The Mary and Randall Hack ’69 Graduate Award for Water and the Environment is administered by the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) to provide research funding to Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on water and water-related topics with implications for the environment, including projects related to climate science, engineering and environmental policy. Projects from a broad range of disciplines are eligible.


Application Information for 2021

Important Dates

Funding Support

In the 2021-2022 academic year, 4-5 awards in amounts up to $10,000 will be available for dissertation support. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, including fieldwork, travel, conference participation, equipment purchases, and costs associated with data analysis and facilities use. The funds cannot be used for tuition support or indirect costs. Awards are for one year and are nonrenewable.


To be eligible, applicants must be regular, full-time Ph.D. candidates (post generals) at Princeton University. Eligibility status is viewed as pertaining to the student’s status in the upcoming academic year. Students who are entering or are currently in DCE are not eligible to apply.

Application Materials

Applications should include the following. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Students in DCE are not eligible to apply.

Award Selection

A committee of Princeton faculty will conduct a formal review and selection process, with conflicts of interest taken into account. The award(s) will be selected based on the quality of the proposed research, strength of faculty letters of recommendation, proven student accomplishments (peer-reviewed publications and awards), and financial need for independent research.

2015 Hack recipient Joshua Daskin in ecology and evolutionary biology studied hydrology and fire impacts in Everglades headwater under climate change. (Photo courtesy of the Gorongosa Restoration Project)

New fellows will be invited to attend Hack Day, in which current awardees will present their research in an effort to learn from one another’s work and demonstrate the accomplishments of Hack Award recipients. The first Hack Day was held May 8, 2020.


