Research Assistant Professor

Kristen has more than 29 years of academic and professional experience in water resources, bridging fields of aquatic ecology, fluvial geomorphology, hydrogeology and environmental engineering. Her current research involves the application of advanced computational tools to address environmental challenges in water resource management and to support pragmatic solutions within an adaptive management framework. She has used machine-learning algorithms and Bayesian inference to evaluate catchment dynamics and biogeochemical processing in rivers. Kristen has applied smart classifiers and Bayesian statistics, to better understand spatial and temporal variability in sediment and nutrient flux, to inform sustainable design of infrastructure for geomorphic and ecological compatibility, and to direct river corridor conservation and restoration activities for reduced flood losses. 


  • Underwood, K. L., Rizzo, D. M., Dewoolkar, M. M., and Kline, M., Analysis of Reach-scale Sediment Process Domains in Glacially-conditioned Catchments Using Self-Organizing Maps. (2018) (2019). Earth Surface Process and Landforms Geomorphology (submitted).
  • Wen, H., Perdrial, J., Bernal, S., Abbott, B. W., Dupas, R., Godsey, S. E., Harpold, A., Rizzo, D., Underwood, K., Adler, T., Hale, R., Sterle, G., and Li, L. (2019). Temperature controls production but hydrology controls export of dissolved organic carbon at the catchment scale, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2019-310.
  • Shakun, J. D., L. B. Corbett, P. R. Bierman, K. Underwood, D. M. Rizzo, S. R. Zimmerman, M. W. Caffee, T. Naish, N. R. Golledge, C. C. Hay. (2018). Minimal East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat onto land during the past 8 million years. Nature, 558, 284- 287, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0155-6.
  • Underwood, K. L., D. M. Rizzo, A. W. Schroth, M. M. Dewoolkar. (2017). Evaluating Spatial Variability in Sediment and Phosphorus Concentration-Discharge Relationships Using Bayesian Inference and Self-Organizing Maps. Water Resources Research, 53, doi: 10.1002/2017WR021353.
  • Howard, L. J., I. A. Anderson, K. L. Underwood, M. M. Dewoolkar, L. M. Deschaine, and D. M. Rizzo. (2016). Heuristic assessment of bridge scour sensitivity using differential evolution: case study for linking floodplain encroachment and bridge scour. Environmental Systems Research, 5(20): doi: 10.1186/s40068-016-0071-4.
  • Pechenick, A., D. M. Rizzo, L. A. Morrissey, K. Garvey, K. Underwood, B. C. Wemple. (2014). A multi-scale approach to assess the hydrological connectivity of road and stream networks. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39: 1538- 1549.
  • Besaw, L. E., D. M. Rizzo, M. Kline, K. L. Underwood, J. J. Doris, L. A. Morrissey and K. Pelletier. (2009). Stream classification using hierarchical artificial neural networks: A fluvial hazard management tool. J. Hydrol., doi:10.1016/j.hydrol.2009.04.007.
Kristen Underwood

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • Water Resources
  • Fluvial Geomorphology
  • Smart Classifiers
  • Infrastructure & Hazard Mitigation


  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Vermont
  • M.S., Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University


  • 802-656-4571
Office Location:

Votey 213E

Courses Taught

  • Applied River Engineering
  • Environmental Site Characterization