PhD Spotlight: Cassie Nickles, PhD’21 – Civil Engineering
Originally from Los Angeles, Cassie Nickles, PhD’21, civil engineering, began her doctoral journey with Northeastern’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2017 after graduating from Loyola Marymount University with her bachelor’s in civil engineering. The same year, she received the Cochrane Fellowship, and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In her time working under the guidance of Professor Edward Beighley, Nickles’ research focused on large-scale river networks and hydrologic applications enabled by NASA’s upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. Her dissertation specifically found that despite the SWOT mission’s unique space-time sampling, derived discharges can be used to estimate river discharge frequency distributions, calibrate hydrologic models, and inform regional hydrology. In the four years of her PhD, she published four articles in top journals: Remote Sensing, Water Resources Research, and Geophysical Research Letters. She also presented her findings at ten conferences, nationally and internationally. From connections made at these conferences, she had the opportunity to intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the summer of 2020. In addition to academic success, Nickles served as both a member and then president of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Graduate Student Council, intentionally facilitating and cultivating community between students, faculty, and the department with social events, orientations, and town hall meetings. In her future endeavors, Nickles seeks to continue combining her passions for service and intellectual stimulation, benefiting society through hydrologic and remote sensing applications.