Elizabeth W. Boyer

Elizabeth W. Boyer

Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science & Management
Co-hire, Institutes of Energy & the Environment
Penn State University
304 Forest Resources Building (office)
329 Forest Resources Building (lab)

University Park, PA 16802

Education: B.S. Geography, with a minor in Science, Technology, & Society, Penn State University | M.S. & Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia | Post-doc, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Interests: hydrological processes, environmental sciences, science-technology-society interactions

Publications: Google Scholar | Curriculum Vitae 

Profiles: Twitter | AGU ecohydrology

Research: My research explores natural and anthropogenic factors affecting water resources. Primary areas include: (1) Coupled hydrological, biological, and geochemical processes controlling the status and trends of water quality  in precipitation, surface waters, and groundwater; and (2) Use of ecohydrological principles toward the sustainable management of watersheds. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of research challenges in the environmental sciences, I have worked with >500 collaborators from around the world on my publications. Such work provides a scientific basis for policies and management strategies to mitigate the effects of pollution and to protect, conserve, and restore freshwater.

Advising: I enjoy working with students toward achieving their academic and professional objectives. Their research projects typically involve some combination of field sampling, lab analyses, hydrological modeling, data synthesis, or stakeholder engagement. I encourage undergraduates to participate in independent study courses, part-time employment, or honors theses to gain research experience. Water is a cross-cutting research area, and I advise graduate students in any of the department's graduate majors, including EcologyForest Resources, Soil Science, and Wildlife & Fisheries Science. Additionally, I advise graduate students in intercollege dual-title programs in BiogeochemistryHuman Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment, and Operations Research. The graduate application process is described here. I am currently accepting applications from prospective students for the 2023 academic year.

Service: I have a longstanding commitment to facilitating interdisciplinary research and connecting scientific knowledge to policy. At Penn State: I currently serve on the university Graduate Council and previously served on the Faculty Senate and its Intra-University Relations Committee. I served for >10 years as Assistant Director of Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (the central organizing structure for environmental research across the University) and as Director of the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center (one of 54 centers at land-grant universities comprising the National Institutes of Water Resources). Outside of the University: I participated for >15 years in various science advisory committees of the US Environmental Protection Agency, focused on the ecological effects of air pollution and sustainable water resources. I am currently serving as a Program Director for the Hydrologic Sciences Program and the Geoinformatics Program at the US National Science Foundation (on a 2-year rotation, returning to Penn State spring semester 2023). 

Honors: AAAS Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science | Paul A. Witherspoon Award, American Geophysical Union, for innovative interdisciplinary research in the hydrologic sciences by a mid-career scientist | Alex & Jesse Black Award for excellence in research, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

Penn State Interdisciplinary Affiliations:

- Institutes of Energy and the Environment (co-hire)

- Earth and Environmental Systems Institute

- Institute for Sustainable Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Science

- Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

- Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences