Research Scientist / Assistant Research Professor Positions in Hydrologic Modeling in a Cross-Institution Research Team 

We are seeking postdoctoral scientists to conduct integrated surface and groundwater modeling at regional scales at the University of Texas at Dallas (two positions) and Michigan State University (one position). Through these collaborative hires, Drs. David Hyndman (UTD) and Anthony Kendall (MSU) seek to create a core of scientific and modeling expertise, leading and enhancing the work of a vibrant team of graduate and undergraduate students. We have several collaborative research projects with researchers at multiple universities; projects include:

  • Understanding the hydrologic footprint of irrigated agricultural practices across the US, using model / data synthesis to understand paths toward sustainability.
  • Fusing integrated hydrologic models with remote sensing estimates of water storage to develop nowcast and reanalysis of groundwater levels and streamflow across the Great Lakes Region. 
  • Quantifying the combined effects of changes in land use and climate on hydrology across a region experiencing rapid urbanization. 
  • Developing hydrology, energy, agriculture, and ecosystem models to better understand the footprint of solar arrays, which are being rapidly installed in agricultural lands.

Applicants must have expertise in programming (such as Python, MATLAB, R, or FORTRAN), and a strong publication record. Prior hydrologic modeling experience is also required. Familiarity with groundwater modeling, data science, and spatial data analysis are desired. 

The initial positions are for one year (renewable based on performance). The MSU position will be a Postdoctoral Research Associate, with a long-term growth trajectory that could include promotion to Research Assistant Professor. At UTD, we are hiring at the Research Scientist level, however exceptional candidates with a strong record of successful grants may be hired as a Research Assistant Professor. These positions require writing peer-reviewed publications and research proposals to extend their position and help grow this interdisciplinary research team.

To apply, please submit: 1) an application letter detailing research interests and experiences, 2) a curriculum vitae, and 3) names and contact information for 3 references at: 

Please apply for only one of these positions. The search will remain open until suitable candidates are found, with a primary review of applications beginning on January 15, 2024. We will continue to review applicants after that date as well. For more information on the research conducted by this group, please visit For other inquiries email Dr. Anthony Kendall at MSU (

University of Texas at Dallas and Michigan State University are Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law and University policies.

Hydrogeology Lab Postdoc Search 2019


**Michigan State University and the Kansas Geological Survey/University of Kansas**

Position 1: Groundwater Sustainability Pathways for the High Plains Aquifer

Seeking a postdoctoral scholar with a passion for groundwater sustainability and a penchant for thinking big to help envision a sustainable future for the High Plains Aquifer. The successful candidate will lead integrated land surface-groundwater modelling efforts to evaluate agricultural practices for the past and future of the High Plains Aquifer at multiple spatial and temporal scales. The postdoc will be based at the Kansas Geological Survey (University of Kansas) and have the opportunity to collaborate widely within multi-institution NSF INFEWS and USDA NIFA projects to produce high-impact research.

This position is funded for 2 years with the opportunity for extension pending performance and funding availability, and includes an annual research/travel budget to support professional development. The preferred start date is September 2019 with flexibility for the right candidate. For more information, please contact Sam Zipper (

Position 2: Food, Energy, and Water in the Amazon and Mekong River Basins

Seeking a postdoctoral scholar ready to take on large-scale modeling challenges in data-limited regions. The Amazon and Mekong River Basins are undergoing rapid hydrologic, climatic, and land use changes, affecting two of the world’s most important hydrologic systems and the people and ecosystems dependent upon them. The postdoc will lead integrated surface- and groundwater-modelling efforts at both watershed and regional basin scales to better understand these vital systems, and how they are affected directly by dams and indirectly via land use and climate changes. The successful candidate will interact with two large, interdisciplinary project teams including multiple US institutions as well as international collaborators.

