Faculty Members

This is what Saurav looks like
Saurav Kumar PhD, PE
Assistant Professor
since 2019
sk2@asu.edu
ISTB7 Room 410, ASU Tempe, AZ

Saurav is a technophile at heart. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe. He was also an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M AgriLife and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M.
CV

Originally from New Delhi, he has made his way to El Paso via Singapore, Stanford, Manassas, and Blacksburg. He did his undergraduate work in Environmental Engineering at the Delhi College of Engineering. His MS in Environmental Science and Engineering is from Singapore-Stanford Program (SSP) and his Ph.D. (Civil Water-Resources) is from Virginia Tech. Before joining AgriLife Research, he had worked at Virginia Tech and the University of Texas at El Paso.

He is passionate about acquiring data and putting it to good use for environmental and natural resource decision-making. The idea of applying new technologies and affecting minds keeps him moving. He loves to run, hike, bike, travel and eat. His current goal is to run 5km in 25 minutes

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Rocky Talchabhadel PhD
Research Scientist
since 2020
rocky.talchabhadel@ag.tamu.edu
RM 108, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Rocky is a water resource engineer at heart. He did his Ph.D. in Civil and Earth Resources Engineering from Kyoto University, Japan. Before moving to the US, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.


CV

Originally from Nepal, his undergraduate (Civil Engineering) and MSc (Water Resources Engineering) are from the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. His expertise includes Hydrology, Climate Change, Hydraulics, Sediment Transport, and Remote Sensing. His research is on integrated modeling of surface and sub-surface water. He also works with remote sensing, machine learning, and big data.

He enjoys playing with data of all types, from citizen-science data to satellite-based remote sensing estimates. He also loves to cook, eat and travel.

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Staff Researchers

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Abbey Johnson MS
Research Associate
since 2022
abbey.johnson@ag.tamu.edu
RM 123, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Abbey Johnson is a research associate with Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in El Paso. Abbey earned her BS in Marine and Freshwater Biology from UT Austin and her MS in Biology from Texas Christian University. For the last two years, she has been in Duluth, Minnesota conducting aquatic toxicology research as a fellow with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Within the lab, Abbey is currently helping with the development of the Nutrient Management Data Explorer – an integrated database of case studies that will provide information on nutrient reductions and receiving water responses for the improvement of water systems across the US. Her various research interests all stem from her desire to identify and reduce negative impacts on the environment and their ecosystems.

After living in frigid Minnesota, she’s happy to be back in Texas enjoying the warmth and is looking forward to exploring El Paso.

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Esmaiil Mokari PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
since 2022
esmaiil.m@ag.tamu.edu
RM 110, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Esmaiil is originally from Iran. He earned a master’s degree in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering from the University of Tehran and then went on to pursued two PhDs at New Mexico State University in Plant and Environmental Sciences and Civil Engineering.

His research has focused on contaminant transport modeling, water conservation, climate change impacts, and monitoring evapotranspiration using advanced techniques. As a postdoc, he is modeling the process of carbon dioxide emissions from heavily irrigated pecan orchards and how water balance affects carbon dioxide emissions. He is also in charge of the upkeep of our in-situ agriculture sensing network.

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Santosh Palmate PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
since 2020
santosh.palmate@ag.tamu.edu
RM 109, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Santosh works on agroecosystem modeling including system dynamics modeling for salinity management. Besides modeling, he is also involved with aerial and field hyperspectral imaging. He is a very important cog in the research group and has his hands in developing research articles, developing proposals, and supervising other personnel.

He obtained a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee. He has experience in hydrological modeling, landuse and climate change impact assessment, best management practices evaluation, and wetland conservation planning. Before joining the postdoc position, he worked at Wetlands International South Asia, New Delhi, and IIT Roorkee. 

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Cynthia Sanchez
Research Technician
from 2021to 2019
cynthia.sanchez@ag.tamu.edu
RM 123, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Cynthia was born in El Paso, TX and raised in Fabens, TX. In 2019 she graduated from El Paso Community Collage with an Associate of Arts. She got her Environmental Science degree with a concertation in Biology from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2021.

She is helping us work with old aerial imagery from North West Texas to understand how communities react with changing groundwater levels and several other projects. Before working he she took on an internship at Chamizal National Memorial park and enjoyed learning about the city’s history and culture.

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Helene McMillan PhD
Associate Research Scientist
from 2020to 2021
helene.mcmillan@ag.tamu.edu
RM 120, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Helene McMillan is an associate research scientist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso. Helene is working to develop a comprehensive water budget for the Hueco Bolson aquifer between the Republic of Mexico and the state of Texas. Living in Juarez, the project is of both professional and personal interest to her. She also works on developing a Bayesian Belief Network model for parts of the Ogallala aquifer in Texas. Her interests are in studying the underlying factors for grower decisions and how they-impact/are-impacted by groundwater availability. Further, she is interested in mechanisms of water-soil-interaction, groundwater recharge, and groundwater salinity issues.

Helene holds a Ph.D. in environmental science, pedology, and soil physics, from a joint program of the Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research and the University of Potsdam, Germany. She has been fascinated and working on groundwater issues in (semi-) arid regions around the world, including the Lake Chad Region, and is a true water ambassador.

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Natalie Campbell
Research Technician
from 2019to 2021
natalie.campbell@ag.tamu.edu
RM 121, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Natalie helped us start the image alignment for the Ogallala project. She also maintained our sensor network.

