Post-Doctoral and Staff Researchers


Dr. Amanda Fencl is an interdisciplinary environmental geographer researching how environmental governance arrangements (re)produce uneven access to water resources and can both build and undermine resilience to future changes. She completed her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Davis in July 2019 through the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. Her dissertation research explored the ways in which California’s polycentric water governance system is adapting to changing environmental conditions and extreme events, like drought. Prior to UC Davis, she spent six years as a Staff Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute’s US Center in the water resources and climate change adaptation research groups.




Dr. Kyungun Lee’s long-standing research interest is to examine the governance of socio-technical system toward sustainability by focusing on how innovative environmental technologies are developed, diffused, and implemented in contemporary society. Her doctoral dissertation research explored how to promote and govern socio-technical systems transitions toward sustainability drawing on the experience of implementation of Eco-Industrial Parks in South Korea and Japan. In her work with the X-Grant project explores how desalination and wastewater reuse technologies deliver sustainability transition of urban water systems by using systematic review, global production network analysis, and social network analysis.




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Dr. Gretchen Sneegas critically examines food, energy, and water as key mediators of human-environment interaction. As a human geographer with interdisciplinary training, she combines critical social theory and mixed methods to examine resource governance in times of disturbance and conflict. Her research seeks to understand the deeply uneven landscapes of power which shape and constrain how people interact with diverse resources. Dr. Sneegas completed her Ph.D. in the Geography Department at the University of Georgia, where she developed ‘critical Q methodology,’ an innovative mixed methods approach combining critical discourse analysis and standard Q methodology. She has used critical Q methodology to examine environmental discourse, behavior, and knowledge as the products of diverse social and political contexts. In her work with the Pathways to Urban Sustainability X-Grant, she is coordinating multiple case studies in Texas, California, Australia, Israel, and at the global corporate sector scale. Her focus within the project uses critical Q methodology to examine diverse perspectives on desalination technologies at each of these case study sites.


Ms. Sydney Beckner is a Research Associate at the Texas Water Resources Institute. Sydney’s research interests include urban water security and environmental governance. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience and recently obtained her M.S. in Geography, both from Texas A&M University. For the X-Grant project, Sydney will conduct Q-Method studies in the two Texas study sites of San Antonio and El Paso. She has experience with the methodology and governance regimes in Texas from her Master’s work on understanding social perspectives on the controversial Vista Ridge Pipeline.