Catherine Birney


Graduate Research Assistant


As an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Catherine conducted research on forward osmosis and membrane distillation water filtration systems. With a small team, she designed and built a portable solar-powered membrane purification system for emergency drinking water supply. Catherine’s interest in this project led her to pursue a graduate degree and continue research in the energy-water nexus.

As a Master’s student, Catherine’s research focused on the use of geothermal energy for brackish water desalination in Texas. Currently, Catherine is pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. Her research has shifted to examine relationships in the food-energy-water nexus. In her latest project, she calculated the per capita environmental impacts from food waste and overconsumption.

Research Topics

The Food-Energy-Water Nexus


PhD Student, Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Expected May 2019

MS, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, May 2016

BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Maryland, College Park, May 2014


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, April 2014

Contact Information