Student Research

The Utah Water Research Laboratory is proud of the many international students who choose to pursue their education here. Students, from around the world, receive first-class, hands-on educaton and experiences while bringing unique and valuable perspectives to the research itself.  

Hundreds of graduates of USU who have worked on research programs supported at the UWRL now hold key management positions in many state, federal, and international organizations.  



Student Highlight: Adel Abdallah

Adel Abdallah is a PhD student focusing on hydroinformatics as part of the CI-Water Project under Dr. David Rosenberg. Adel has expertise in water and energy nexus and conservation and is currently developing new methods in which to standardize organization for systems water management data, automated serving data to models, using high performance computing to run complex optimization models, and publishing the model’s data online. 

It was during his undergraduate work at An-Najah National University in Palestine, when Adel first heard of the UWRL.  Dr. Laurie McNeill was on sabbatical in the area and, alongside Adel’s advisor and UWRL alumnus, Dr. Mohammed Almasri, encouraged Adel to continue his education at Utah State with Dr. Rosenberg.

Adel joined USU in 2010 and finished his Master’s degree in 2012.  It was an easy decision to stay on with the UWRL for his PhD and plans to complete the program in 2016.  Currently, Adel is a visiting graduate student at the University of Utah and works with Dr. Steve Burian in the Urban Water Research Group.

The lab is a unique and exciting institution due to the expertise and diversity of the faculty.  Adel says he “liked the opportunity to draw input and feedback from a pool of top-notch faculties in their fields.”

The UWRL is heavily involved in many conferences and workshops that give Adel the opportunity to present his research and network with other researchers.  He was recently the recipient of an award for his study, Heterogeneous Residential Water and Energy Linkages and Implications for Conservation and Management, published in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.

“The UWRL,” says Adel, “as a world leading institution in hydroinformatics attracts collaborators from across the nation to work with the UWRL faculty and students that was very useful to my PhD’s research.” While the sheer amount of data, ideas, or directions was sometimes overwhelming, Adel credits Dr. Rosenberg with keeping him focused on the important key aspects of his work.

Outside of work, Adel really enjoys skiing at Beaver Mountain.  He also enjoys cooking, especially falafel for events around the community.  Adel was surprised at how much he’s enjoyed being a student and he considers the past five years of schooling the best part of his life, besides meeting his wife here. 

“The UWRL commitment to insure funding to its graduate students provides an incredible feeling of stability to its students and lets them focus on their research.” Adel says, “The UWRL has an atmosphere of incredible trust and positive attitudes.  In short, the UWRL is an environment where we’re set to succeed, actually to lead!”

Student Highlight: Suzy Smith

After a successful defense of her thesis, “Arsenic release from dechlorination processes of biostimulation and bioaugmentation,” graduate student, Suzy Smith, has graduated from Utah State’s Environmental Engineering Master’s program. 

When Suzy graduated from high school in 2007, her older brother (who worked here) asked his boss if he needed any additional help.  While his boss turned down the request, he mentioned that Joan McLean was looking for help.  Suzy sent an email and said Joan hired her without even meeting and she’s been here ever since.  She started out washing glassware and slowly began to assist with various projects.  Once her undergraduate work was completed, Suzy was given funding to continue her graduate degree while working with Joan McLean. 

During her time at the UWRL, Suzy has been able to work on various projects and learn many different instruments. She’s also met some wonderful people through her time here.  It was her thesis project that presented both the biggest challenges and rewards.  While it was difficult finding everything necessary to set up the project she’s hopeful that the skills and education she gained here will help her find a job where she can continue to learn and grow. 

Outside of work and school, Suzy enjoys country swing dancing, movies, playing sports, putting together puzzles, and spending time with her friends and family.  Overall, she claims her time at the UWRL has been a fun adventure.

We will miss her but we wish Suzy all the best in her future endeavors.