Steering Committee

Ellis A. Adams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Geosciences
Georgia State University

Dr. Ellis Adjei Adams is an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. His research lies at the intersection of human-environment interactions in cities, poor urban and peri-urban, and informal settlements of Sub-Saharan Africa. His primary research for the past few years has explored institutional, governance, and socio-political dimensions of water resources and potable water access in the Sub-Saharan African context, including the role of neoliberal, market-based privatization of urban water supply. His most recent project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant examined the impact of decentralization reforms (via community-public partnerships) on access to potable water in Malawi’s urban and peri-urban informal settlements.

Jessica Budds, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer in Geography and International Development
School of International Development
University of East Anglia

Dr. Jessica Budds’s research explores shifting water-society relations in the context of economic change in the global South. Starting with the idea that water is socially produced and constructed, she seeks to elucidate the politics embedded in patterns of water allocation and use, modes of hydraulic infrastructure, water governance frameworks, and framings of water issues, over both time and space, which shape the lives, livelihoods, landscapes and identities of marginalised social groups. Her work has focused on two key themes: the application of neoliberal principles to water policy and their outcomes (water privatisation, water markets, payments for watershed ecosystem services), and the implications of increased demand for water by industrial sectors (agriculture, mining, hydropower). With empirical research concentrated in Latin America (Chile, Peru, Brazil), Budds’s work shows how these processes of hydrosocial change serve to legitimize and sustain existing unequal power relations and forms of capital accumulation.

Stroma Cole, Ph.D.

[Dr. Stroma Cole Description]

Vanessa Empinotti, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Universidade Federal do ABC

Dr. Vanessa L. Empinotti is Assistant Professor in Rural Policy and Planning in the Spatial Planning Program at Federal University of ABC – UFABC – in Brazil. Her research employs Critical Political Ecology to analyze institutional arrangements, environmental governance, and power relations. She is interested in the studies of water security in marginalized settings; hydrosocial territories and spatial planning, and rural gentrification and the access to natural resources. Her early research focused on power relations and access to water in the context of participatory institutions in the São Francisco River Watershed in Brazil. More recently, she has investigated drought and its influence over water governance in megacities, the dynamics of water governance in agricultural frontier regions, transparency in water resources management, and water insecurity in São Paulo’s inner city in Brazil. She is currently driving two new projects: (1) the dynamics of rural gentrification in the Brazilian countryside and (2) water insecurity, alternative solutions, and vulnerability in the context of São Paulo macrometropole.

Leila M Harris, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Website and Project Website

Dr. Harris’s research examines social, cultural and political-economic and equity dimensions of environmental and resource issues. Much of her work has focused on key themes of water politics and governance, political ecology and environmental justice, critical development studies, and intersectional and feminist approaches to nature-society studies. Early research focused on multi-scalar and political ecological analysis of Turkey’s large scale transformation of the upper Tigris-Euphrates basin and the politics of conservation mapping. More recent projects focus on water security and governance, environmental citizenship, the politics associated with the human right to water, urban water resilience, indigenous water governance, and transforming water governance for equity and sustainability (with projects in Canada, Turkey, Ghana and South Africa). A new collaborative project will focus on non-material dimensions of household water insecurity (HWI), with particular interest visual methods and the relationship between HWI and broader socio-political considerations, including community engagement.

Michelle Kooy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Politics of Urban Water
IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education

Dr. Michelle Kooy is an Associate Professor of the Politics of Urban Water at IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education. Her research is concerned with how inequalities in access to water and exposure to water related risks in and across urban spaces are mediated through water infrastructure. Theorizing the politics of water infrastructure from the global south she decenters the role of centralized networks in her analysis, focusing instead on the ways in which urban water systems are connected through a range of practices and technologies, and how these simultaneously social, technical, and ecological connections shape the uneven distribution of water and related risks within urban spaces and across rural/urban boundaries.

