Photo of Lauren McPhillips

Lauren McPhillips

Assistant Professor


  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

226B Sackett Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Water Resources Engineering

Interest Areas:

Water quality; Stormwater management; Green infrastructure; Urban ecohydrology; Biogeochemistry




  • BS, Science of Earth Systems, Cornell University, 2007
  • MS, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2013
  • Ph D, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2016


Journal Articles

  • Rouhangiz Yavari, Raj Cibin, Demetrius Zaliwciw and Lauren McPhillips, 2022, "Potential Impacts of Solar Farms on Landscape Hydrology: The State of Scientific Research and Stormwater Management Guidance", Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability
  • Benjamin Choat, Amber Pulido, Aditi S. Bhaskar, Rebecca L. Hale, Harry X. Zhang, Thomas Meixner, Lauren McPhillips, Kristina Hopkins, Jennifer Cherrier and Chingwen Cheng, 2022, "A Call to Record Stormwater Control Functions and to Share Network Data", JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE WATER IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, 8, (2)
  • Timon McPhearson, Elizabeth M. Cook, Marta Berbes-Blazquez, Chingwen Cheng, Nancy B. Grimm, Erik Anderson, Olga Barbosa, David G. Chandler, Heeju Chang, V. Chester, Mikhail, Daniel L. Childers, Stephen R. Elser, Niki Frantzeskaki, Zbigniew Grabowski, Peter Groffman, Rebecca L. Hale, David M. Iwaniec, Nadja Kabisch, Christopher Kennedy, Samuel A. Markolf, A. Marissa Matsler, Lauren McPhillips, Thaddeus R. Miller, Tischa A. Munoz-Erickson, Emma Rossi and Tiffany G. Troxler, 2022, "A social-ecological-technological systems framework for urban ecosystem services", ONE EARTH, 5, (5), pp. 505-518
  • Lauren McPhillips, Marissa Matsler, Bernice Rosenzweig and Yeowon Kim, 2020, "What is the role of green stormwater infrastructure in managing extreme precipitation events?", Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure
  • Anna Lintern, Lauren McPhillips, Brandon Winfrey, Jonathan M Duncan and Caitlin Grady, 2020, "Best Management Practices for Diffuse Nutrient Pollution: Wicked Problems Across Urban and Agricultural Watersheds", Environmental Science & Technology, 54, (15), pp. 9159-9174
  • Lauren McPhillips, Stevan R. Earl, Rebecca L. Hale and Nancy B. Grimm, 2019, "Urbanization in semi-arid Arizona watersheds results in decreased stream flashiness", Water Resources Research, 55, (11)
  • Bernice Rosenzweig, Benjamin L. Ruddell, Lauren McPhillips, Robert Hobbins, Timon McPhearson, Zhongqi Cheng, Heejun Chang and Yeowon Kim, 2019, "Developing knowledge systems for urban resilience to cloudburst rain events", ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY, 99, pp. 150-159
  • Christa Kelleher and Lauren McPhillips, 2019, "Exploring the application of topographic indices in urban areas as indicators of pluvial flooding locations", Hydrological Processes, Early View
  • Ashley Baker, Emma Brenneman, Heejun Chang, Lauren McPhillips and Marissa Matsler, 2019, "Spatial analysis of landscape and sociodemographic factors associated with green stormwater infrastructure distribution in Baltimore, Maryland and Portland, Oregon", Science of the Total Environment, 664, pp. 461-473
  • Bernice Rosenzweig, Lauren McPhillips, Heejun Chang, Chingwen Cheng, Claire Welty, Marissa Matsler, David Iwaniec and Cliff Davidson, 2018, "Pluvial Flooding Risk and Resilience", Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs)- Water, 5, (6)
  • Lauren E McPhillips and Marissa Matsler, 2018, "Temporal evolution of green stormwater infrastructure in three US cities", Frontiers in Built Environment, 4
  • Lauren McPhillips, Heejun Chang, Mikhail V. Chester, Yaella Depietri, Erin Friedman, Nancy B. Grimm, John S. Kominoski, Timon McPhearson, Pablo Méndez-Lázaro, Emma J. Rosi and Javad Shafiei Shiva, 2018, "Defining Extreme Events: A Cross-Disciplinary Review", Earth's Future, 6, (3), pp. 441-455
  • Lauren McPhillips, Christine Goodale and M. Todd Walter, 2018, "Nutrient Leaching and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Grassed Detention and Bioretention Stormwater Basins", Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, 4, (1), pp. 04017014
  • Z. J. Grabowski, A. M. Matsler, C. Thiel, Lauren McPhillips, R. Hum, A. Bradshaw, T. Miller and C. Redman, 2017, "Infrastructures as Socio-Eco-Technical Systems: Five Considerations for Interdisciplinary Dialogue", Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 23, (4), pp. 02517002
  • Natalie R. Morse, Lauren McPhillips, James P. Shapleigh and M. Todd Walter, 2017, "The Role of Denitrification in Stormwater Detention Basin Treatment of Nitrogen", Environmental Science & Technology, 51, (14), pp. 7928-7935
  • Elliot S. Friedman, Lauren McPhillips, Jeffrey J. Werner, Angela C. Poole, Ruth E. Ley, M. Todd Walter and Largus T. Angenent, 2016, "Methane Emission in a Specific Riparian-Zone Sediment Decreased with Bioelectrochemical Manipulation and Corresponded to the Microbial Community Dynamics", Frontiers in Microbiology, 6
  • Lauren McPhillips, Peter M. Groffman, Rebecca L. Schneider and M. Todd Walter, 2016, "Nutrient Cycling in Grassed Roadside Ditches and Lawns in a Suburban Watershed", Journal of Environment Quality, 45, (6), pp. 1901
  • Lauren McPhillips and M. Todd Walter, 2015, "Hydrologic conditions drive denitrification and greenhouse gas emissions in stormwater detention basins", Ecological Engineering, 85, pp. 67-75
  • Lauren McPhillips, Peter M. Groffman, Christine L. Goodale and M. Todd Walter, 2015, "Hydrologic and Biogeochemical Drivers of Riparian Denitrification in an Agricultural Watershed", Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 226, (6)
  • Lauren McPhillips, Anne Elise Creamer, Brian G. Rahm and M. Todd Walter, 2014, "Assessing dissolved methane patterns in central New York groundwater", Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 1, pp. 57-73
  • J. W. Harvey, J. D. Drummond, R. L. Martin, Lauren McPhillips, A. I. Packman, D. J. Jerolmack, S. H. Stonedahl, A. F. Aubeneau, A. H. Sawyer, L. G. Larsen and C. R. Tobias, 2012, "Hydrogeomorphology of the hyporheic zone: Stream solute and fine particle interactions with a dynamic streambed", Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 117, (G4), pp. n/a-n/a
  • Ben L. O'Connor, Judson W. Harvey and Lauren McPhillips, 2012, "Thresholds of flow-induced bed disturbances and their effects on stream metabolism in an agricultural river", Water Resources Research, 48, (8)
  • Judson W. Harvey, Gregory B. Noe, Laurel G. Larsen, Daniel J. Nowacki and Lauren McPhillips, 2011, "Field flume reveals aquatic vegetation's role in sediment and particulate phosphorus transport in a shallow aquatic ecosystem", Geomorphology, 126, (3-4), pp. 297-313
  • Lauren McPhill andps, , , "Learning from arid and urban aquatic ecosystems to inform more sustainable and resilient futures", Journal of Hydrology

