Students


cwe people



katie zemlickHello, my name is Katie Zemlick and I am a Ph.D. student in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico. As a native Michigander, I have always been fascinated by water and environmental issues unique to arid regions. I am beyond excited to be a part of UNM’s CREST-funded Center for Water and the Environment because of its integrated approach to water research in a region of great water-related complexity. My current research interests are related to understanding the interdependencies between water and energy development, in particular, the use of spatial analysis and system dynamics modeling to quantify these relationships in order to aid in decision support. Before returning to graduate school, I worked as a contracted environmental scientist for Sandia National Laboratory where my work focused on non-traditional water sources for thermoelectric cooling, water availability for electricity transmission planning, and renewable energy modeling. I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies from Prescott College and my Master of Water Resources (MWR) with a hydroscience concentration from the University of New Mexico. In my free time, I enjoy skiing, reading, and traveling to places with great food and minimal cell phone reception.



LaurenHello, my name is Lauren (Lo) Jaramillo. I am pursing a Ph.D. in Engineering, Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering at the University of New Mexico. I have a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology from Stanford and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico. My research focus is on the impacts of forest management and wildfires on the hydrologic processes in headwater watersheds. My research as well as the research from the center has the potential to help management decisions which could positively influence the region by protecting human health and securing water resources. As a native of the Southwest and the daughter of a rancher, I have always had a passion and understanding of the importance of water in the West. I am delighted to be a part of the CREST Center for Water and the Environment because I believe in the minority outreach and research goals of the center. In my free time I enjoy watching collegiate and professional sports, going to the ranch, running/working-out, and spending time with family and friends.



MichelleHello, my name is Michelle Miller. I have earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2012. I am currently pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Engineering under the mentorship of Dr. Kerry Howe. My research is focusing on membrane fouling in a bench scale direct contact membrane distillation system.

I am excited to be a part of CREST because I get to be included in a connected group composed of faculty and students that are working on different projects, but come together to share ideas and plan events. Receiving a CREST fellowship allows for my research ideas to come to life in the form of reliable lab equipment which is thrilling since membrane distillation has the potential to remove all water constituents including PPCP’s and EDC’s while lowering energy and cost of current membrane processes! Some activities I enjoy during my free time are playing sports, hiking with my dog, snowboarding, going to concerts, busting a sweat at the gym, drawing, and reading.



JourdanHello, my name is Jourdan Adair. I am a recent graduate from the University of New Mexico (UNM) where I received a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an Honors Designation in Interdisciplinary Studies. Because of my love for the southwest and interest in regional water issues, I remained at UNM and am currently pursuing an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering. I work as a Research Assistant with my advisor Dr. Mark Stone studying the impacts of river engineering on floodwave attenuation in the Middle Rio Grande. Within the CREST project, I am working with other students to create a mobile, public education trailer called a Water Activity Vehicle and Experience (WAVE). The WAVE trailer will contain demonstrations and activities focused on water-related issues while providing opportunities for outreach to encourage students to pursue STEM fields. Apart from my passion for water and engineering, I enjoy traveling, reading, exploring local coffee shops, and spending time outdoors with my German Shepherd and seven chickens. I am honored to be a member of the CREST team, a team that inspires collaboration within the department, across campus, and outwards into the community.


NataliaMy name is Natalia Sanabria. I am a graduate student in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of New Mexico. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez in 2007. I worked for 2 years as a Project Manager and 3 years in Permits and Planning. After gaining this valuable experience in the public sector, I decided to pursue my M.S. in Civil Engineering. Over the past two years, I have worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Vanessa Valentín. My research interest focuses in asset management, disaster management and decision-making frameworks. I am excited to be part of the CREST program were I will be able to work in such an interdisciplinary environment. Within the CREST I will have the opportunity to focus my research on the impact of wildfires on both built and natural water infrastructure. In my free time I enjoy getting to know the New Mexico and its many wonderful outdoors adventures.



MaggieHello, my name is Maggie Sims. I received my B.S. in Management in 2006 from New Mexico Tech. After that time, I worked in public relations for a few years before returning to school to study engineering. I’m now pursuing my M.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus on Environmental Engineering. My research centers on silica removal during reverse osmosis pretreatment. More specifically, I’m looking at the impact of employing a solids recycle line during the removal process to study whether or not silica removal can be improved. The presence of silica in water can be a nuisance in certain applications – industrial manufacturing, reverse osmosis treatment, and mining and natural gas operations – so the issue of improved silica removal is a crucial one. It’s exciting to be working on research that will contribute to CREST initiatives. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, yoga, reading, and learning the ukulele.



