NC State Logo Department of Soil Science. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Polizzotto Lab

Soil and Environmental Hydrogeochemistry 




Matt Polizzotto, Associate Professor
Matt is an associate professor in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University. Originally from Massachusetts, he studied music and environmental science as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, and received his PhD in soil and environmental biogeochemistry at Stanford University. Following a post-doc at Stanford, Matt sought the more variable weather and leafy nature of his native East Coast, and he subsequently worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Matt has been at N.C. State since 2010, and he studies and teaches about hydrogeochemical processes controlling contaminants in soils, sediments, and groundwater. In his free time, he enjoys being outside, playing music, and (most especially) trying to keep up with his two energetic and very silly daughters.

Office: 3234 Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-2040

Matthew Jones, Research Technician
Matthew (Mac) graduated from NC State University in May of 2016 with a B.S. degree in Environmental Technology and Management.  Through his course work he received minors in Toxicology and Soil Science, during which time he conducted research on trace metal sorption to mycogenic manganese oxides.  The main focuses of his current work involve the fate and cycling of MSMA, a common arsenic based herbicide within sod farm systems, and arsenic retention on soils and sediments due to geologic inputs within a Cambodian hydrologic system.  In his free time he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with friends and family.

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665


Liz Gillispie, PhD Student
Liz is a second year Ph.D. student studying the geochemical controls regulating the potential of arsenic contamination to groundwater in Southern Asia. She received her B.S. degree in Environmental Geology at the University of Mary Washington and her M.S. degree in Soil Science at NC State where she studied manganese contamination in NC Piedmont well water. Liz's passion for her work branches into her extracurricular activities, where she loves mentoring young students in science, instilling enthusiasm and leadership skills in graduate students, learning soil forensics, and helping out with outreach efforts. Balance is important to her, so she also enjoys running marathons, hot yoga, group fitness classes, staying active in her faith, and spending time with family and friends.

Office: 3221A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665


Jonathan Sawyer, M.R Student
Jonathan graduated from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science. Jonathan enjoys backpacking, traveling, running, and basically anything else related to the outdoors.

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665


Jessica Cain, MS Student
Jessica graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL with a Bachelors of Science degree in Resource Economics and minors in Environmental Studies and Natural Resource and Environmental Ethics and Policy.  Her career with the U.S. Geological Survey brought her to North Carolina in July 2012.  Her MS research will be related to her work at the USGS and will involve water quality issues in North Carolina.  When she is not working, Jessica enjoys traveling, anything outdoors, new adventures, and staying healthy and active.




Maia Fitzstevens, MS Student
Maia's interest in the fields of environmental geochemistry, medical geology and exposure science began at Wellesley College. Her extended research project looked at the geochemical fingerprint and lead bioavailability of urban soils and compost in Boston, MA. Upon graduating in 2013, she interned as a researcher for a community development organization in Sri Lanka to look at the potential causes and prevention strategies for the environmentally-induced epidemic of chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu). Her work at NC State will focus on low-cost water treatment possibilities for communities affected by CKDu. Outside of research, Maia enjoys films, running, cooking, knitting and being outdoors.

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665



Rebekah Middleton, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Rebekah is a sophomore at NC State double majoring in Animal Science and Philosophy with a minor in Agriculture Business Management. She is interested in sustainable agriculture and is working towards a career in the development and education of smart management systems. She is also passionate about outreach regarding global environmental challenges and mitigation practices. Rebekah is a member of the Raleigh Civic Symphony, and in her free time she enjoys playing and listening to music, photography, reading, and petting her cat. 

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665



Sarah Dance, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Sarah is a junior in Environmental Science with a focal area in Soil Science. She is interested in soil chemistry and farm nutrient management. She is very passionate about encouraging diversity and equality in STEM fields. In her free time she enjoys crime documentaries, bike riding, and playing video games.  

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665



Markus Koeneke, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Markus is a senior in Environmental Technology and Management with minors in Environmental Toxicology and Soil Science. He is interested in water and sanitation, particularly in developing countries, and creating a sustainable planet for the future.  He enjoys learning about soils and their hydro-biogeochemical properties that can be used to mitigate environmental contaminants and would like to do research on something related to this in the future. In his free time, he enjoys disc golf, hiking, reading, listening to podcasts, and watching nature documentaries.  

Office: 3225A Williams Hall
Phone: (919) 515-1665

Former Lab Members:

Audrey Matteson, Research Specialist, 2011-2016; currently at Franklin-Christoph

Lily Schacht, REU Student, 2016; currently a BS student at Washington University in St. Louis

Iris Holzer, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2016; currently a BS student at Scripps College

Kris McSwain, PhD Student, USGS

Alyssa Burns, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2014-2016

Loïc Chevrel, REU Student, 2015; currently a MS student at University of Durham

Erika Andujar, REU Student, 2015; currently a MS student at City College of New York City

Allison Sams, Research Assistant, 2013-2015; currently a MS student at Clemson University

Rebecca Barnes, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015

Matt Church, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2013-2015

Terri Williams, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2013-2014; currently a MS student in Horticulture at NC State

Nelson Rivera, Post Doctoral Scholar, June 2014-September 2014; currently is a Post Doctoral Scholar at Duke University

DJ Mahoney, MS Student, 2012-2014; currently works at Dupont

Christine Knight, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2013-2014; currently a MS student at the University of Michigan

Adam Steurer, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2012-2013

Ethan Lineberger, MR student, 2011-2013; currently at Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm

Cory Connell, Research Assistant, 2013; currently an environmental consultant

Taylor Barto, Research Assistant, 2012-2013; currently a MS student at NC State in Bio&Ag Engineering

Fatemeh Mohammadshirazi, Research Assistant, 2012

Stephanie Haines, Research Assistant, 2011-2012; currently at BASF

Laura Moses, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2011

Lori Saal, Research Technician, 2010