Karletta Chief

Karletta Chief
Assistant Professor
Shantz Building, 517

Department of Soil Water and Environmental Science
The University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210038
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0038

Office Phone: 
(520) 626-5598
(520) 621-1647

Ph.D. 2007 Univ. of Arizona Hydrology and Water Resources
(Vadose Zone Hydrology) Minor in Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences
M.S. 2000 Stanford Univ. Civil and Environmental Engineering
B.S. 1998 Stanford Univ. Civil and Environmental Engineering

2010 American Indian Science and Engineering Society “Most Promising Engineer/Scientist of the Year”

2007 Univ. of Arizona School of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Assistant

2007 Department of Hydrology & Water Resources Student Interface Award

2006 Univ. of Arizona Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellow

2006 John Rainer American Indian Leadership Award

2005 Univ. of Arizona Computer Science, Engineering, & Mathematics Scholar

2004 Stanford Univ. Minority Alumni Task Force Featured Alumni

2003 Univ. of Arizona Centennial Award for Doctoral Students

2003 Arizona Hydrological Society Scholar

2003 American Indian Science and Engineering Society EPA Tribal Lands Scholar

8/2011. Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences, Tucson, AZ

2007-201.1 Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Desert Research Institute (DRI), Division of Hydrologic Sciences (DHS), Nevada System of Higher Education

2007. Hydrologist, Brown and Caldwell Consulting, Division of Water Resources, Tucson, Arizona

2003-2007. Graduate Research Assistant, Univ. of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources

2002. Graduate Assistant, Univ. of Arizona Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA).

2002. Research Intern, Navajo Nation, Department of Water Resources

1999. Environmental Engineering Intern, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.

1998-2000. Research Assistant, Stanford Univ., Civil and Environmental Engineering

1998. Environmental Engineering Intern, HDR Engineering, Phoenix, AZ

1997-1998. Stanford Undergraduate Research Fellow, Stanford Univ., Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Karletta Chief is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Specialist in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. As an assistant professor, the goal of her research is to improve our understanding, tools, and predictions of watershed hydrology, unsaturated flow in arid environments, and how natural and human disturbances affect soil hydrology through the use of physically based methods. Dr. Chief research also focuses on how indigenous communities will be affected by climate change and collaborated in an interdisciplinary group of scientists including hydrologists, system dynamic modelers, and social scientists to determine how hydrological models can be improved to identify and mitigate risks to these vulnerable populations. As an extension specialist, she works to bring relevant science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner by providing hydrology expertise, transferring knowledge, assessing information needs, and developing applied science projects.

July 2010  Co- Instructor, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV,“Interdisciplinary Modeling: Water-Related Issues” Short Course

July 2009  Co-Organizer and Instructor, Diné Tribal College, Navajo Nation Navajo, Shiprock, NM, “Watershed Hydrology and Restoration” Short Course

2009  Co-Lecturer, Univ. of Nevada Las Vegas, Geosciences Department, Graduate Course, GEOL 719 “Vadose Zone Hydrology”

2002-2007  Graduate Teaching Assistant, Univ. of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Undergraduate Courses, HWR 201: “Water Science and the Environment” and HWR 202: “The Water Cycle”

1998  Teacher, Stanford Univ., School of Engineering, Pre-College Math Institute, “Algebra & Trigonometry”

1995  Teacher, Stanford Univ., American Indian Program Office, American Indian Summer Immersion Program, “Calculus I”


Journal Articles

Chief, K., T.P.A. Ferré, and B. Nijssen. 2008b. Examination of correlation between air permeability and saturated hydraulic conductivity in unburned and burned desert soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 72:1-9.

Chief, K., T.P.A. Ferré, and A. C. Hinnell. 2008a. The effects of anisotropy on in situ air permeability measurements. Vadose Zone J. 7:1-7.

Chief, K., T.P.A. Ferré, and B. Nijssen. 2006. Field testing of a soil corer air permeameter (SCAP) in desert soils. Vadose Zone J. 5:1257-1263.

Manuscripts in preparation:

Chief, K., M.H. Young, and D. Shafer. 2011. Low-Intensity, fire-induced changes of soil structure, physical and hydraulic properties. Submitted.

Chief, K. and M.H. Young. Large weighing lysimeter for deep percolation studies in arid soils. In preparation.

Chen, L., M. Berli, and K. Chief. Examining Modeling Approaches for a Fire Affected Rainfall-Runoff Process. In preparation.

Meyer, W.J., Chen, L., M. Berli, and K. Chief. Post-wildfire debris flow modeling for a southern California watershed using FLO-2D. Geomorphology. Submitted.

Desert Reseach Institute Reports

Chief, K., M.H. Young, E. Knight, B.F. Lyles, J. Healey, J. Koonce, E. Johnson, J. Mon, M. Berli M. Menon, and G. Dana. 2009. Scaling Environmental Processes in Heterogeneous Arid Soils: Construction of Large Weighing Lysimeter Facility, p. 363. Desert Research Institute. Las Vegas, NV.

Chen, L., J. Miller, T. Caldwell, G. Dalldorf, K. Chief, M.H. Young, and L. Xiang. 2010. Hydraulic Characteristics of Soil in Rainbow Wash Watershed in Maricopa County, Arizona, p. 95. Desert Reseach Institute, Las Vegas, NV.

Shafer, D.S., J.J. Miller, K. Chief, W.J. Meyer, S. Jenkins, J. Tappen, M.H. Young, T.G. Caldwell, and C. Papelis. 2009. Potential Surface Water Transport of Depleted Uranium (DU) and DU Oxides in the Creech Watershed, p. 77. Desert Reseach Institute, Las Vegas, NV.