Toward a Resilient Water Future

November 14, 2023

About the speakers

W. John MacMullen

Executive Director
Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub

W. John MacMullen is the Executive Director of the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH), part of the national network of NSF-funded regional Big Data Innovation Hubs. MBDH is led from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), within the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). John is a social scientist and former faculty member in the School of Information Sciences at UIUC, where his research and teaching focused on bioinformatics and data curation practices in model organism databases.

Pinar Balci, PhD

Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis
NYC Department of Environmental Protection

Pinar Balci is the Assistant Commissioner of the Environmental Planning and Analysis at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. She manages many of DEP’s sustainability initiatives, including the NYC Green Infrastructure Program, City-wide MS4 Stormwater Management Program, Demand Management Program, Climate Resiliency and Wetland Restoration. She provides technical and policy support to DEP’s CSO Long Term Control Plans and oversees Environmental Impacts Assessments of DEP’s capital program. She also leads efforts related to protection of Jamaica Bay and planning for new growth stimulated by rezoning throughout the City. Prior to joining NYC DEP, Pinar held multiple management positions at the South Florida Water Management District, where she was responsible for planning and providing policy, permitting oversight to an array of Everglades Restoration and Capital Projects.

Dr. Balci has published multiple manuscripts regarding ecosystem restoration and water resource planning in journals and provided peer reviews of manuscripts on behalf of professional journals.

Geneva Gray

Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Geneva Gray is a Physical Scientist in the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a doctoral student, she was named the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Future of Science Graduate Student and Post-Master’s Award winner in 2022. She studied how extreme precipitation events change under future warming conditions using stakeholder-driven case studies and extreme value analysis. Gray holds two BS degrees in Meteorology and Environmental Sciences, and an MS degree (studying quantitative methods on climate model ensemble selection) and PhD in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, all from North Carolina State University.

Lilit Yeghiazarian

Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
University of Cincinnati

Dr. Yeghiazarian is a Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. She holds degrees in Electrical and Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute and the American University of Armenia. Dr. Yeghiazarian obtained her PhD from the Cornell University Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering for her work on microbial dynamics in complex environmental systems. She studied active polymer materials at the Cornell University Department of Materials Science and Engineering as a postdoctoral fellow.Dr. Yeghiazarian is a recipient of numerous awards, including a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), a Ruth L. Kirschstein award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an InterPore Rosette Award from the International Society for Porous Media, and an NSF Convergence Accelerator award on Urban Flooding. Her research portfolio covers topics ranging from watershed processes, sustainability, and environmental sensing to porous media and multifunctional materials.