Debra Perrone

Assistant Professor

Office Location

Bren 4025


Water Resources


  • 2014 Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2010 M.S., Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2008 B.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania


Debra is a first-generation college graduate. She received her undergraduate degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Lafayette College in 2008, where she was an active member of the Engineers Without Borders chapter on campus. Upon graduation, Debra began her PhD in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University; during her tenure, she was awarded fellowships from the Environmental Protection Agency (Science to Achieve Results), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Young Summer Scientist Program), and National Science Foundation (East Asia Pacific Summer Institute). Debra graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 and was awarded first honors as the Graduate School’s Founder’s Medalist. From 2014-2017 Debra was a postdoctoral research scholar at Stanford University with a duel appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Woods Institute for the Environment.


Debra’s research is motivated by the water-scarcity challenges and tradeoffs that face our society.



Food, energy, and water are interconnected resources, influenced by natural, social, and human-built systems. Quantifying the trade-offs between food production and energy production as a function of water availability illuminates the technical efficiencies and social preferences surrounding water allocation.

Western USA Groundwater

One of the biggest opportunities for more effective water resource management is through the exploration of water governance across space and time. Extracting the spatio-temporal elements of effective groundwater regulation promotes the understanding of successful water management practices. 

Environmental Decision Making

Quantifying stakeholder preferences promotes a consistent decision-making process and pushes stakeholders to confront and explicitly acknowledge their preferences. Capturing the environmental impacts of supply chains, helps stakeholders understand social, environmental, and economic metrics.


For a full list of publications, please visit Dr. Perrone's website.