November 12, 2017
This week, I was recognized as the recipient of the 2017 Nehru Humanitarian Award in the Memory of Prem Goel. The award is given to the graduate student judged to have the most promising research program related to South Asia. I will be accepting the award on November 17 and will be presenting my work with the Centre for Indian and South Asian Research next year.

September 19, 2017
This week I had a new manuscript, led by Dr. Amber Wutich, accepted in Water Security entitled, "Advancing methods for research on household water insecurity: Studying entitlements and capabilities, socio-cultural dynamics, and political processes, institutions and governance". Our paper proposes a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches that can be adopted across cultural, geographic, and demographic contexts to assess hard-to-measure dimensions of household water insecurity.

August 02, 2017
Water Canada, one of Canada's leading and most read water magazines, interviewed Dr. Wendy Jepson, Dr. Leila Harris, and myself on our new article (Advancing water security for human development: A relational perspective) in the first issue of the new journal, Water Security. The full press release can be found here.

May 15, 2017
As a co-founder of the Environmental Change & Transformations (ECTN), I co-hosted a workshop on Social-Ecological Transformations on May 15 at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. The workshop provided a space to meet and connect with graduate students in many different departments and faculties who engage in “transformations”-related scholarship. The overarching objective of the workshop was to explore the various conceptual, normative, methodological, and practical implications of “transformation”, through conversing around various questions such as, “Transformation of what, to what, With what implications, And for whom?” The workshop moved from critiquing the status quo to exploring questions around striking, governing, and managing transformational change. We are now finalizing a manuscript for submission.

December 13, 2016
This week, I completed and defended my "Qualifying Exams", or PhD Comprehensive Exams in the scholarly areas of "Agrarian Change", "Water Security", and "Resilience and Vulnerability". The months ahead will see a continual refinement of my PhD proposal and a hopeful advancement to candidacy thereafter. In the "Blog" section, I have listed what I hope will be some helpful tips (they were, at least for me!) for others embarking on this process!

September 30, 2016
I recently participated on behalf of the EDGES Research Collaborative in the Reimagining Household Water Security Research Workshop from September 28-30 at Texas A&M University.

The workshop focused on engaging with the concept of household water security, as well as for exploring frameworks for collecting, analyzing, and reporting household water security information. The workshop was co-hosted by Dr. Wendy Jepson, Dr. Amber Wutich, and Dr. Sera Young with the purpose of beginning to explore the question of measurement, metrics, and research approaches to “household water security”. This workshop will serve as a launching pad for future research and collaboration, including two planned journal article submissions to the new journal Water Security.

Photo: Household Water Security Workshop Poster.

Photo: Household Water Security Workshop Poster.

May 12, 2016
I was fortunate to receive some good news in the last two weeks in the form of few different awards:

  • I was the co-recipient of the the Freda Pagani Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability (RES). I would like to thank Dr. Pagani for her generosity not only to RES but for her on-going commitment to supporting and honouring the work of graduate students. My colleague and close friend, Alejandra Echeverri was the other recipient. In her Master's, she explored people’s attitudes and preferences toward species at risk in British Columbia.
  • I was fortunate to receive a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Award that will fund my research for another three years. I am so grateful and humbled to receive this and view it as a major vote of confidence in my on-going scholarship!
  • Last, I was selected for the Governor General’s Gold Medal Award as the awardee at the Master's level for UBC and with this, was fortunate to receive the Faculty of Science Graduate Prize. 

These awards came in one swooping wave and I am receive them with great humility and honour. Everyone who I have had the change to interact with and learn from have played at least a small role in my achievements. I want to especially extend my gratitude to my colleagues (also, friends!) in the EDGES Research Collaborative, especially my doctoral advisor, Leila Harris - I am grateful to all of you for your encouragement, support, guidance, and, of course, friendship.

