Introducing Walker Blackburn Weir, a master's degree student in hydrogeology. At DRI, Weir is working with on a research project with Dr. Mark Hausner and Dr. Eric McDonald to study the influence of soil properties and environmental conditions on the detection of subsurface land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
What brought you to DRI?
I was drawn to the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, largely because of the wealth of knowledge and experience that the program draws from DRI. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by motivated peers working on such a variety of high-level science.
What are you studying?
My focus is groundwater hydrology.
What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?
I work under Dr. Mark Hausner and Dr. Eric McDonald along side a fantastic team looking at the influence of soil properties and environmental conditions on subsurface landmine and improvised explosive device (IED) detection to support the military's countermine efforts. We have conducted field work in Arizona with more field work planned in Virginia, and will be starting some more controlled tests soon using DRI's EcoCells. I will also be building a digital model to try to predict and validate results from the field and lab experiments.
What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?
For now I am focused on learning as much as possible in the short time frame of my Master's degree, but if this or other work turns into further opportunity at DRI that would be exciting. So far DRI has proven to be a highly stimulating and enjoyable place to be, and I look forward to getting to know more talented scientists and researchers.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?
During the warmer part of the year, I enjoy kayaking. I'm somewhat unaccustomed to winter weather, but hopefully there will be time for some snowboarding this winter. Boiling in some local hot springs is also high on the to-do list!