1301 W Green St
I am a 5th year PhD student working with Dr. Jim Best. My interests include sedimentology, surface processes, and bedform morphology and dynamics. My research focus is understanding the morphology and dynamics of dunes in alluvial channels. In my early research, I travelled to the world's largest river in terms of discharge, the Amazon River, Brazil, and in terms of transported sediment load, the Yellow River, China, for river field surveys. Here, I gained information of what the dunes look like in these rivers to better understand how they might form. In early work, I produced a large, spatial analysis of dune morphology thus describing dune size and shape in 5 of the world's big rivers including the Amazon, Mekong, Mississippi, Missouri, and Parana rivers. More recent work in my PhD has focused on how dunes react to varying flows for example during the rising and falling stage of a flood. To investigate this, I have worked with a unique dataset of Multi-Beam Echosounder surveys taken every 2 weeks for the last 15 years of the River Waal, Netherlands. Coupled with information of the flow conditions (flow discharge and water level), I have begun to quantify how dune size and shape change throughout a flood. This information can be used to predict safer shipping navigation conditions, for better quantification of roughness in flow modelling efforts, and for predicting flood hazards and risks. I am also conducting laboratory flume experiments at the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, where my main focus is understanding the morphology of bedforms generated in very fine sands and coarse silts – where there is currently a lack of quantitative information. I do this by utilizing acoustic methods to measure three-dimensional vectors in flow velocity at a point and along depth profiles, measuring bed longitudinal profiles, and gathering suspended sediment data.
In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my dog whether that be sitting on the porch, going for a hike, or taking long naps.
See links below of recent accomplishments:
Working in the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Lab: Lab work is not always pretty... and sometimes you approach cleaning a flume the same way you would a bathtub!
Julia and her beautiful dog, Nugget. Nugget is a hard worker and a very kind office mate (hes not very productive though and he mostly sleeps under Julia's office desk... he's lucky he's cute!).
- Ph.D. Student Geology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- B.S. Geology, Texas A&M University
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship ($138,000) August 2017 to Present
Marine and River Dune Dynamics International Travel Student Award (€500) April 2019
NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide ($5,000 + €4,500) June 2018
Outstanding Women Geology Graduate Student ($2,000) April 2018
UIUC Graduate College Distinguished Fellowship ($75,000) August 2015 to August 2017
GSA Graduate Research Grant ($1,550) March 2017
International Association Of Sedimentologists Research Grant (€1,000) July 2016 to August 2016
Marine and River Dune Dynamics International Travel Student Award (€500) April 2016
Awards and Honors
University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign:
NSF Graduate Research Fellow August 2017 to Present
Young Researcher Spotlight - AGU EPSP (nominated award) July 2019
Award for Best Presentation at the Marine and River Dune Dynamics Conf. April 2019
Academic Excellence through Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion March 2018
Ranked as Outstanding (top 10%) TA by students May 2017
Campus Insights student representative for Board of Trustees dinner April 2017
Graduate College Distinguished Fellow August 2015 to August 2017
Academic Excellence through Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion March 2017
ASPIRE Graduate Student Panelist for students underrepresented in academia August 2016
Co-Chair at Marine and River Dune Dynamics Workshop April 2016
Texas A&M University:
Magna Cum Laude May 2015
Undergraduate Research Scholar May 2015
College Of Geosciences Distinguished Student Award May 2015
Geology And Geophysics Outstanding Senior Award For Academic Excellence May 2015
Keynote Speaker at Geology and Geophysics Scholarship Dinner Banquet May 2015
2nd Place Best Paper Award for Undergraduate Research Scholar Thesis May 2015
1st Place Geology And Geophysics Department Research Symposium Oral April 2015
1st Place Geology And Geophysics Department Research Symposium Poster April 2014
Sedimentology and Stratigraphy - Spring 2017 (UIUC)
Field Camp: Geology of the Midwestern US - Summer 2015 (TAMU)
1. Cisneros, J. et al., (2020), Dunes in the World’s big rivers are characterized by low-angle leeside slopes and a complex shape, Nat. Geosci., 13, 156–162.
2. Galeazzi, C., Almeida, R., Mazoca, C., Best, J., Freitas, B., Ianniruberto, M., Cisneros, J., Tamura, L. (2018). The significance of superimposed dunes in the Amazon River: Implications for how large rivers are identified in the rock record. Sedimentology, 65(7), 2388-2403.
3. Cisneros, J., Guhlincozzi, A. R (2020), A framework for addressing the lack of diversity in the Geosciences through evaluating the current structure of institutional efforts, Invited to submit and in review for a special issue at GeoJournal.