Extension Associate Professor

Watershed Science, Policy and Education

Kristine Stepenuck, PhD (Kris; she/her) is Associate Director and Extension Program Leader for Lake Champlain Sea Grant and Extension Associate Professor of Watershed Science, Policy and Education in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. For more than 20 years, she has focused her career to build community connections to and understanding of the impact our actions have on the health of streams, rivers, and lakes.

Her research focuses on understanding behavior changes that result from watershed outreach programming, assessing impacts of land use on water quality, and understanding motivations of volunteers and outcomes of programs that engage the public in scientific research. Kris holds a PhD in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a member of the Education and Outreach committee of the Lake Champlain Basin Program and a section editor for the journal, Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. She is a year ‘round bike commuter and enjoys hiking, whitewater kayaking, and skiing.


  • Lowry, C. S. and K. F. Stepenuck. 2021. Is Citizen Science Dead? Environmental Science & Technology. 
  • Raub, K. B., K. F. Stepenuck, B. Panikkar, J. C. Stephens. 2021. An analysis of resilience planning at the nexus of food, energy, water, and transportation in coastal US cities. Sustainability. 13(11), 6316. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116316
  • Lowry, C. S., M. N. Fienen, D. M. Hall, and K. F. Stepenuck. 2019.  Growing Pains of Crowdsourced Stream Stage Monitoring Using Mobile Phones: The Development of CrowdHydrology. Frontiers in Earth Science, section Geohazards and Georisks. 7, 128. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00128
  • Stepenuck, K. F., and K. D. Genskow. 2019. Traits of Volunteer Water Monitoring Programs That Influence Natural Resource Management and Policy Impacts. Society & Natural Resources. 32(3), 275-291. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2018.1511022
  • Stepenuck, K. F., and K. D. Genskow. 2018. Characterizing the Breadth and Depth of Volunteer Water Monitoring Programs in the United States. Environmental Management. 61(1): 46-57. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29159482/
  • McKinley, D. C., A. J. Miller-Rushing, H. L. Ballard, R. E. Bonney, H. Brown, S. C. Cook-Patten, D. M. Evans, R. A. French, J. K. Parrish, T.B. Phillips, S. F. Ryan, L. A. Shanley, J. L. Shirk, K. F. Stepenuck, J. F. Weltzin, A. Wiggins, O.D. Boyle, R. D. Briggs, S. F. Chapin III, D. A. Hewitt, P. W. Preuss, and M. A. Soukup. 2017. Citizen Science Can Improve Conservation Science, Natural Resource Management, and Environmental Protection. Biological Conservation. 208, 15-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.015
  • Stepenuck, K.F., and L. Green. 2015. Individual and Community-Level Impacts of Volunteer Environmental Monitoring: A Synthesis of Peer-Reviewed Literature. Ecology and Society. 20(3):19. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol20/iss3/art19/
Kris Stepenuck

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources
Research: Watershed science, impacts of land use on water quality, community science, community engagement


  • Ph.D., Environment and Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
  • M.S., Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1999
  • B.S., Water Resource Management, University of New Hampshire, 1995


  • 802 656-8504
Office Location:

Aiken Center, 81 Carrigan Drive, #312F