Award Recipients

Year Recipient Dept. Adviser Project Title
2020 Francisco Carrillo CBE Ian Bourg Characterization and Prediction of Fluid Flow in Deformable Porous Media
2020 Eunah Han GEO Xinning Zhang Examining Hydrological Effects on Mo-Independent Nitrogen Fixation by Epiphyte and Soil-Associated Microbes in Temperate and Tropical Rainforests
2020 Julie Kim CEE Catherine Peters Simultaneous Removal of Toxic Metals and Capture of Atmospheric CO2 in Mining-Affected Waters
2020 Aleksander Musial ART Thomas Kaufmann and Basile Baudez Immersion: Eastern European Transformations of Hygiene Architecture, 1680-1830
2020 Daniel Ruth MAE Luc Deike Bubble-Mediated Oxygen Transfer in Turbulent Flow
2020 Joanna Schneider CBE Sujit Datta and Rodney Priestley Removing Contaminants from Porous Groundwater Aquifers
2020 Kewei Zhao CHEM Satish Myneni Transformation of Metastable Amorphous CaCO3 Phases: Implications on Chemical and Environmental Processes
2019 Christopher Browne CBE Sujit Datta Unstable Polymer Solution Flow for Groundwater Remediation
2019 Sassan Hajirezaie CEE Catherine Peters A Novel Coupling of Industrial Wastewater Treatment and Climate Change Mitigation
2019 Matthew Hutchinson EEB Robert Pringle A Shifting Baseline: How Inter- and Intra-annual Changes in Water Availability Determine Resource Competition Between African Herbivores
2019 Wenying Liao EEB Lars Hedin Mechanistic Prediction of Global Nitrogen and Carbon Cycle Under Changing Water Regime
2019 Jack Murphy GEO John Higgins Lead Isotopes in Tap Water: Identifying the Sources of Lead Contamination in Trenton, N.J., Homes
2019 Shiv Priyam Raghuraman AOS Venka Ramaswamy Understanding the Impacts of Water Vapor and Cloud Changes on Earth’s Energy Budget
2019 Danielle Schlesinger GEO Satish Myneni Molecular-scale Analysis of Climate Change Impact on Organohalogen Geochemical Cycling in Coastal Panamanian Mangroves
2019 Jennifer Willemsen CEE Ian Bourg Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Experimental Study of the Adsorption of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances on Smectite Clay Surfaces
2019 Shuwen Yue CBE Athanassios Panagiotopoulos Polarizable and Machine-Learning Models for Aqueous Electrolyte Solutions
2018 Vinicius de Aguiar Furuie ANT João Biehl Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on an Amazonian River Economy
2018 Xiaogang He CEE Eric Wood and Justin Sheffield Toward a Better Understanding of Flood and Drought Risk and Its Relationship with Climate, Anthropogenic Activities and Human Behaviors
2018 Heather Hunter CEE Catherine Peters Metals Removal from Wastewater Through Co-Precipitation with Barite
2018 Nancy Lu CBE Sujit Datta Immiscible Fluid Displacement in 3D Deformable Porous Media: Understanding Groundwater Contamination
2018 Danrui Ni CHM Robert Cava Preparation of Doped Copper-Silver-Galium-Indium Sulfide (CSGIS) Semiconductor for Photocatalytic Water Reduction and Hydrogen Evolution
2018 Lindsay Ofrias ANT João Biehl Oil Contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon: An Ethnography Inquiry of Intention and Intervention
2018 Xin Sun GEO Bess Ward Explore Unexpected Nitrite Oxidation in Anoxic Waters
2018 Noemi Vergopolan da Rocha CEE Eric Wood and Justin Sheffield Downscaling Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture to 30-m Resolution Using Hyper-Resolution Land Surface Modeling in the Conterminous U.S.
2018 Jeffrey Young CBE Athanassios Panagiotopoulos Models and Methods for Activity Coefficients and Solubility of Aqueous Electrolytes in Molecular Simulations
2018 Estella Yu MAE Howard Stone Particle Separation by Size Using the Motion of a Bubble
2017 Kessie Alexandre ANT João Biehl Clean Water, Green City: An Ethnographic Study of Aging Water Infrastructures and Urban Greening in the City of Newark
2017 Keita DeCarlo CEE Kelly Caylor Merging Soil Structure with Plant Function: Investigating the Role of Belowground Plant Morphology on Soil Water Dynamics
2017 Ying Liu MAE Howard Stone Enhanced “Greener” Oil Recovery Through Low-Sanility Waterflooding
2017 Hamid Omidvar CEE Elie Bou-Zeid Hot Runoff Effects on Streams Temperature and Ecology
2017 Melany Ruiz CEE Peter Jaffé Characterization and Optimization of the Feammox Process for the Development of an Energy Efficient Anaerobic Ammonium Removal
2017 Kimia Shahi ART Rachael DeLue Margin, Surface, Depth: Picturing the Contours of the Marine in Nineteenth-Century America
2017 Kaia Tombak EEB Daniel Rubenstein Parasite Exposure Dynamics and their Impacts on Zebra Populations in a Landscape with Changing Water Distribution
2017 Henry Xian CEE Ning Lin Coastal Flood Resilience Under Climate Change: From Scientific Modeling to Behavioral Understanding
2016 Maya Buchanan WWS Michael Oppenheimer Resilience Outcomes Under Uncertain Se Level Rise and Adaptation Strategies: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach for Jamaica Bay
2016 Yuyang Fan MAE Marcus Hultmark A Scalable, Low Energy Consumption, Nano-Scale Velocity and Temperature Sensor for Environmental Monitoring and Water-Based Marine Research
2016 Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi CEE Kelly Caylor Satellite and Model-Based Characterization of Canopy Dew Formation and Interception in Tropical Forests
2016 Jennifer Guyton EEB Robert Pringle Causes and Consequences of Vegetation Community Shift in a Critical Floodplain Ecosystem after Near-Extinction of Herbivores and Severe Drought
2016 Yao Lai MAE Howard Stone Flowback Dynamics and Reduction of Water Use in Hydraulic Fracturing
2016 Kathryn Maxson HOS Angela Creager Sea Change: Salt Water and the Study of Life in America, 1888-2000
2016 Darcy McRose GEO François Morel The Role of Siderophores in the Pathogenicity and Ecology of Marine Vibrios
2015 Jesse Ault MAE Howard Stone Large-Surface-Area Continuous-Flow Evaporative Water Purification
2015 Josh Daskin EEB Robert Pringle Hydrology and Fire Impacts in Everglades Headwater Under Climate Change
2015 Mingzhen Lu EEB Lars Hedin Hydrological Nutrients Loss from Pristine Mountain Catchments of Western Cape Province, South Africa — an Adaptive Strategy of the Hyper-Diverse Fynbos Vegetation?
2015 Ben Schaffer CEE Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe Biomass and Soil Moisture Dynamics; Implications for Landscape Characterization and Structure
2014 Stephanie Debats CEE Kelly Caylor Remote Monitoring of Agricultural Crop Development Under a Changing Climate for the US and Sub-Saharan Africa
2014 Brianne Smith CEE James Smith An Interdisciplinary Approach to Exploration of Flash Flood Severity and Frequency Across the United States
2013 Carole Dalin CEE Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe Impacts of Policy and Climate on China’s Food and Water Security
2013 Xingli Giam EEB David Wilcove Impacts of Land Use Change on Freshwater Systems in Southeast Asia
2012 Minjin Lee CEE Peter R. Jaffé Adapting Dynamic land Model, LM3V, to Simulate Nitrogen Exports and Transformations in the Susquehanna River