CameronHello, my name is Cameron Herrington. I received my B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and will graduate with a MS in Civil Engineering this upcoming May. At the same time that I am completing my M.S. degree I will already be enrolled as a Ph.D. student and I expect to complete my post-doctoral studies by May, 2019. I am currently researching nutrient spiraling in small and large order streams within New Mexico as well as developing new algorithms to improve rainfall/runoff modeling in semi-arid watersheds. CREST allows me to focus directly on the topics of my research and to study how climate change or anthropogenic influences are impacting the natural systems right in our own backyard (the Middle Rio Grande Valley). As mean global air temperatures rise the extent of semi-arid zones worldwide are expected to increase, which makes NM an ideal location to investigate ecosystem responses to these changes. My free time is spent with my wife and two sons, cycling, gardening, working on home improvement projects, online gaming, and discovering new micro-brewing recipes.



PhillipMy name is Philip Roveto, and I am a Master's student in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico. My research focus is on enhancing physio-chemical interactions between bacteria and synthesized polymer constructs in an effort to foster biofilm growth and improve oxidative and reductive processes in wastewater systems. I received a B.A. with distinction in Chemistry from Boston University and while employed at Amgen, worked on a variety of small molecule research and development projects. As a medicinal chemist, I focused primarily on Alzheimer’s disease, and various cancer instigators, such as VEGF and MDM2, constructing enzymatic targets with respect to biological assay analysis. I am excited to be a member of the CREST collaboration because I value the benefits that analytical science can offer to the health of global ecology, and also the effect that many different perspectives can offer towards difficult problems. I'm an avid hiker, kayak embarker, sonic enthusiast, chef and baker.



SarahHello, my name is Sarah Kinter. I received my Bachelor's of Mechanical Engineer from Villanova University. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering. I am researching New Mexico mixed algal populations for biofuel production and other viable applications. My research is exciting because algae typically occur as environmental polycultures, but little is known about the capabilities and applications of mixed algal cultures for energy. In my free time, I like to take hikes in the Sandia foot hills to remember how beautiful nature is here in New Mexico.


omar ruizHi, my name is Omar Ruiz.  I received my B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico in May of 2014. I am currently obtaining my M.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus in Environmental. My work consists of researching advanced In-Situ Recovery of Uranium and remediation of subsurface water after ISR. Taking into account interests of the state of New Mexico, our first goal and current concentrations of research are the oxidation and mobilization of uranium as well as the reactions of co-constituents such as: arsenic, molybdenum, vanadium, selenium, chromium and iron. Batch studies will be performed in order to get preliminary data that will help for future column experiments. Ultimately these experiments will help allow one to take a better approach to ISR and reduce contamination and time for remediation. To be part of the CREST team will allow me to work with and to learn from other professionals in my field. My research is and will be exciting because not only will I be working with the source of nuclear energy but will also have the opportunity to try to remediate groundwater and help people who live around ISR mines. Besides working hard and learning from my assistantship and in graduate school, I also enjoy playing soccer, video games, horseback riding, and spending time with my family. I take great pride in my Mexican heritage and my first language, Spanish.  I am honored to be the first person in my family to be earning a Master’s degree and especially to be working as part of the praiseworthy CREST program. 


joshua ellisonGreetings, I am Joshua Ellison. I just earned my B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico. During my undergrad I developed a strong desire to continue my education in the geotechnical realm, and currently I am pursuing a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering with concentration in Geotechnical Engineering. The focus of my research is to identify the effects on a wellbore system from the chemical and physical interactions found in natural gas recovery operations. Wellbore systems travel through freshwater aquifers, saline reservoirs, permeable layers, shale (where natural gas is trapped), and rock. CREST initiatives have provided me the opportunity to aim my research towards the most pressing issue- aquifer contamination. I have fabricated a permeameter that allows me to create the varying in situ conditions on a wellbore system, which consist of a steel casing and cement sheath, to determine the permeability before and after gases and liquids circulate through the wellbore system. Outside of research I relax my mind camping with family and friends, skiing, downhill mountain-biking, and building random things with reclaimed wood. I also enjoy gardening and take a lot of pride in my grapevine that finally bears fruit. 


lauren breitnerHello, my name is Lauren Breitner. I recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. I am currently pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Engineering with Dr. Kerry Howe as my advisor. Within CREST, I am working on the Water Activity Vehicle and Experience (WAVE) trailer with other students. I am excited to be a part of the CREST team and to work on the WAVE trailer because education and community outreach have always been passions of mine. In my free time I like to explore new breweries and coffee shops around Albuquerque, hike with my dog, travel, and ski fresh powder on any of the beautiful mountains in the southwest!