DRI scientists Markus Berli and Yuan Luo inspect soils at the SEPHAS Lysimeter facility

What happens when rain falls on desert soils? An updated model provides answers

Several years ago, while studying the environmental impacts of large-scale solar farms in the Nevada desert, Desert Research Institute (DRI) scientists Yuan Luo, Ph.D. and Markus Berli, Ph.D. became interested in one particular question: how does the presence of thousands of solar panels impact desert hydrology?


Climate change and “atmospheric thirst” to increase fire danger and drought in Nevada and California

Climate change and a “thirsty atmosphere” will bring more extreme wildfire danger and multi-year droughts to Nevada and California by the end of this century, according to new research from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of Calfiornia, San Diego, and the University of California, Merced.

Telling the story of research and innovation at DRI

DRI’s Office External Affairs and Communications provides support to research faculty and staff to generate awareness and engagement that inspires action to sustain research at DRI.

Media Inqiuries

If you are a reporter on deadline or have a media inquiry please email: media@dri.edu or call (775) 673-7610.

Public Record Requests

The Office of Communications and Government Affairs is responsible for responding to requests made under the Nevada Public Records Act (N.R.S. 239 et seq). To submit a request, please use click below.

NSHE (Nevada System of Higher Education) Procedures and Guidelines Manual – NSHE Fees for Public Records Request.

Our Communications Team

Tracy Bower

Tracy Bower

Director of External Affairs

Tracy serves as DRI’s primary liaison with the community, including media, regional, state, and local officials. She directs the Institute’s policies and objectives for all state government and local affairs, and leads the communications and external engagement activities.

Tracy.Bower@dri.edu |702-862-5404

Kelsey Fitzgerald

Kelsey Fitzgerald

Science Writer

Kelsey serves as DRI primary Science Writer, working with scientists to communicate their research to the public and/or other scientists through press releases and a variety of other digital media products such as web pages, blogs, photography, video, and podcasts. She also assists with the creation of content for newsletters, fact sheets, reports, or any other type of outreach materials needed for projects. 

Kelsey.Fitzgerald@dri.edu | 775-673-7336

Lindsey Funseth

Lindsey Funseth

Visual Communications Specialist

Lindsey designs and creates a wide variety of visual communication (graphics, illustrations, photographs, videos, websites, and promotional materials) that tell DRI’s story and support the outreach and project needs of research faculty, students, and support staff. She serves as the Institute’s primary graphic designer and multimedia editor, working to translate complex scientific concepts into compelling visuals and helping to distribute that content to internal and external audiences.

Lindsey.Funseth@dri.edu |775-673-7465

Meghan Collins

Meghan Collins

Education Program Manager

Meghan coordinates DRI’s science communication efforts, including co-hosting the Science Distilled lecture series in collaboration with the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum. She leads DRI’s citizen science programs including Stories in the Snow, in which community members share pictures of freshly-fallen snow crystals through a smartphone app called Citizen Science Tahoe. She has also been involved as an educator/science communicator in a range of other programs, including Native Waters on Arid Lands and the new microplastics research program at DRI.

Meghan.Collins@dri.edu | 775.673.6759

Alison Swallow

Alison Swallow

Business Manager

Alison serves as the business manager and program lead for the Office of External Affairs and Communications. She provides executive support to DRI faculty and staff with regards to public outreach and communications and external affairs needs. She also monitors legislation on a state and national level to ensure DRI’s interests are followed Assists in coordinating internal and external events in Southern Nevada.

Alison.Swallow@dri.edu | 702-862-4512