Reed Maxwell, Jerry Zee to join Princeton Environmental Institute faculty

Morgan Kelly ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) will welcome two new faculty members, Reed Maxwell, professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Princeton Environmental Institute, and Jerry Zee, assistant professor of anthropology and the Princeton Environmental Institute, starting Sept. 1.

Their appointments expand the number of faculty who are jointly appointed in PEI to 15. PEI also includes more than 120 associated faculty from departments across the Princeton campus whose work focuses on or relates to the environment.

PEI Director Michael Celia, the Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Environmental Studies and professor of civil and environmental engineering, said that Maxwell and Zee bring to Princeton their respective expertise in watershed hydrology and the environmental humanities. Both areas are key focuses of PEI and are of increasing importance in understanding the interconnectedness of natural systems, as well as the ethical, visual, literal and justice dimensions of environmental issues.

“Both Reed and Jerry bring dynamic leadership to PEI and the campus,” Celia said. “Reed adds remarkable strength in the areas of water science and hydrology, continuing and enhancing the tradition of excellence in these areas at Princeton. Jerry is a great addition to our environmental humanities program and further strengthens our partnership with the Department of Anthropology.”

Brief biographies of Maxwell and Zee are below.

Maxwell is currently a professor of hydrology at the Colorado School of Mines and director of the Integrated Groundwater Modeling Center (IGWMC). His research focuses on understanding connections within the hydrologic cycle and how they relate to water quantity and quality under anthropogenic stresses. Maxwell has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles and teaches classes on integrated hydrology, fluid mechanics and modeling terrestrial water flow.

Before joining the School of Mines faculty in 2009, Maxwell was a postdoctoral researcher and then physicist in the Hydrologic Sciences group at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in environmental water resources from the University of California-Berkeley in 1998.

“Reed is at the forefront of a new area of groundwater hydrology that applies high-performance computing and data science to understand feedbacks between water on land and in the atmosphere,” said Catherine Peters, chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering and PEI associated faculty. “He will teach courses in hydrology, water resources and climate. This appointment ensures Princeton’s sustained leadership in hydrology, which was established more than a half-century ago.”

Zee is a sociocultural anthropologist and an assistant professor of anthropology and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz. His research explores geophysical and environmental emergence as sites of political experiment. Zee situates his work at the intersections of feminist science and technology studies, the environmental humanities, and experimental ethnography.

Zee also considers the rise of China as a matter of geophysical and geopolitical entanglement moving across weather systems that connects inland land degradation, major dust-storm formation, and the eventual scattering of Chinese land as meteorological fallout across the Northern Hemisphere.

Before joining the Santa Cruz faculty in 2016, Zee was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California-Davis and received his Ph.D. in anthropology from UC-Berkeley in 2015.