Research Staff

Dr. Kyungsun Lee is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with 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. Visit her Personal Website to learn more.

Dr. Lucas Seghezzo is Senior Research Scientist at the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), Professor of Environmental Sociology at the National University of Salta, Argentina, and Independent Researcher with Argentina’s National Research Council (CONICET). He is also scientific advisor of the Latin America Focal Point of the Land Matrix Initiative, an independent global monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in land issues. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and was awarded the Dow Energy Dissertation Award for best Ph.D. thesis on the sustainable use of resources and energy under the auspices of the Netherlands’ Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research focuses on sustainability assessment, social-ecological systems, political ecology, social perspectives on social-environmental issues, water and sanitation safety plans, decentralized sanitation, and environmental justice. His work has been financed, among other institutions, by the European Union, the German and French development agencies, the Swiss Network for International Studies, and others. He has experience in the public sector as the Director General of Environmental Protection of the Municipality of Salta, Argentina; and in the private sector as Senior International Consultant for the Lettinga Associates Foundation in the Netherlands, designing small- and large-scale industrial and domestic wastewater treatment plants and providing trainings on environmental technology in several countries across the world. 

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Dr. Gretchen Sneegas is a Postdoctoral Research Associate who 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. Visit her Personal Website to learn more.

Former Research Staff

Ms. Sydney Beckner was a Research Associate at the Texas Water Resources Institute (2019-2021). She is currently the Water Program Manager for the Hill Country Alliance. 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 led Q-Method studies in the Texas study sites of Corpus Christi, 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.

Dr. Amanda Fencl was a Postdoctoral Research Associate (2019-2021) leading the California and Australian case studies, and a current Visiting Research Fellow (2021-) with the project. They’re currently a AAAS Science, Technology and Policy Fellow with the Millennium Challenge Corporation. As an interdisciplinary environmental geographer, they research how environmental governance arrangements (re)produce uneven access to water resources to both build and undermine resilience to future changes. They completed their Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Davis in July 2019 through the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. Amanda’s dissertation research explored the ways in which California’s water governance system is adapting to changing environmental conditions and extreme events, like drought. Prior to UC Davis, they were a Staff Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute’s US Center and has a B.A. in International Relations and Environmental Studies from Tufts University.