Katie Meehan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Human Geography
King’s College London
Website and Project Website

A human geographer and water policy specialist by training, Dr. Katie Meehan is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at King’s College London. Her expertise includes urban political ecology, infrastructural geography, water and wastewater governance, social justice and inequality, and the politics of environmental knowledge, especially at the science-policy interface. Early research focused on informal water use and state power in Mexican cities; her current project explores the racialized nature of water infrastructure provision in the Americas, including the impacts of household water insecurity on human health and well-being. A two-time Fulbright scholar and former Peace Corps Volunteer, Dr. Meehan has worked in water research and development projects in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and the U.S. Southwest.

Thanti Octavia, Ph.D.

[Dr. Thanti Octavia Description]

Raul Pacheco-Vega, Ph.D.

[Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega Description]

Amber Pearson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography
Michigan State University

I am a health geographer with a focus on social justice and understanding the unexpected tenacity, adaptability and resilience of the underprivileged, while paying careful attention to the structural and social factors that led to disadvantage in the first place. My water research is at the intersection of spatial and social dimensions of health with a focus on water security. My overall research goal is to understand the interactions between human-induced ecological change, political and social dimensions of water security, and strategies to improve health and wellbeing.

Greg Pierce, Ph.D.

[Dr. Greg Pierce Description]

Asher Rosinger, Ph.D.

[Dr. Asher Rosinger Description]

Roseanne Schuster, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University

Dr. Roseanne Schuster is a global nutrition and public health professional dedicated to increasing the impact of research and programming through innovative, cost-effective, and culturally responsive monitoring, evaluation, and learning. She has a decade of experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs seeking to improve health and environmental and social wellbeing. Schuster engages community-based, participatory, and implementation science approaches in interventions and evaluations to ensure programs are ultimately responsive to target populations and adaptive to the complex systems in which they operate.

Alexandra Brewis Slade, Ph.D.
President’s Professor
Founding Director, Center for Global Health
Co-Director, Mayo Clinic-ASU Obesity Solutions
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University

Trained as an anthropologist, Dr. Alexandra Brewis (Slade)’s scholarship is currently focused on how health-related stigma shapes human biology, health, and suffering. She has a long career of leading community-based field research at multiple sites across the globe, addressing the biocultural dimensions of complex health issues (including ADHD, infertility, family planning, depression, and nutrition). She is also concerned with how best to translate social science research for public good, by addressing such challenges as water insecurity, improving development project design and monitoring, and properly tailored anti-obesity efforts. At ASU, Brewis Slade teaches global health and anthropology and co-directs the Global Impact Collaboratory. She is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow and president of the Human Biology Association.

Farhana Sultana, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Geography and Research Director (Environment), Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC)
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Syracuse University

Water is the ‘lens’ through which I understand the complexities socio-ecological transformations and realities of the world and to explore and explain complex and multi-scalar processes. My research interests are informed by multi-scalar analyses of processes of development and globalization that come to impact poverty, well-being, and socio-ecological change. Thus, my research sits at the confluence of a range of theoretical and epistemological framings, with the goal to inform and encourage social justice across a range of scales. I have had long-standing research interests in gender, water, and development issues in the global South, and ways by which development and privatization of water resources affect different groups of people intersectionally across sites and scales, and what this means to broader issues of development, democracy, citizenship and social justice.

Cassandra Workman, Ph.D.
Workman Consulting
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Social science research in United States and sub‐Saharan Africa, with expertise in mixed-method qualitative and quantitative research design, implementation and analysis. Topical specializations include international development, gender and development, global and environmental health including syndemic theory, water insecurity, food security, and infectious disease.

Sera Young, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Northwestern University

Dr. Sera Young is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University. The focus of Dr. Young’s work is on the reduction of maternal and child undernutrition in the first 1000 days, especially in low-resource settings. Methodologically, she draws on her training in medical anthropology (MA, University of Amsterdam), international nutrition (PhD, Cornell) and HIV (Fellowship, University of California San Francisco) to take a biocultural approach to understanding how mothers in low-resource settings cope to preserve their health and that of their families.