About me

I was born and raised in the town of Boulder, Colorado, so I have been continually fascinated by mountains and the geologic wonders of the intermountain west. I was lucky enough to be introduced to geology at a young age through field work with my father, a geologist and science teacher, and eventually found my passion and curiosity most piqued by attempting to understand the forces and processes that sculpt the landscapes we live and play in (aka geomorphology). 

During my undergrad and masters in the great state of Idaho, I was lucky enough to have great mentors (Dr. Jennifer Pierce, Boise State, Rob Richardson, Rio ASE, Dr. Ben Crosby, Idaho State) who instilled me a process-based lens to view landscape domains from the drainage divide all the way down to the higher-order stream. During this time, I focused much of my time on problems related to river physical habitat enhancement in an SCA project and did a M.S. thesis on parsing out the sources and processes responsible for chronic fine sediment loading in an agriculturally-modified stream. 

My career has taken to the young, dynamic landscapes of southern California where my dissertation is focused on post-fire erosion and runoff processes (pyrogeomorphology). During this time, thanks to the great mentorship of Dr. Andy Gray, I have learned much about linkages between hydrogeomorphic disturbance and watershed-scale sediment cascades. With the help of Dr. Nic Barth and UNAVCO, I learned to employ change detection methods to further understand sediment transfer processes in burn areas via ground-based lidar, autonomous uncrewed aerial vehicles, and the wealth of lidar data available through NOAA, USGS, and OpenTopography. You can read more on what I've been up to recently in this UCR sci-comm blog post.

I am also happy to be a part-time collaborator with a group of interdisciplinary scientists tackling issues related to microplastic transport and loading of rivers (aka anthropogenic sediment!).

Also, in part due to the great mentorship I've received in my early career and because I strongly favor a push for greater emphasis on more effective and inclusive mentorship in the geosciences, I have been intentional in setting aside time to mentor many undergraduates to prepare them for industry and/or academia. Additionally, in an effort to do the work to make our field more inclusive and diverse, I co-facilitated an Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences UCR Graduate Student Pod and served as a co-president of the UCR Environmental Graduate Student Association where we made it our mission to take steps towards the hard but necessary work of making our department and disciplines more inclusive, equitable, and just for students from all backgrounds. 

Outside of this work, I find myself most at home hanging out with my wife Kylie or in the outdoors either attached to a rope, a pair of skis, on a bike, or scrambling/hiking somewhere interesting. 

Please feel free to browse my CV and list of works in the menu above. 


Laser scanning burned hillslopes, Holy Fire near Lake Elsinore, CA
PC: Tori Stempniewicz, December 2018


Post-fire debris flow caught on timelapse camera above Lake Elsinore, CA

Ski mountaineering, Mt Baldy Bowl, San Gabriel Mountains, CA (PC: Jed Kistner-Morris, 2021)


Some work and play (mostly play) photos...


Measuring fault plane and slickeline attitudes, ISU Field Camp 2014, Pioneer Mountains, Idaho

ISU Field Camp 2014 Photo, below Mt Borah (tallest peak in state), Lost River Range, Idaho 


Some groovy vibes on a climb in the City of Rocks, southern Idaho (PC: Graham Meese, 2017) 

Climbing for fresh turns on the backside of Pebble Creek Mountain near Inkom, Idaho (2017) 


Getting out there on the Algoot Altar Buttress, Idyllwild Backcountry, SoCal (2021) 

Middle background: Tahquitz (left) and Suicide (upper right)

Beating the heat on Angel's Landing with my wife Kylie, Zion NP, Utah (Summer 2017)


Atop China Pk. in a snow squall and about to traverse the valley of Pocatello, ID to Kinport Pk (2017)

the fins.jpg

The Fins

Mississippian Limestone

Central Idaho (2016)


Iron Point, Owyhee River Canyon, Southeast Oregon, ISU Field Seminar, 2016 (PC: Kate Wehrs)


Climbing the Great Divide, High Sierra Trail, Sequoia NP, California (PC: Tori McGruer, 2018)


Severely rilled and eroded dry ravel apron, Holy Burn Scar near Lake Elsinore (2019)