B.S. Columbia University, 2011Ph.D. Cornell University, 2017

As a longtime math geek and nature lover, I was excited to learn I could make a career as an environmental systems engineer, applying concepts of mathematics to improve the management of environmental systems. My research specifically focuses on advancing optimization and simulation methods used to inform the design and management of water resources systems with the goals of protecting people from nature (floods and droughts), and nature from people (pollution and consumption). I view this as an iterative process beginning with risk and uncertainty analysis to discover which sectors and populations are most vulnerable to natural and anthropogenic hazards, followed by multi-objective optimization of the system to reduce these multi-sectoral vulnerabilities. I am particularly interested in how advanced sensing and forecasting techniques can be used to inform this optimization.


  • UVA Engineering Graduate Student Council Advisor of the Year 2021
  • UVA Civil Engineering Teaching Award 2021
  • First Place, Universities Council on Water Resources Ph.D. Dissertation Award in Natural Science and Engineering 2017
  • Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, Water Resources Research 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Best Reviewer Award, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 2016

Research Interests

  • Water resources management
  • Multi-objective control
  • Stochastic hydrology
  • Risk analysis
  • Uncertainty analysis

Selected Publications

  • Advancing reservoir operations in the SWAT to reduce socio-ecological tradeoffs ABS Jordan, S.M., Quinn, J.D., Zaniolo, M., Giuliani, M. and Castelletti, A. (2022). Environmental Modelling & Software, 157, 105527.
  • Guidance on evaluating parametric model uncertainty at decision-relevant scales ABS Smith, J.D., Quinn, J.D. and Band, L.E. (2022). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26, 2519-2539.
  • Profitability of climate-smart soil fertility investment varies widely across sub-Saharan Africa ABS McCullough, E.B., Quinn, J.D. and Simons, A.M. (2022). Nature Food, 3(4), 275-285.
  • Can exploratory modeling of water scarcity vulnerabilities and robustness be scenario neutral? ABS Quinn, J.D., Hadjimichael, A., Reed, P.M. and Steinschneider, S. (2020). Earth's Future, 8(11), e2020EF001650.
  • What is controlling our control rules? Opening the black box of multireservoir operating policies using time-varying sensitivity analysis ABS Quinn, J.D., Reed, P.M., Giuliani, M. and Castelletti, A. (2019). Water Resources Research, 55(7), 5962-5984.

Courses Taught

  • SYS 4021: Linear Statistical Models
  • CE 6280: Stochastic Hydrology

Featured Grants & Projects