Riley Post

Riley Post, PhD student, civil engineering

Alleviates flood impacts

“Riley has always made time to share his story and his scholarship with colleagues, donors, and friends at various meetings and outreach events, and has proven to be an excellent ambassador for the university.” -Laura McLeran, associate vice president and senior advisor to the president

Blue Grass, Iowa

Faculty mentor/advisor: Witold Krajewski, PhD, professor, civil and environmental engineering, and director, Iowa Flood Center, College of Engineering

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in civil engineering (May 2024)

Please describe your research:
I study whether systems of small dams that exist throughout a watershed can be used to limit the effects of flooding. Using computer models, I can add gates to the dam outlets and operate them together to augment stream flows. This work looks directly at several aspects of hydrology, including remotely sensed rainfall, rainfall forecast uncertainty, hydrologic simulation, and optimized control of reservoir systems.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
Warmer air can carry more moisture, and as our planet warms due to climate change this means that many areas will get more frequent intense rainfall. These new rainfall patterns could mean that flooding will be both more frequent and more intense. My work seeks to add a new tool to our fight against flooding to hopefully alleviate some of these impacts.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
My research began immediately when I started my PhD.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Not only has doing research helped make me a more well-rounded engineer, but it has also introduced me to so many unbelievable people and ideas. The team at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering is great and doing my PhD has been an extremely fulfilling experience.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I would like to continue to develop my research skills as a postdoctoral researcher following my graduation. My goal is to then seek a faculty position where I can continue doing research but also teach and advise graduate students. I hope that I can encourage the next generation of engineers to ask big questions and show them the tools to work towards finding solutions.

Banner location: Downtown—