Former Student Researchers

Texas A&M Undergraduate Students

Jaron Capps is a senior at Texas A&M University majoring in GIST and minoring in Urban & Regional Planning and Environmental Geosciences. With this, his post-academic career aspirations are to pursue these linkages to mitigate and spread awareness of society’s impact on the environment. In all, he is always educating himself on the everchanging environment and strives to understand spatial relationships between our actions and the potential unseen consequences.

Ryan Earl graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2020 as a major in Geographic Information Science and Technology with a focus on computation, design, and analysis and this is his first semester working on the project. As a student researcher Ryan has worked with the department of Sociology to study segregation patterns in historic Census data, healthcare shortage areas, and maternal mortality in Texas. Ryan also serves as a volunteer mapper for the Humanitarian Open Street Map to aid in natural disaster response internationally. He became interested in the X Grant project after entering the field of civil engineering and seeing the importance of water/wastewater master planning to continued community growth through his work on the overall water plans for Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Clayton Elbel is a sophomore agricultural economics major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and this is his first semester working on the project. Clayton is involved in student organizations such as COALS Council, Student Government Association, and is a student in the University’s Honors program. He became interested in the project due to its involvement in water policy within the San Antonio and Hill Country region.

Petra Garza graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2020 and worked on the project since Fall 2019. She is majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in Global Environment systems. She is a member of the environmental program involvement committee. She went on a mission trip to Haiti to teach the people about clean water and to bring the resources for clean water filters. Ever since that mission trip, she has been passionate about bringing people clean water.

Cierra George is an Environmental Studies major at Texas A&M University. Currently, she is involved on campus as treasurer of the Environmental Programs Involvement Committee, student council member on the TAMU Honor Council, and an officer in her Christian sorority Kappa Phi Beta. Cierra has been a member of the Texas A&M chapter of Wine to Water since her freshman year, where she embraces her passion for the global water crisis through service-based action. 

Emily Gill is an Honors student at Texas A&M University, where she majors in Geographic Information Systems and Technology with a focus track of Human Systems and Services. She has always been interested in combining science with human need and is taking several classes relevant to that field of study. Emily was an active member of a freshman leadership organization, Aggie Fish Club, and is a member of the Student Geosciences Council and Geography Society. 

Matthew Gooris is an Environmental Studies major on the pre-law track. He is a member of several organization on campus including Texas A&M Pre-Law Society, Student Geoscience Council, and is also the Vice President of Sigma Gamma Epsilon. He became interested in water management after taking courses in watershed management and hydrology.

Kalli Johnson is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, majoring in Environmental Geoscience with a GIST minor. Kalli worked remotely for the Environmental Protection Agency, where she did GIS work and mapped facilities that have undergone RCRA clean-up processes, or had controls in place to mitigate for potential hazardous risks to human health and the environment. Her interest in water began freshman year, where she took a class about the world water crisis and conducted research in Costa Rica. She was Vice President of Wine To Water, member of Women in Geosciences, and the Student Geosciences’ Council.

Kurt E. Lyell is a Texas A&M studying Civil Engineering major with a minor in Sustainable Architecture and Urban Planning. He has been interested in sustainability from an early age, for example, in high school he went and lobbied in support of Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance’s (TREIA) efforts in the 84th Texas legislative session.

Catherine Rosas is an Environmental Geoscience student at Texas A&M University, minoring in Geography and Meteorology. Her academic focus is in Human Impact, with interests in solving environmental issues at the crossroads of human systems and natural resources. She is involved in several organizations including National Geoscience Honors Society, Women in Geosciences, Energy Research Society and Latinos in Science and Engineering. Catherine is passionate about providing marginalized communities sustainable access to natural resources, particularly clean water and is excited to be involved in this project.

Brooke Salisbury graduated from Texas A&M University with a major in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography. This is her second semester on the project. In the summer of 2019, she was a Mickey Leland Environmental Intern for Oncor Electric, where she worked in waste management. She is an active member of several organizations on campus such as the Student Geosciences Council where she is the secretary and part of the Corporate Relations Committee, a member of Women in Geosciences, and the Environmental Programs Involvement Committee. She became interested in working with water and the world water crisis after going to Costa Rica for a service-learning.

Texas A&M Graduate Students

Prabodh Gedam is a second year Master of Public Service and Administration candidate (exp. 2021) at The Bush School of Government and Public Service and is interning as research assistant. As a student researcher, Prabodh is working on water security metrics and is developing a comprehensive & exhaustive framework to be utilized in long-term research and decision-making efforts. He completed Bachelor’s studies in Chemical Engineering and currently as part of Master’s studies he is pursuing quantitative and qualitative analysis methods along with latest programming tools as utility. His committed involvement of the past with civic-engagement groups and an understanding through community lenses helps him approach issues and bridge the gap between decision makers and people on receiving ends.

Victoria Harrington is a second year Masters student in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University. She graduated with B.A. degrees in Geography and Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2019, where she first gained field experience with survey- and interview-based research. Her research focuses on how water insecurity shifts from being an acute to chronic issue post-natural disaster. Specifically, she will focus on how Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath impacted the water systems of communities in the Golden Triangle – Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Orange –as well as the current status of recovery at the household level. By utilizing a political ecology framework, she will be able to draw relationships and connections on what communities are most vulnerable to water system failures in relation to their socioeconomic status.