This position is funded for 2 years with the opportunity for extension pending performance and funding availability. The start date for this position can be as early as May 2019, with flexibility for the right candidate. For more information, please contact David Hyndman ( For more information on the research group, please visit

Position 3: Water, Agriculture, and Nutrients in the Great Lakes Basin and California Central Valley

Seeking a postdoctoral scholar eager to quantify the role of agricultural practices in water and nutrient cycling in diverse agricultural landscapes spanning the US and Canadian Great Lakes Basin, as well as California’s Central Valley. The postdoc will lead efforts to develop integrated surface- and groundwater-models for these two regions, and to integrate new capabilities into those models. In particular we are looking to add explicit nutrient cycling and transport, informed by existing nutrient surface application and statistical transport models. We are working in those regions with a variety of collaborators in disciplines including remote sensing, ecology, agronomy, sociology, and economics to better understand the role that agriculture plays in water resources.

This position is funded for 2 years with the opportunity for extension pending performance and funding availability. The start date for this position can be as early as May 2019, with flexibility for the right candidate. For more information, please contact David Hyndman ( For more information on the research group, please visit

Application Details and Required Qualifications

Common qualifications for all three positions include:

  • expertise in groundwater and/or land surface modelling;
  • ability to work both independently and collaboratively;
  • strong communication skills as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications/conference presentations; and
  • a water-related Ph.D. by the start date.

Experience with integrated models, GIS, and high-performance computing are considered a plus.

Unique qualifications by position include:

  • Position 1: Coding experience (any of Python, R, FORTRAN, MATLAB, C, etc.) is strongly desired, experience working in irrigated agricultural landscapes is a plus
  • Position 2: Coding experience (any of Python, R, FORTRAN, MATLAB, C, etc.) is required, knowledge of dam operations and management is a plus.
  • Position 3: Coding experience (any of Python, R, FORTRAN, MATLAB, C, etc.) is required, knowledge of irrigated agricultural landscapes and snow hydrology is a plus.

To apply, send Sam Zipper ( an email with the subject line ‘Water Postdoc’ and the following materials as a single PDF file:

  • Short (1-2 page) cover letter including which position(s) you would like to be considered for, why you are excited about them, and how you meet the qualifications.
  • Full CV.
  • Contact information for 3 references.

If you are interested in position 1, please also submit materials via the KU HR portal to – you can use the same cover letter for all 3 positions.

For full consideration, submit your application by April 15, but review of applications will continue until suitable candidates are found.

Michigan State University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law and University policy.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.

Ben McCarthy

Research Interests

My interests in hydrology include groundwater processes, geology and its influence on both surface and groundwater, and subsequent impacts on water use. My involvement in research focuses on the properties of large scale aquifers in the central continental United States. Measuring the relationship between water use and energy expenditure, using analytical methods to evaluate total energy expenditure in a region, more specifically; Kansas. Water and energy are the one of the most important factors that determine agricultural yield and efficiency, impacting all steps of the agricultural process. I’m interested in quantifying this process and evaluating the current methods involved in increasing efficiency on a large scale.

2018 Summer REU Student Position

Remotely Sensing Irrigation with Multi-Platform Imagery, Cloud Computing, and Machine Learning

Project Description

The Hydrogeology Lab at Michigan State University ( seeks a summer 2018 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student for a project involving remote sensing of irrigation, cloud computing, and machine learning algorithms. Irrigation is rapidly expanding in parts of the Midwestern US where farmers have traditionally been reliant on rainfed agriculture. The causes of this expansion are many: shifts in crop prices, new/different crops being grown, more efficient technologies, government incentives for adoption, and the desire to reduce risks from changing rainfall patterns. The effects of this rapid expansion will reverberate throughout the hydrologic cycle, impacting water supplies, stream flows, land-atmosphere feedbacks, and water quality.

This project consists of three primary components: 1) working with remote sensing data from different platforms within cloud-based tools such as Google Earth Engine, 2) developing a robust training and validation dataset for machine learning algorithms, and 3) helping to improve those algorithms and incorporate advances from the fields of deep learning and artificial intelligence.

