Madeline Fontaine at Lake Tahoe

Madeline Fontaine

Ph.D. in Hydrology She/her/hers


I earned my B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Upon graduation I started working as a hydrogeologist with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). At DATCP, I was part of the Environmental Quality Unit where I tracked agricultural chemical transport in surface water and groundwater systems throughout the state. In addition to my position at DATCP, I also worked as a private water supply specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, I study post-wildfire debris flows. My focus is on how high performance computing systems coupled with machine learning can be used to create mechanics based models to better predict these hazards. I enjoy exploring the Tahoe area and Sierras on backcountry skis or in hiking boots.

Research interests

  • Natural hazards engineering
  • Hydroclimate extremes
  • Soil and rock mechanics
  • Debris flows
  • Post-wildfire hydrology
  • Numerical methods
  • Machine learning
  • Material point method
  • High performance computing
  • Uncertainty quantification


  • B.S. in Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2019