili University, Spain 2016
  • Connor Brossart (Undergraduate), Summer 2016-2017
  • Nathan MacArthur (MS research report), Summer 2016-2017
  • Julian Paige (Undergraduate), Summer Multicultural Access to Research Training (SMART) program, Summer 2016
  • Marisol Luna (Undergraduate), NSF – Research Experience for Undergraduates, Summer 2015