J. Burdette Barker, Ph.D.

Picture of Burdette Barker

After finishing his B.S. and M.S. from Utah State University, Burdette spent almost three years working with an irrigation engineering consulting firm. Burdette graduated with his Biological Engineering in May 2017 with the dissertation "Spatial irrigation management using remote sensing water balance modeling and soil water content monitoring." Burdette was coadvised by Derek Heeren and Christopher Neale, and is currently working as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate under their supervision.


  • University of Nebraska Presidential Fellowship. 2016-2017. Awarded to only three students at UNL. (news article & video)
  • Elenore Gakemeier Swarts Outstanding Graduate Student Award. April 23, 2016. UNL Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) Annual Student Awards Banquet.
  • Second place entry, graduate student poster contest. Barker, J. B., C. M. U. Neale, and D. M. Heeren. 2015. Managing variable rate irrigation with a hybrid remote sensing evapotranspiration model. Nebraska Water Symposium, Lincoln, Nebr.
  • Milton E. Mohr Biotechnology Fellowship, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2015

Mumba Mwape, M.S.

Mumba Mwape is very passionate about improving the livelihood of small scale farmers in her home country of Zambia. She graduated with her M.S. in Mechanized Systems Management in May 2017 with her thesis "Selection and design of irrigation systems in Zambia." Mumba was in our double degree program with the University of Nebraska Water for Food Global Institute and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands. In a bid to find less costly and sustainable ways of providing irrigation to small scale farmers, Mumba’s research focused on designing suitable community irrigation systems in two areas (Masaiti-Mpongwe and Samfya-Lunga) found in agro-ecological region III of Zambia. She is currently an Agricultural Research Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Lusaka, Zambia. When not at work, Mumba enjoys taking time off to take walks with her husband and daughter. (More on Mumba's story here.)

Himmy Lo, M.S.

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Tsz Him (Himmy) Lo graduated with his M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering in July 2015 with the thesis "Quantification of variable rate irrigation benefits and spatial variability in root zone water holding capacity." He is now working on his North Platte, NE, where he is coadvised by Daran Rudnick, Tim Shaver, and Derek Heeren.

Ryan Freiberger, M.S.

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Ryan used Hydrus 2D/3D to model infiltration, macropore flow, and solute transport, and graduated with his M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering in December 2014 with the thesis "Single- and dual-porosity calibration and long-term modeling of highly conductive floodplain soils in the Ozark ecoregion." He is currently an Envrionmental Engineer with AECOM in Omaha.