Suzanne A. Pierce is an Assistant Professor of Research with the Environmental Science Institute in the Jackson School of Geosciences. She is also the Assistant Director of the Digital Media Collaboratory in the Center for Agile Technology at The University of Texas at Austin. A trained hydrogeologist with a focus on participatory deliberation, Dr. Pierce has prior professional background as a Scientist with Sandia National Laboratories and as the Environmental Manager for one of the world’s largest metals mines.

Dr. Pierce adopts a scholar-practitioner approach to integrate science-based information with human organizational systems for application to groundwater management and energy-water problems. Resultant decision support systems link participatory modeling with simulation, optimization, and multi-stakeholder concerns. Current projects include development of hydroinformatics for sustainable aquifer yield in Central Texas and South Australia, along with creation of the ENCOMPASS cyberinfrastructure for a geothermal basin in the Atacama Desert of Chile. ENCOMPASS is a scientific platform for sharing data, algorithms, and educational modules that has been funded by the Fulbright Nexus program and the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology for energy, innovation, and engagement.

Areas of Expertise

Integrated Water Resources Management Decision Support Systems Sustainability Science Energy-Water Groundwater Management Participatory Modeling


Research Locations



Current Research Programs & Projects

ENCOMPASS ( view )

Fulbright Nexus - U.S. Department of State (2011)

ICE WaRM Fellow - International Council on Exhchange Water and Resources Managment, Australian Commonwealth (2010)

EPA STAR FELLOW - Science to Achieve Results, Environmental Protection Agency (2002 - 2006)

PEO Scholar - Philanthropical Educational Organization for Women (2002 - 2003)

Graduate Students

Pedro P Cuevas, M.S., expected 2015 (Supervisor)
A Civil, Industrial Engineer and currently an Energy and Earth Resources masters student at UT Austin with a background in Energy Efficiency, Biomass and Solar Energy. Interested develop the natural gas resources in the Magallanes Basin in Chile. Expertise include: Entrepreneurship, Energy Consumption in the Commercial and Industrial Sector; Biomass; Solar Energy; Energy Finance.

Colleen Dawes, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
An Energy and Earth Resources masters student at UT Austin with a background in Environmental Geosciences interested in community and stakeholder engagement to create triple-bottom line solutions to our greatest resource problems in the nexus of energy, water, food and waste. Diverse work and research experience in zero waste planning and development, clean energy technology, nuclear mineralogy and the solar industry. Expertise include: Water Resources Planning and Management; Groundwater Resource Evaluation; Decision Support Systems; Participatory Model Design; Energy, Technology and Policy; Environmental Awareness; Sustainable Practices; Social Responsibility; Waste, Water, Energy and Food Resource Management

Reed A Malin (Supervisor)


Reed Malin (MA in EER and Public Affairs, 2012) and Dr. Eugenio Figueroa our colleague from the Universidad de Chile enjoy real Texas BBQ!

Images of the ESS Research Group and Energy Earth Resources students in action. This gallery shows current and past student photos from field sites, class activities, group meetings, and individual students working on their projects.

Reed Malin (MA in EER and Public Affairs, 2012) and Dr. Eugenio Figueroa our colleague from the Universidad de Chile enjoy real Texas BBQ!Heatseeker Gesture-enabled application testing for the Department of Energy Geothermal Student Competition 2010 (Reed Malin, MA 2012 and Daniel Noll, MA 2013).