Extension Publications

  • John Regan, Lauren McPhillips and Daniel Edward Ciolkosz, 2021, "Biochar Enhanced Infiltration Basin in Central Pennsylvania", Penn State Extension Articles

Research Projects

  • November 2020 - October 2025, "ECO-CBET: Transforming the Nitrogen Bioeconomy," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).
  • September 2021 - August 2025, "LEAP HI: Optimal design and life-long adaptation of civil infrastructure in a changing and uncertain environment for a sustainable future," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).
  • November 2021 - October 2024, "IRES Track 1: Sources and solutions of nonpoint source pollution," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).
  • July 2021 - October 2023, "Impacts of salt loading on nutrient and metal processing in stormwater bioretention," (Sponsor: Chesapeake Bay Trust).
  • November 2021 - October 2022, "Towards sustainable solar farm development: Minimizing environmental impact and maximizing ecosystem services," (Sponsor: Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Strategic Networks and Initiatives Program (SNIP)).

Honors and Awards

  • Best Paper Award, Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment/ ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, May 2020


Service to Penn State:

  • Participation in Governance Bodies and Related Activities, Member, Penn State Water Council Member, Penn State Water Council, August 2023
  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Biogeochemistry Dual Title Executive Committee, Biogeochemistry Dual Title Executive Committee, August 2021
  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Civil & Environmental Engineering Teaching Excellence Committee, Civil & Environmental Engineering Teaching Excellence Committee, August 2020 - August 2022
  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Water Graduate Program Committee, Water Graduate Program Committee, April 2019 - February 2020
  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Civil & Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Committee, Civil & Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Committee, August 2018 - August 2020
  • Committee Work, Committee Member, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Awards Committee, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Awards Committee, September 2018 - August 2019

Service to External Organizations:

  • Service to Governmental Agencies, Board Member, Board Member, State College Borough Water Authority, November 2022
  • Participation in or Service to Professional and Learned Societies, Committee Member, ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, Climate Change and Stormwater, July 2021
  • Participation in or Service to Professional and Learned Societies, Committee Member, ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, Urban Water Resources Research Council, May 2019
  • Participation in or Service to Professional and Learned Societies, Committee Member, American Society of Civil Engineers, Committee on Sustainability, Sustainability Liaison Subcommittee, June 2018 - June 2021
  • Organizing Conferences and Service on Conference Committees, Organizer, Fall Meeting Session Co-Chair and Convener, American Geophysical Union, December 2018



The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084