Despite the importance of irrigation to the hydrologic cycle in agricultural regions, very little data are available on its spatial and temporal extent. Our lab has been working to create Annual Maps of Irrigation (AIM) in the High Plains Aquifer region, as well as within southwestern Michigan. Within this REU project, we seek to expand those efforts and apply data from latest generation satellite platforms to supplement more traditionally-used Landsat data for irrigation mapping. The REU student on this project would build upon existing methodologies within Google Earth Engine (GEE) to integrate these latest products.

Additionally, the student will work to develop more robust validation and training data for classification algorithms, including working with the MSU Kellogg Biological Station’s Long-Term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) personnel to identify farms being actively irrigated during the 2018 growing season in order to obtain in-season irrigation data. Other sources of data might include aerial imagery that would be used to provide development validation data for the machine-learning algorithms running on the GEE platform.

Deep learning, which is commonly used to refer to an advanced class of artificial neural network algorithms, has made tremendous strides in the fields of language, image, and pattern recognition. These developments are beginning to be applied to remote sensing applications both commercially, and within academia. We hope to improve on the machine learning algorithms previously used in our irrigation classification work by incorporating deep learning for irrigation detection.

Fellowship Description

The ideal candidate will be motivated and interested in developing research skills. Previous experience working with GIS/remote sensing data, and some exposure to coding with scripting languages (e.g. R, Python, MATLAB), would be beneficial. Regardless of background, the candidate must be eager to learn new techniques and be tenacious in the face of early setbacks. We will provide ample opportunities for guided self-instruction, and a community focused on similar topics and methods. Our lab is large (20+ active researchers at all levels) and active, working on projects spanning the Great Lakes, US, and the globe.

The position will be for 11 weeks, from May 21 – August 3, 2018 and will be based at MSU in East Lansing MI. The student will need to find housing on campus or nearby campus. The student will work on average 40 hours a week and receive a stipend of $8000 to cover housing, living expenses, travel to MSU, and up to $500 in research supplies. The stipend will be paid in two payments, June 15 and July 15, 2018. Any travel for field research, presentations, or meeting off campus will be covered by the mentor’s lab.

The student will be responsible for 1) meeting all requirements of their mentor, 2) writing a blog post about their research for the KBS LTER website, 3) attending a professional development seminar at KBS on creating research posters on July 10, and 4) presenting a professional research poster at the KBS summer research symposium on August 1, 2018 at KBS.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) program. Priority will be given to non-MSU students who may not have many research opportunities at their college or university and under-represented minority students. Please note, students must be a U.S. citizen to apply.

Apply by sending CV or resume, unofficial transcript, and a 1-page statement of interest describing why you are excited about this opportunity and what makes you an ideal candidate to Dr. Anthony Kendall at Apply by March 1, 2018 for full consideration, applicants will be accepted through March 15th, 2018. Please email Dr. Kendall or Dr. David Hyndman ( with any questions.

Developing and promoting water-, nutrient-, and climate-smart technologies to help agricultural systems adapt to climate and societal changes

Project Summary

Recent extreme weather events provide insight into future challenges for agricultural systems across parts of the US due to increasing climate variability. Growing irrigation demand, significant declines in groundwater levels across the High Plains, and inefficient use of fertilizers leading to nitrate leaching, N2O emission, and pollution of surface water are threats to the U.S. corn-soybean-wheat systems and the industries and ecosystems that depend on them. We are: i) developing and improving management strategies for a water-, nutrient-, and climate-smart agriculture; ii) creating and disseminating decision-support tools to help farmers use “Big Data” (e.g., yield maps and UAV sensors) to adapt to climate variability and increase their resiliency; iii) evaluating the economics of smart agriculture technologies and practices.

Our research integrates and experimentally tests a novel suite of biophysical and socioeconomic systems models to quantify interactions between climate, hydrology, and socioeconomic drivers of agricultural practices across the Upper Midwest and High Plains regions. Research, education, and extension activities in this project are providing accurate information for practical use by the general public, students, farmers, and decision makers to enable sustainable adaptation to and mitigation of temperature extremes, drought, and flooding. We are improving and deploying crop system models to evaluate a wide range of management options to optimize crop productivity while reducing water, N, and C footprints across spatial scales under a changing climate.

