Lab Director - Ryan Smith (he/him/his)

I've been drawn to quantitative hydrology ever since I visited Iceland as an undergraduate, where I was fascinated by the combination of engineering, geophysics and geology required to manage their extensive geothermal resources. That experience ultimately led me to pursue graduate school at Stanford University, where I earned a PhD in geophysics in 2018. After my PhD, I came to Missouri University of Science and Technology as an assistant professor in Geological Engineering, where I worked from 2018-2022. In Fall 2022, I took a position at Colorado State University, in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. My research group studies the hydrologic cycle, particularly groundwater, using a combination of satellite, geophysical and in-situ data. We also quantitatively evaluate these diverse datasets through a combination of process-based models and machine learning.  In my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors on my road/mountain bike. I don't enjoy falling off but it still happens regularly :)


Google Scholar

Postdoctoral Scholar - Sanaz Vajedian (she/her/hers)

Sanaz is a postdoctoral scholar in the Geological Engineering program of Missouri University of Science and Technology, where she focuses on using satellite data to better understand and model how groundwater pumping, and tectonic forces can cause the earth’s surface to deform.

She obtained her Ph.D. in Remote sensing and Geodesy at the University of Tehran. Her thesis was focused on using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to detect ground deformation caused by natural hazards phenomena like volcanoes and earthquakes. Her research profile is based on satellite data processing, including SAR and multispectral optical data, and data modeling to develop efficient methodologies for studying and monitoring natural hazards. 

PhD Student - Jiawei Li (he/him/his)

Jiawei is a PhD student in Geological Engineering at Missouri S&T. He is from Daqing, Heilongjiang, China. He transferred as an undergraduate student to Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri in 2015 and joined the Computational Geophysics research group led by Dr. Stephen S. Gao. Jiawei pursued a Master's degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology in January 2018. He changed his major to Geological Engineering and joined the Engineering Geophysics research group led by Dr. Neil L. Anderson and Dr. Evgeniy V. Torgashov. After graduation in December 2019, Jiawei is working on a Ph.D. at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Geological Engineering and is co-advised by Dr. Katherine Grote and Dr. Ryan Smith. He is researching the combination of engineering geophysics and remote sensing technology. 

Jiawei Li has a strong background in applied geophysics and has field experience with ERT, GPR, MASW, SP, and tTEM. He is also familiar with Surfer, RADAN, Res2dInv, Surfseis, Aarhus Workbench, ArcGIS software, InSAR processing, as well as programming languages python and MATLAB.  In his free time, he prefers to watch movies and play video games. 

PhD Student - Dawit Asfaw (he/him/his)

Dawit is a PhD student in Geosciences at Colorado State University. He has a B.S. Degree in Applied Geology and has completed M.S. coursework in Geological Engineering at Mekelle University (MU), Ethiopia. He has experience in mineral exploration mainly in prospecting for gold and base metals. In addition, he has worked as a hydrogeologist supervising water well drilling and higher education specialist strengthening the quality of education in Earth Science and Mining Engineering programs. He completed a master's program in Hydrogeology with a thesis titled “Improving model performance through indirect integration of human impacts in data-driven hydrologic models” from Illinois State University (ISU). He is interested in the application of Remote Sensing and GIS to study terrestrial water storage trends (mainly groundwater),  groundwater depletion, groundwater modeling, geohazards, and big data analysis using machine learning techniques.

PhD Student - Md Fahim Hasan (he/him/his)

Fahim is currently pursuing his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. His research focuses on quantifying groundwater usage using deep learning methods and geospatial datasets. He completed his MS in Geological Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, with his thesis titled "Integrating remote sensing and model-based datasets in a machine learning model to map global subsidence associated with groundwater withdrawal". Fahim received his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2017. After that, he spent around 4 years working in the water management sector of Bangladesh, the majority of which was under the Bangladesh Water Development Board. Fahim’s research interests include groundwater, remote sensing, machine/deep learning, hydrologic modeling, and geospatial data science techniques in water resources. He is familiar with Python, R, GIS, HECRAS, and SWAT. In his free time, Fahim loves doing household chores and spending time with family

PhD Student - Abdullah Al Fatta

Abdullah is currently working toward his Ph.D. degree in civil and environmental engineering at Colorado State University. His primary research involves estimation of aquifer properties and changes in groundwater storage using in-situ and satellite data. In the past, he conducted research on quantitative tracing of water sources to urbanized streams through multiyear water stable isotope analysis. Abdullah completed his master's degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Texas, USA, and earned his bachelor's degree in petroleum and mining engineering from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet, Bangladesh. His research interests encompass surface and groundwater hydrology, remote sensing, hydrologic modeling, and development of data-driven approaches to address water resource challenges with the goal of achieving a sustainable and equitable community. Apart from his academic pursuits, Abdullah enjoys playing soccer, traveling, biking, sightseeing, and spending time with his family.