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Nidhi Chada
Software Application Developer
from 2020to 2021
nidhi.chadha@ag.tamu.edu
Raritan, NJ

Nidhi is Software Application Developer working from Raritan, New Jersey. Currently, She is working on the OCCVIZ project which is a web-based water resource analysis portal. 

She is originally from New Delhi, India. She was working with IBM as a quality analyst before moving to the US. Nidhi has worked as a quality analyst for mobile applications (iOS, Android) and web-based application agile processes. She did her undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Kurukshetra University. She is ISTQB & ITIL certified.

She has a keen interest in reading novels, camping. 

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Sebastian Gonzalez
Software Application Developer
from 2021to 2021
sebastian.gonzalez@ag.tamu.edu
somewhere in El Paso, TX

Sebastian is a student at UTEP working towards the Master’s in Software Engineering with cyber-security concentration. He has worked at a research center at UTEP for three years as a Full Stack Web Developer and helped to build applications from scratch for EPMPO and TXDOT. He is also the Webmaster for the Transportation Leadership Council (TLC) at UTEP and with TLC, he has volunteered for more than 50 hours at local elementary schools and high schools. He is working with Texas A&M in as a Software Applications Developer using the most advanced web-frameworks and API’s.

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Yohtaro Kobayashi
Research Technician
from 2019to 2021
yohtaro.kobayashi@ag.tamu.edu
RM 122, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Yohtaro's interests lie in water processes and water resources. He grew up here in El Paso as all his education so far has been in El Paso. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso for a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and for a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering.

During his undergraduate, he attended some classes that piqued his interest in research. Since then he has worked on several research projects including developing a Bayesian belief network to assist decision-makers in managing irrigation salinity on a farm and measuring the change in shadows by recording images under an orchard canopy.
After graduating from UTEP, he has worked full time at the Texas A&M Agrilife El Paso. Here he has working on processing hyperspectral images, using a hyperspectral camera to determine if carbon dioxide can be sensed in NIR region, understanding land-use change in Texas counties, and developing Python scripts. He will be joining Virginia Tech in Fall 2021 for doctoral work in Biological Systems Engineering.

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Student Researchers

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Isabel Uribe
Undergraduate Student/Work Study
since 2022 isabel.uribe@ag.tamu.edu
RM 122, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Isabel is a student researchers. She helps us to collect data and perform other research functions including data analysis and reviews. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at El Paso, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with Biomedical Concentration. She is also a proud member of of the American Society of Microbiology at UTEP.
She love going to the movies, traveling, and spending time with my family.

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Jorge Garcia
Undergraduate Student/Student Worker
since 2019 jorge.garcia@ag.tamu.edu
RM 119, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Jorge is an undergraduate student pursuing Mechanical Engineering degree from UTEP. He is working on multiple projects with other members. Primarily he helps us fly and maintain the fleet of aerial platforms and imagers. He is an FAA Part 107 certified pilot.

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Josue Guerrero
Undergraduate Student/Work Study
since 2021 josue.guerrero@ag.tamu.edu
RM 122, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Josue is an undergraduate electrical engineering student at UTEP. He is helping us maintain felid equipment and UAVs.

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Andres Estrada
Undergraduate Student/Work Study
from 2020 to 2021 andres.estrada@ag.tamu.edu
RM 123, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Andreas is an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student from UTEP. He is working on multiple projects with other members. Primarily he helps us maintain the fleet of aerial platforms and imagers. He is also our go-to person for 3D printing.

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Aracely Garcia
Undergraduate Student/Work Study
from 2021 to 2021 aracely.garcia@ag.tamu.edu
RM 121, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Aracely is an undergraduate student at UTEP majoring in Geophysics. She is helping with projects that use hyperspectral imaging.

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Damian Cruz
Undergraduate Student/Work Study
from 2019 to 2020 ddcruz@miners.utep.edu
RM 119, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso

Damian is a Mechanical Engineering student at UTEP. He is also a UTEP Rugby team member. He works on everything from getting us ready for the UAV flights to maintaining the equipment. He is also our 3D printing expert.

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Daven Cheu
Visiting Scholar
from 2020 to 2021 dcheu@ucsd.edu
At University of California, San Diego

Daven is an Environmental Systems (Earth Sciences) student at UCSD. He was born in Singapore and raised in El Paso, Texas. He worked on multiple projects, including UAS and GIS. His primary work was in identifying Best Management Practices around various US cities in GIS and collecting imagery in order to train a neural network capable of identifying them. He also assisted in research and handling UAS in the field.

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Habibur Howlider
PhD Student/Visiting Scholar
from 2020 to 2021 habibur.howlider@gmail.com
at UTEP

Habibur is originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He did his undergraduate work in Agriculture Engineering at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka. His MS is in Environmental Toxicology from Texas Southern University, Houston.

Currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in the Dept. of Environmental Science and Engineering. He is working on research related to crop monitoring through aerial and field Hyperspectral/Multispectral Imaging. He is also a visiting scholar at our lab and helps with UAV Hyperspectral imagery processing for Cotton and Pecan fields in the El Paso region.

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Wissam Atwah
PhD Student
from 2019 to 2021 waatwah@miners.utep.edu
Somewhere in Kingsville, TX

Wissam Atwah is doing his doctoral work at the University of Texas at El Paso. Fingers crossed he will gradate in 2021. His research focuses on the application of remote sensing and machine learning on Land Use Land Cover Change and sustainability problems. Also, he worked with our group on using Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and Satellite-based remote sensing for environmental monitoring and modeling. He obtained a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Tennessee State University.

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