This work is being conducted in collaboration with Project Lead Investigator Bruno Basso.

Supported By

USDA logo

Jacob Roush

Research Interests

Human activity is drastically altering the planet we live on in ways that we don’t fully understand. I am interested in studying the effects of hydropower installation, changes in land use, and climate change on the hydrologic regime of the Mekong River Basin. Study of this system will give crucial insight into how human activity affects one of the world’s largest rivers and how we could further manage this system to sustainably provide fresh water for the millions who depend on it.


Curriculum Vitae – Jacob Roush

Brent Heerspink

Research Interests

I am a PhD candidate in the hydrogeology lab and a student intern with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Water Science Center in Lansing, MI. My research focuses on better understating water quality and water resources in the Great Lakes though integration of field and remotely sensed data with process-based hydrologic models. My work is focused in two primary research areas: 1) investigating the landscape characteristics and hydrologic processes controlling stream chemistry, with a focus on anthropogenic nutrients and, 2) interactions between the Great Lakes and Michigan’s terrestrial groundwater. I am also interested in the fate and transport of emerging contaminants, and how surface water-groundwater interactions affect aquatic habitats in both streams and wetlands. In addition to my current work, I am actively interested in connecting hunter- and angler-based conservation organizations to academic research hydrology and water quality, to advance habitat protection and restoration efforts.

I received my Bachelors in biology form Albion College, and my Masters in Earth and Environmental Science from MSU in 2020. Between my Bachelors and Masters degrees, I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division. My previous research has focused on the fate, transport, and remediation of organic contaminants in groundwater aquifers, nutrient biogeochemistry in groundwater discharge areas with stream channels, and the effects of land cover and climate change on water resources in the Brazilian Amazon. In addition to my academic interest in water, I’m an avid outdoorsman, and an active member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Ducks Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited.

Hydrogeology Lab Postdoc Search 2017

Postdoctoral Research Opportunities, Watershed Hydrologic Modeling at Michigan State University

We are hiring multiple postdoctoral associates to lead data analysis and modeling efforts for ongoing and new watershed hydrology projects at the Hydrogeology Lab at Michigan State University. The lab focuses on predicting the responses of hydrologic systems to changes in climate, landscape, and land management. In particular, we seek to develop and improve the tools to make these predictions, and to apply them to better understand how to improve sustainability of land use practices and adapt to future changes. Our highly interdisciplinary research is conducted in collaboration with researchers across MSU and universities nationwide.

The successful candidates will apply and develop cutting-edge methods in: real-time simulation, big-data compilation, processing, and analysis; modeling data-limited regions; improving landscape hydrologic models; and coupled process models of agriculture, ecosystems, and climate with hydrologic models. Applicants must have expertise in programming in a language such as Python, MATLAB, R, or FORTRAN. Prior hydrologic modeling experience is also required. Familiarity with GIS and spatial data analysis is desired, and big-data experience is a plus.

Postdoctoral researchers will be actively mentored toward their professional goals. We will work with the successful candidate to develop individualized mentoring plans focused on technical skills training, professional networking, establishing interdisciplinary collaborations, mentoring students, and eventual job placement.

We will begin reviewing applications on June 15, 2017, and the search will remain open until suitable candidates are found. Start date is flexible, with 2017 being preferred. For more information on the research group, please visit

To apply, please send an application letter detailing research interest and experiences, curriculum vitae, and names of 3 references (with telephone numbers and email addresses) to:

Please direct questions about the positions to Dr. David Hyndman ( and cc all correspondence to

Michigan State University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law and University policy.

Xiao Liu

XiaoPersonal History

Growing up near a beautiful coast in China, I gained my love for water and rocks. Studying in major about soil and water presented a good basic for my research. I have a strong desire to learn more about nature and help to improve the environment. Satellite-based Estimates of Groundwater Depletion in India by Matthew Rodell published in Nature in 2009 attracted my attention on ground water, which shown in the article, changed more considerably than surface water in India. It is significantly important and challenging, so I made my decision to focus on groundwater more than surface water in my following career.