PhD Student – Rahel Pommerenke (she/her/hers)

Rahel is currently pursuing his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. She completed her masters degree and bachelors degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology in December 2022 and May 2020, respectively. During and after her master’s program, Rahel spent two years working in the Earth and Environment division of WSP USA Inc. as an Environmental Engineer. During her bachelor’s program, Rahel spent two years working at the United States Geological Survey in their groundwater division as a student trainee hydrological technician. Rahel’s research interests include detecting plant water stress, studying soil moisture fluctuations, and development of data-driven approaches to identify and mitigate water induced agricultural stressors. In her free time, Rahel enjoys spending time outdoors. 

MS Student – Julianne Robinson (she/her/hers)

 Julianne is pursuing her MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on using geophysical methods to quantify aquifer characteristics and groundwater recharge. She holds a BS in Ecological Engineering from Oregon State University and a graduate certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation from Oregon State University. She served as a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) extensionist with the Peace Corps in Panama from 2018-2020 and worked as a civil/agricultural engineer for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Central Oregon prior to coming to CSU. Julianne is passionate about water resources and using engineering to improve peoples’ lives. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and playing guitar.

MS Student - Susmita Pant (she/her/hers)

Susmita completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Pulchowk Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in arsenic contamination  issues in groundwater. Following her undergrad, she worked in Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) studies for several transmission line projects. Currently, her research focus lies in groundwater modeling and understanding the interaction between land subsidence and seismic risk.  Her research interests revolve around groundwater and surface water hydrology,  as well as modeling and the management of such resources. Her hobbies include listening to songs, travelling and hiking. 

Lab Alumni

Sayantan Majumdar (he/him/his)

Sayantan (Monty) completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Ryan Smith at Missouri S&T. He then continued his work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University. His research is focused on groundwater withdrawal estimation using integrated remote sensing datasets and machine learning. Sayantan has collaborated (and is still collaborating) with Dr. Smith on multiple projects funded by NASA, USGS, NGA, and NIH. He is currently an Assistant Research Professor of Hydrologic Sciences and Remote Sensing at the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada. 

In Summer 2022, Sayantan joined Meta (formerly Facebook) as a Research Scientist Intern at their HQ in Menlo Park, California. He was involved in the Physical Modeling Team and worked on Meta's sustainability efforts related to high-resolution canopy height estimation. Earlier in Summer 2021, Sayantan worked as an Analytics Modeling Intern at Planet Labs, wherein he was primarily involved in computer vision modeling using state-of-the-art remote sensing and machine learning (deep) techniques to map global inland surface water bodies.

In his free time, Sayantan loves traveling, cooking, and binge-watching movies. He is also a decent ping-pong player, but so far, has not been able to beat the maestro, Dr. Smith.

MS Student - Ithaca Oyler (they/them/theirs)

Ithaca recently completed an MS  in Geology & Geophysics with a research focus in remote sensing, graduating in May 2021. Ithaca worked for the USGS on remote sensing and hydrology projects during the final year of their MS and after graduating, and in Fall 2021, took a data science job with SiteZeus.

MS Student - Jon Voss (he/him/his)

Jon recently graduated with an MS in Geological Engineering and now works as a geophysicist for ENSCO in Washington, DC.  For his thesis, he used a towed transient electromagnetic (tTEM) geophysical system to outline aquifer characteristics in the Kansas River Alluvial Aquifer. Jon joined Dr. Smith’s group as an undergraduate in 2019 and assisted in obtaining and processing data used in subsidence models around the San Joaquin Valley, California. Jon’s research interests include groundwater contaminant transport, geophysics, surface water hydraulics, and using remote sensing to solve both surface and groundwater issues. Related programs he is familiar with are ArcMap, QGIS, Aarhus Workbench, Python, R, HEC-RAS, and HEC-HMS. His hobbies include watching the Chiefs, playing golf, and enjoying the outdoors.