Keith Schilling

State Geologist and Research Scientist

What are your responsibilities with the IGS?

I serve as state geologist and director of the Iowa Geological Survey

What are your research/project interests?

My research interests vary between projects focused on a variety of water-related issues in Iowa. This includes groundwater flow and quality, surface and groundwater interaction, nonpoint source pollution and watershed and floodplain processes.

How can your research in your areas of interest improve the quality of life in Iowa?

My research aims to increase understanding of Iowa’s water resources, stream and watershed processes, and water quality. The goal is to improve management of our water and natural resources and develop new ideas and solutions to address some of Iowa’s natural resource and water quality challenges.

What is your academic and professional background?

I have a BA from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, an MS in water resources from Iowa State University and a PhD in geology from the University of Iowa. I started my career following my MS for the Iowa DNR in their contaminated sites program. Then I became a hydrogeologist for an environmental consulting company in Des Moines, working on Superfund-type contaminated sites. I moved to Iowa City and joined the IGS in 1998.

At about what age and why did you decide to become a geologist/scientist?

I have always had an interest in geology and outdoor exploration, but it wasn’t until I took an introductory geology class my second year of college that I decided to major in geology. After graduation, I worked in Arizona for a year as a land surveyor and witnessed their water issues first hand, and then decided to major in water resources (focusing on groundwater) at Iowa State.

What field activity is your favorite?

I enjoy designing and executing site investigations, which typically involves well installations, sampling, and other fieldwork. Working outside on a nice day can hardly be considered work sometimes!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active, including biking, tennis, golf and hiking.