Nichole Mehlhaff is a second year Masters student in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University working on her thesis regarding the roles of food banks in minority communities as they relate to food insecurity and food accessibility. She graduated with geoscience writing and research skills from Texas A&M in 2019 with a Bachelors in Environmental Studies. In addition to her thesis research, she serves as an assistant researcher and program coordinator for the Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security project.

Anna Van Degrift is a 3rd year Ph.D student in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University. She holds a M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University. Her Master’s research investigated the introduction of the Peruvian 2009 national Water Resources Law and the local politics of implementing river basin councils in a central highland watershed. Broadly, Anna’s interests involve a concern for systemic marginalization of people and places in relation to water governance policy; water users’ everyday strategies of access and control of water; hydro-social relations as predicated upon diverse understandings of the value of water.

Texas A&M Law Students

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is boettcher.jpg

Seth Boettcher is a second year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law.  He graduated with a B.S. degree in petroleum engineering from Texas Tech University in 2017.  In addition to researching municipal water infrastructure and freshwater alternatives in El Paso, Texas for Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Seth serves as a teaching assistant for the Academic Support program at law school.  During summer 2018, he interned with Federal Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell in the Eastern District of Texas. Seth’s career interests include energy, environmental, natural resources, and intellectual property law.  His research interests include environmental law, land use, and property rights.

Heather Dyer is a second year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law.  Prior to law school, Heather received her Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs where she concentrated in public finance and researched alternative funding models for higher education institutions.  While working on her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she worked at the Texas Capitol and assisted various legislators with policy analysis related to transportation, higher education, finance, and natural resources.  Heather currently serves as Vice-President of the Public Interest Law Fellowship and plans on pursuing a career in litigation after graduation.  Her areas of interest are tax, natural resources, and the intersection of law and policy.  

Courtney Gately is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. As a law student, Courtney was appointed to be the president of the Energy and Natural Resources Group, selected as a board member of the National Food Law Student Network, served on the board of the Agriculture Law Society, co-chaired the law school’s first Environmental Justice Conference, and was awarded the G. Rollie White Agricultural Law and Policy Scholarship. Her research as a law student focused on industrialized agriculture’s impact on water quality. She completed two legal internships with the Environmental Protection Agency (Regions 6 and 7), as well as with Resource Environmental Solutions.  

Daniel Howell is a third year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law focusing on natural resources law.  He has conducted research on international treaties and transboundary water agreements in relation to Israeli-Palestinian wastewater policy while interning with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel.  He also researched the European Union’s history, structure, and operations and how, in the future, it may take on characteristics of a federal government.  Currently, Daniel is working with Professor Nancy Welsh researching mediation observational data, and conducting a comparative study for Professor Eckstein on desalination opportunities in Israel and Texas.  Following law school, he plans to work for state government or a non-governmental agency.  

Alexandra Lizano is a third-year J.D. candidate, expected to graduate in May 2020 with concentrations in environmental and water law. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning in 2017. In addition to her research on water infrastructure in San Antonio, Texas, she serves as the Executive Editor of the Texas A&M Journal of Property Law and President of the Agriculture Law Society. Her areas of legal interest include water, endangered species, land use, and solid/hazardous waste. Previously she has worked as an intern with the US Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, a summer associate at a California law firm, a research assistant for a solo practitioner in Texas, and a research fellow for the National Agriculture Law Center.

Alexis Long is a second year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law, and serves as a teaching assistant for Academic Support; Torts; and Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis courses.  She graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in bioenvironmental sciences from Texas A&M in 2016.  Alexis’ professional interests include water, natural resources, and environmental law.  Her research interest includes domestic and international water and property rights, and she is presently comparing municipal water infrastructure in the West Bank and Puerto Rico for a class project.  She is also conducting research on municipal water infrastructure in Los Angeles, California and Sandbranch, Texas.  During summer 2018, Alexis spent two weeks in Israel studying water rights and dispute resolution among institutions and communities in Israel, as well as between Israelis and Palestinians.

Elizabeth Ramey is a third year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law where she is focusing on energy and environmental law.  Elizabeth obtained her Bachelor in Environmental Geoscience from Texas A&M where she researched the use of ocean buoyancy gliders to monitor the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, oxygen isotopes in mollusk shells to measure seasonality in Panama, and biodiversity impacts from modernization in the Peruvian Amazon.  In law school, Elizabeth has researched land titling in Ghana, water law and policy in Israel, and renewable energy incentives and barriers in the US.  She is the managing editor of Federal Taxation of Oil and Gas Transactions and is a research assistant for several professors in tax, energy, water, and intellectual property law.  She is also a citations editor on the Texas A&M Law Review.  During summer 2018, Elizabeth interned with the Department of Energy’s Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C. 

Alexis Yelvington is a third-year J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law concentrating on environmental and water law.  Alexis received her bachelor degree in political science from Texas Tech University, where she focused on international public policy.  While at A&M, Alexis participated in a field study in Israel where she researched water law and policy in the region. Through her involvement with the natural resource program, she has conducted research on legal mechanisms to mitigate flooding in Texas cities and coastal communities. In 2019, Alexis served as a summer law clerk for the Environmental Protection Division in the Office of the Texas Attorney General.