WaterNow Alliance is pleased to welcome three dynamic summer associates: Alan Sanders, Ava Mohsenin & Wright Hudson. While they've got a lot of work ahead of them over the next couple months, we took a little time out of our day to interview these newest additions to our team and introduce them to the WaterNow Alliance community.
What school do you attend, and what classes or fields of study have fostered your interest in sustainable water management and policies?
Ava: I currently attend McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. As an Economics Major, and Environmental Studies and International Development Minor, I’ve been delving into the space where our economy and the climate crisis intersect and what the implications are going forward, especially how natural resources are priced and compartmentalized in our society and culture. Last semester I took a fascinating class called Ecological Economics which, along with my involvement in the Divest McGill campaign, have sparked my interest in sustainable and responsible management of resources, so I’m thrilled to dive in with WaterNow and focus more specifically on water policies.
Wright: I’m currently a rising junior at Santa Clara University where I have declared a double major in Environmental Science (concentration of Water, Energy & Technology) and Economics. Ever since my junior year in high school where I registered for the class AP Environmental Science, I have been hooked on the industry. Unfortunately, my natural habitats always seemed to divert my focus towards business application and implementation so I found a simple fix and combined the studies.
Alan: I am entering into my senior year at UC Berkeley where I major in integrative biology, which is essentially the combined study of ecology, physiology, and genetics. Learning about the complex ecological interactions that take place on a global scale made me appreciate how even small changes in the environment can have large, often unforeseen, consequences. Working with sustainable water management and policy is of interest to me as a way to promote environmental sustainability, as well as protect the access to clean, sustainable water that people rely on.
What are some of the projects you’re working on here at WaterNow Alliance?
Ava: As the Social Media Engagement and Communications Associate. I’m working closely with the Outreach and Communications Director, Tia, to grow our online audience through our social media platforms and blog, generate and build brand awareness, build thought leadership, and cultivate and support partners. One of the most exciting tasks has been reaching out to different NGOs, companies, organizations, and groups and following/sharing what they’ve been up online, which helps shape our supportive narrative of water leaders! If you haven't already, you should definitely like our facebook page & follow us on twitter!
Wright: The projects that I'm spearheading this summer will be focused around researching water profiles of California cities and aiding districts in assessing leak detection. In the present, I am directing my time on a community in Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto, called Purissima Hills, where I will be assisting the staff in conducting efficient water audits and brainstorming future techniques to minimize the percentage of unaccounted-for-water.
Alan: As a research associate, I’ve spent the majority of my time researching the role of water transfers in helping urban communities to become more resilient. Water transfers most commonly occur as transfers from agricultural use to municipal or industrial use, and as such they can be used to close municipal and industrial supply gaps, where a municipality has more demand than its water supply can serve. Transfers like these can be a sustainable way to close supply gaps if implemented thoughtfully, since water can be utilized by the users who need it most without having to physically expand the water supply.
What are your favorite activities or ways to have fun outside of the office?
Ava: Outside of our lovely Presidio abode, I’ve been trying to take advantage of my California summer (away from the snowy, miserable winters of Montreal - I attend McGill University) by surfing down at Pacifica, or rock climbing and bouldering indoors and near Indian Rock in Berkeley! Since I grew up here in the Bay Area, it’s been relaxing to spend time with my family and friends over not-so-relaxing, nerve-racking Warriors games.
Wright: In my free time I am the Director of Risk & Safety at Santa Clara University’s outdoor club, Into the Wild. The trips that I lead generally embark into the mountains of Yosemite or diving the depths of the ocean blue in Monterey. Being raised in Vermont I do have an affinity for the outdoors but it was not until my time in high school in Boston where I was introduced to the sport of scuba diving. Being near the ocean was a key factor in driving my decision to come to Santa Clara, and the bay area, compared to school inland.
Alan: My favorite hobby is playing the piano and the guitar, and I play anything from classical piano to indie rock on the guitar. Outside of that, I also enjoy spending time outside on hikes or playing pickup basketball at the student gym.