Featured DRI Graduate Students

Zach Johnson, Featured DRI Graduate Student

september-featured-grad-zach-johnsonMeet Zach Johnson, a Ph.D. student in the highly-ranked hydrology program at UNR. He is currently working with Dr. Rina Schumer while investigating the influence of transient storage zones (surface and hyporheic) on water quality in the lower Truckee River.

My wife and I originally came to Reno because of the highly-ranked hydrology program at UNR.  However, the quality of research scientists and facilities available brought me to DRI.  I came to DRI to work with Dr. Paul Verburg (DEES) as a master’s student in 2007 as a part of the Walker River Basin project and I enjoyed being a part of the DRI research community.  After my master’s, I was able to continue working at DRI with Dr. Rina Schumer (DHS) and Dr. John Warwick (now at SIU) as a Ph.D. student starting in 2010.Johnson 3sml

What are you studying?

I am studying surface water hydrology, water quality, and transient storage dynamics.  I expect to finish my dissertation in May, 2014.

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

My Ph.D. project investigates the influence of transient storage zones (surface and hyporheic) on water quality in the lower Truckee River. Johnson 2smlThis includes exploring the physical and biological influences that the transient storage zones have on solute transport.  I am also interested in the effect restoration activities have on water quality via their influence on transient storage zones.  My advisors are Dr. John Warwick and Dr. Rina Schumer.  My committee also includes Dr. Kumud Acharya (DHS), Dr. Chris Fritsen (DEES), and Dr. Greg Pohll (DHS).

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

In the short-term, I wanted to be immersed in the scientific research community, gain valuable experience, and write quality peer-reviewed manuscripts while working toward my degrees at UNR and DRI.  In the long-term, I want to make as many connections with as many high-quality scientists in as many related fields as possible to continue working in the field of hydrology.

Johnson 1smlTell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

In general, I very much enjoy traveling and visiting new places.  My wife and I have been very active hikers since moving out to Reno from Minnesota in 2007.  We’ve been able to do hikes in California and Nevada from Lassen Volcanic National Park down to the John Muir Wilderness near Bishop, CA and almost every area in between.  A spring trip to Yosemite National Park has become an annual tradition for us for the past three years.  We’ve also enjoyed taking road-trips when possible to explore other parts of the West.  Another favorite activity of ours is visiting Pyramid Lake.

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