Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be used for agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and drinking have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers and policymakers.
The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln NRT program trains master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agricultural ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural and social sciences—to study panarchy theory, novel sensing technologies and modeling, adaptive management and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.
The NRT celebrated its closing with a holiday party and white elephant gift exchange on December 11, 2023, in Room 207 of Hardin Hall.
Jonathan Cronk, NRT master's student, defended his master's thesis, “Modeling Overdraft-Driven Nitrate Transport in Shallow Wells for Mitigation and Scenario Planning,” in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering on November 21, 2023.
Craig Allen, NRT director, co-PI Dirac Twidwell and Ronica Stromberg, program coordinator, along with the NRT students, attended the defense of Emily Rowen, EPSCoR master’s student on November 20, 2023. Rowen's thesis, “Human Dimensions of Woody Encroachment Management in Nebraska,” addressed several aspects of ecological resilience of interest to the Nebraska NRT.
NRT alumni Dominic Cristiano and Daniel Morales spoke by Zoom on a career panel for current students on November 6, 2023. Cristiano is a research fellow with the Center for Disease Control and ORISE, and Daniel Morales is an environmental specialist and biologist at the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.
Craig Allen, NRT director, spoke at the fall seminar series of the Center for Grassland Studies on October 23, 2023, about the Network for Integrated Agricultural Resilience Research he directs.
Sabrina Gulab, postdoctoral scholar at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy, spoke to the NRT about behavioral economics on October 23, 2023.
Catherine Chan, doctoral student, attended the Nebraska Water Center Fall Conference in Omaha on February 3-4, and the James A. Rawley Graduate Conference in the Humanities in Lincoln on October 5-6, 2023.
Miyauna Incarnato, doctoral student, spoke at the Women's Environmental Leadership summit on a panel titled "Reimagining Conservation" at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 2023.
Chad Smith, president of the Headwaters Corporation, spoke to the NRT about the corporation and its projects, particularly work on Nebraska's Platte River and other U.S. water bodies, on September 11, 2023.
Susan Weller, entomology professor and director of the University of Nebraska State Museum, spoke to the NRT about curation and collaboration in museum studies on August 28, 2023.
Chris Chizinski, professor in natural resources, spoke to the NRT about human dimensions of wildlife management on August 14, 2023.
Andrea Basche, agronomy professor, spoke to the NRT about merging social and biophysical research on July 17, 2023.
Stephanie Osterthun and Julie Obermeyer, Career Services, spoke about searching jobs on LinkedIn, interviewing and negotiating salaries and benefits on June 19, 2023.
Four NRT doctoral students and three master's students presented their research at the annual review on May 24, 2023. Doctoral students presenting were Conor Barnes, Catherine Chan, Miyauna Incarnato and Anastasia Madsen. Master's students presenting were Katia Carranza, Jonathan Cronk and Bridget McKinley. Doctoral student Brandy Williams and master's student Araceli Gomez Villegas had presented earlier, on May 3, 2023.
Bridget McKinley, master's student, attended the 2023 Water for Food Global Conference, May 8-11, 2023. Jonathan Cronk, master's student, presented at the conference on "Settings and Methodologies for Modelling Water Quality Degradation in Overdrafted and Drought-Affected Systems."
Catherine Chan, doctoral student, attended the Heuerman Lecture, "Uncharted Waters: Why Everyone Should Care About the Global Water Crisis," by Beth Ford, CEO and President of Land O'Lakes, on May 8, 2023.