Christina Cianfrani

Director of Teaching and Learning Initiatives and Professor of Hydrology
Hampshire College Professor Christina Cianfrani
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Christina Cianfrani
Cole Science Center 105b

On sabbatical spring 2023.

Christina Cianfrani, director of teaching and learning initiatives and professor of hydrology, received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, M.S. from Yale University, and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Vermont.

Her research focuses on watershed processes approached from an ecological and engineering perspective. Specifically, she explores the effects of urbanization on stream systems and conducts basic geomorphological research relating hydrologic stream characteristics with biotic integrity. To conduct these interdisciplinary research projects she partners with local and state agencies, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and private consultants.

Her teaching interests include watershed hydrology, stream ecology, sustainable water resources, stream restoration, and fluvial geomorphology.

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Recent and Upcoming Courses

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  • Wetlands provide many ecosystem services including flood control, water filtration, and storm protection and are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Constructed wetlands utilize these principles to treat waste generated by humans (e.g. stormwater, greywater, wastewater). In this course we will explore the structure and function of natural wetland systems and then apply this knowledge in understanding the role constructed wetlands can play in the treatment of waste. Specifically we will study the design, hydraulics, and nutrient and pollutant removal of different types of constructed wetlands. Students will explore the primary literature, work in groups to complete lab exercises, and tour constructed wetland systems on Hampshire's campus. Basic topics will include the hydrologic cycle, biogeochemical cycles, greywater recycling, and stormwater reuse. Keywords: environmental science, hydrology, natural resources, ecology

  • This course will use a natural science lens to explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with a specific focus on the food-water-energy nexus. We will explore the implementation of the goals on a global scale as well as efforts underway locally and regionally. Students in this class will read primary literature, complete case studies, work collaboratively and independently on sustainability projects and actively participate in small group and class discussions and activities. We will use elements of the Hampshire College campus living laboratory as points of discussion, taking fields trips when possible, including: the net zero energy/water living building, the solar array and the college farm center. Keywords: environmental science, geoscience, sustainability

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  • Floods, droughts, hurricanes and other extreme weather events have been increasing in response to climate change. How will these and other effects impact our access to freshwater? How will we adapt to these changing conditions? This class will cover a brief introduction to the science behind climate change prediction and modeling and look specifically at the impacts to the water cycle and water resources. Students will read and discuss primary literature, work in project teams to collect and interpret data and learn the skills scientists use to analyze climate and water-related issues. This course will use the Hampshire Campus as a living laboratory and may involve short field trips to sites on campus. Fully addressing these challenges requires a systems thinking approach drawing from diverse fields, expertise, and knowledges. As part of the Environments and Change Learning Collaborative, we will have the opportunity to engage in collaborative work and projects with a cohort of classes at Hampshire College addressing similar questions from different perspectives to form a learning community. Keywords: Environmental Science, climate change, systems thinking

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