Alumni: Sarah Opitz-Stapleton
Political Ecology of Safe Drinking Water in the United States with a Case Study Focus on Puerto Rico
After graduation: Research Scientist at Institute for Social and Environmental Transition
ENVS Graduate Program - Secondary Core prior to Fall 2012
Sarah is interested in the intersection of societal choices, water, climate change and adaptation. Her doctoral research focused on the factors contributing to lack of safe drinking water for numerous communities in the United States, with a focus on communities in Puerto Rico. She works for the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition on sustainable development and climate adaptation projects in South and Southeast Asia.
Sarah is from Colorado and grew up splitting her time between Aurora and Boulder. She received her undergraduate degree in physics from Creighton University. She completed her master's in Civil Engineering in the water resources track.
Her research focus is on very small ( >200 users) community operated water systems in Puerto Rico. There are numerous small community operated water systems throughout the island. Because the island is a territory of the United States, it must comply with the Safe Water Drinking Act. Nearly all of the small water systems are not in compliance with the act. Sarah is working with three communities to investigate, from their perspective, the barriers and challenges the communities face in bringing their systems into compliance.
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