Dr. Eric Sproles

Dr. Eric Sproles, just chillin by the Metolious River

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I integrate GIScience and remote sensing with field-based measurements and models to better understand the geospatial and climatic controls on the world’s water resources. My efforts focus primarily on snow, and span the climates and cultures of the western United States and South America. I have been fortunate to develop bilingual collaborations across disciplines to address complex socio-environmental questions related to water resources. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Montana State University, I was a research hydrologist at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas in La Serena, Chile. I also had formal mentorship in hydrology as a post-doctoral fellow at the Western Ecology Division of the EPA, through a fellowship from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Engineering. I earned a PhD in Water Resources Science and a graduate minor in Water Resource Conflict Transformation from Oregon State University.

Ross Palomaki

Here's Ross Palomaki, hanging out in the snow. Has some cool sunglasses on

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Ross holds Bachelor's degrees in mathematics and music from the University of North Texas. Prior to joining the GeoSWIRL group, he completed a Master's degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, where his thesis research in mountain meteorology focused on diurnal wind patterns in complex terrain. When he's not in the lab or in the field, you can find Ross playing on bikes, skis, and rocks with his dog, Doug.

Check out Ross' P.h.D. research on the Yellowstone River 

Madeline Beck

Look! It's Maddie Beck! Doing some stuff on skis!

Maddie was born and raised in Northern New Mexico where she found an early love for being outside. She moved to Bozeman in the fall of 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. In her undergrad, Maddie learned more about the environmental changes she experienced growing up in the arid SW and had the opportunity to work for the GeoSWIRL lab researching snow as a vital water resource. Maddie is now a master’s student in the Earth Science Department at MSU where she expands on the knowledge she has gained in the field of snow hydrology.

In the summer of 2022, Maddie has an internship at Los Alamos National Labs. 

Lila Rickenbaugh

Here is Lila Rickenbaugh, on what is looking like a pretty good pow day

Lila grew up in Bozeman where she developed her love of the mountains and her curiosity for large-scale ecosystem processes. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and philosophy from Dartmouth College. After graduating in 2020 she returned to Bozeman and worked for a local business helping agricultural producers across the state to reduce their dependence on chemical fertilizer. Through this work she was directly exposed to the effects of drought on food production, and joined the GeoSWIRL lab to study snow as a resource for irrigators. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the earth science department at MSU.

Sam Neitlich

Here's Sam Neitlich, on a backpackign trip in the Sierra Nevada, Kearsage Pass mayhaps?

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Sam is a Junior studying Environmental Science - Geospatial Analysis Option with minors in Computer Science and Soil Science. He is interested in exploring topics in environmental and plant science, snow science, watershed hydrology and geology through the use of spatial and statistical analysis techniques. In his free time, Sam loves to hike, bike, ski, and also play bass and guitar in a few local bands.

In the summer of 2022 Sam has a sweet internship at NASA JPL in the Radar Concepts and Formulation group. Yeh!

Melissa Widas

Melissa Widas, holding some sort of paper roll, at Bridger, in the summer!

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Melissa Widas is a fourth-year Honors student at Montana State University in Bozeman studying Land Rehabilitation and pursuing a minor in Statistics. She is a recipient of the Western Undergraduate Exchange scholarship and currently serves as the Burton K. Wheeler Center Undergraduate Fellow, a member of the United States Biosphere Network Youth Board, and Delta Gamma President at Montana State. Additionally, she works as a Student Geospatial Technician Lead for the GEOSWIRL Lab and is a member of the Council of Twelve for the Dyslexia & Innovation Symposium.

Maddy Grubb

Maddy Grubb, grabbing some sort of thing from a backpack

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Maddy is a Physical Geography undergraduate from the lush (and very rainy) Pacific Northwest. She is most passionate about cartography and bridging the gap between earth science and art through the medium of maps. Maddy does graphic design and freelance cartography outside of school, as well as for the GeoSWIRL lab. She is currently learning how to mountain unicycle, and is super stoked for an upcoming summer internship working on physical and geospatial sciences with the National Parks Service in the Tetons.

Previous GeoSWIRL teammates

Zachary Miller (MS, 2021)  

Snow Depth Distribution and Spatial Variability in Complex Mountain Terrain

First position after MSU - Physical Scientist at the USGS' Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Glacier National Park.  

Andrew Mullen (MS 2021)

An operational methodology for validating satellite-based snow albedo measurements using a UAV (MS 2021)

First position after MSU - Research Assistant at Woodwell Climate Research Center. Check out Andrew's publications.

Mathew Grushkin (BS 2020)

First position after MSU - Aircraft Dispatcher with Republic Airways.