Research Interests

I am interested in exploring groundwater and how to use groundwater best for human.  I’m currently focused on coupling human and natural systems and improve water resources sustainability in metropolis.


  • M.S.   Michigan State University                       Environmental Geosciences                 2013-Present
  • M.S.   Beijing Normal University, China          Hydrology and Water Resources        2010-2013
  • B.S.    Beijing Forestry University, China         Soil and Water Conservation              2006-2010

Complete CV

Download my complete CV

Kayla Cotterman

kayla_imageResearch Interests

I am interested in studying the High Plains Aquifer through the CLASS project.  Some of the aspects that intrigue me include the effect of climate change as well as the economic impact of the aquifer.  I will use various models to study the aquifer’s changes throughout time such as rate of depletion and recharge.


  • B.S. Atmospheric Science, Purdue University, 2013
    Certificate, Learning Beyond the Classroom, Purdue University, 2013

Lin Liu

LinLin Liu is a masters student in the Department of Geological Sciences. Before she came to Michigan State University, she had pursued a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science from Sichuan University (P.R China). She studied at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry for a one-year exchange program and participated in the “MELNHE” project. During her course of education, she identified her professional goal as understanding biophysical processes and integrating social aspects with the natural system. Currently, she is using modeling technique to understand swichgrass cultivation impact on Michigan’s water resources for her thesis.  Click here to view her resume.

Complete CV

Download my complete CV.

Laura Bailey

LauraI grew up in Elk, Rapids, a small town in Northern, Michigan located on Grand Traverse Bay. Growing up so close to Lake Michigan and spend a lot of my time. This experience made me develop a strong appreciation for environmental quality and I wanted to apply my interest in the environment to my career. Now I am a senior in my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University.  I plan to graduate in the spring of 2014 with my degree in Environmental Engineering with a concentration on water resources. I have been working in the hydrogeology lab since January 2013.

Download my complete resume.

Henry Whitenack

IMG_1502Henry Whitenack is a junior from Troy, MI, pursuing an Environmental Geosciences major with a Specialization in Environmental Studies.  Henry found interest in nature at a young age, going on camping trips with his family, picking up rocks wherever he went. His Environmental Studies class in High School strongly influenced him in pursuing his major. He plans on going into a Master’s program after completing undergraduate studies at MSU. Along with geology, Henry enjoys the outdoors and is an avid US National Men’s Soccer Team fan.

Jillian Deines

DeinesCoringCoupled Human-Water Systems

My research integrates the biophysical, socioeconomic, and political components of human water use to inform sustainable water management. I use satellite remote sensing and economic data to drive physical models of human-water systems, including agricultural and urban water uses. These systems models are then used to understand human water use, governance, and the associated impacts on water resources.


Personal Website

Deines Curriculum Vitae – September 2017



  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, May 2013 – present
    Environmental Geosciences
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 2009
    Thesis: Conservation management under climate change: on tropical drought resistance, non-native species response to increasing disturbance, and assisted migration
    Advisor: Jessica J. Hellmann
  • B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Saint Louis University, 2006
    Minor: Anthropology


NASA Wetland Gauges

Since 2011, MSU has been collecting data from a network of 14 stream and wetland gauges spanning over 500 miles of Great Lakes coastline to try and understand the dynamic relationship between nutrients and landscape features where surface and groundwaters intersect. Furthermore, we are using the presence of Phragmites at some of the gauge sites to take a close look at how this invasive species may be impacting the ecosystem and driving nutrient exchange.

This project is funded by NASA, in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech Research Institute.

Wisconsin Flow Gauges

The field sites in Wisconsin are part of a project to research the groundwater quality and quantity implications of biofuel crop production.  Two watersheds, one agricultural and one forested, have approximately 17 sites each where stream discharge measurements, water samples, and basic chemical measurements are taken twice annually.  Three of the sites in the agricultural watershed also have stream gauges installed that continuously record temperature and pressure using data loggers. This work is being conducted along with partners at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

We would like to acknowledge the USGS for funding this research.