University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Donna Rizzo

Donna Rizzo Fellow

PhD, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Vermont

MS, Civil & Engineering, University of California, Irvine

NA, Art & Archeology, University of Florence, Italy

BS, Civil Engineering (Honors College), University of Connecticut, Storrs


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Donna has over 15 years of experience with heuristic optimization methods that 1) enable social issues (essentially penalties for not meeting constraints) to be placed on the site/stakeholder objective functions, and 2) provide stakeholders with a suite of "optimal" solutions rather than a single design, allowing consideration of the trade-offs between costs, risks, and assumptions. The focus of her Ph.D. and private sector experience involved field-scale applications of multi-objective optimization, much of this done while working with prior Gund fellows and a few who remain on as Gund Affiliates. Since Donna's arrival at UVM she has collaborated with faculty and students across five different UVM colleges on a number of computational approaches to multi-scale environmental problems, including: the evaluation of human impacts to surface waters and groundwaters; lake Cyanobacteria bloom research; and assessing linkages between stream geomorphic, water quality, and habitat metrics/parameters. Collaborating with microbiologists around the world has led to the development and application of new tools for characterizing the spatial structure of microbial communities in municipal landfill leachate-contaminated groundwater environments, and tracking these changes through time at discrete monitoring locations using molecular-based techniques.

AT UVM: Donna is a Professor in the School of Engineering, and has a secondary appointment in Computer Science.

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Donna's research focuses on the development of new computational tools to improve the understanding of human-induced changes on natural systems and the way we make decisions about natural resources


Last modified July 29 2015 10:57 AM