A bright and sunny day, with Professor Harris (May 31, 2016)

A bright and sunny day, with Professor Harris (May 31, 2016)

April 30, 2016
I travelled to Annapolis, MD to the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center for a Team Leadership Meeting. At SESYNC, I am a co-Team Lead along with Udita Sanga (from Michigan State University) on a funded project Modelling adaptation and vulnerability to climate risks from the “ground-up”: A case of smallholder agriculturalists across North India. In this project, we are using statistical analyses and social modelling tools to model the emergent adaptation behaviour of 1400 North Indian farmers in response to hydro-meteorological and climatic risks based on indicators such as their risk perceptions, livelihoods, access to resources, socioeconomic status, and other social variables (religion, culture, education etc.). Using individual adaptation behaviour to derive emergent social-ecological systems change, we want to ultimately provide policymakers with information on key cross-scale dynamics to better develop specific and tailored adaptation programs that reflect the reality of household decision-making contexts and support diverse and differentiated farmer adaptation decisions. This is just the beginning of our 18-month project!

April 5, 2016
The Liu Institute for Global Issues recently approved a joint proposal for myself, and fellow IRES colleagues Lucy Rodina and Graham McDowell to create the "Environmental Change and Transformations Network" (ECTN). The principal focus of the ECTN is on the concept of transformation: the capacity to create fundamentally new social­-ecological systems when existing systems become untenable. The ECTN will host one hour roundtables once per month, beginning Fall 2016, with an estimated attendance of 10­-15 attendees per event. We hope to attract between 40-­50 members to join the network in our first year of operation. At each meeting, we envision one, two or more scholars discussing tensions or queries in applying theories and concepts now emerging in the social-­ecological systems transformations scholarship in their own research. The goal of these meetings is to create a collegial space of engagement where questions, concerns, and approaches in scholarship on transformations can be addressed. Thinking bigger, we will synthesize the main highlights from the estimated 10 discussion series over the course of the year into a single workshop aimed at sharing challenges and opportunities to better navigate graduate scholarship with use of this emerging literature. This workshop, aimed for April 2017, will provide the potential for co-­authoring journal articles on environmental change and transformation from a broad set of case studies at the intersections of equity, sustainability, and justice. We are grateful for the Liu Institute for this opportunity! 

March 30, 2016
I traveled to Montreal this week to participate in the Canadian Water Network's Leadership Meeting for Student and Young Professionals. The workshop proved to be an excellent opportunity to reconnect with older colleagues and familiar faces, as well as become acquainted with emerging water leaders all across Canada! 

March 11, 2016
As part of UBC’s Centennial celebrations, I led the planning and organization of Water Ways: Understanding the Past, Navigating the Future, a three-day conference designed to reflect on the last 100 years of successes and deficiencies, and project challenges and opportunities for the next 100 years in key water-related domains, from public policy to health, and from wastewater to climate science. The workshop brought together 25 speakers from the global academe (including here at UBC) and over 130 registered participants, from UBC staff, faculty, and students, to NGO and industry stakeholders, and individuals from remote and First Nations communities. This is a stepping stone towards something much larger: towards building a more integrative and interdisciplinary water research community at UBC. 

Top left: Professor David Schindler and I; Remainder: Sessional events

March 1, 2016
I recently completed a “Quick Study” interview, an on-going series aimed at getting to know what motivates and inspires University of British Columbia students about their learning — inside and outside the classroom. I was able to speak about to how I got to my current set of research interests, why I am working with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability, who motivates me in my research, and so on. You can read it here.

February 24, 2016
I co-hosted the Canadian Water Network‘s workshop Creating Resilient Water Systems on February 24, 2016, at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. The workshop – with presentations on decentralized water governance for enhancing community-wide ecosystem services, water metering and pricing, and engineering resilience – focused on building resilience at multiple scales of water governance, from infrastructure, to supply, to individual access. The workshop was attended by 19 people, including students and young professionals, government officials, and UBC faculty.

November 20, 2015
Last week, I was honoured to accept a position as a Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues (LIGI). The purpose of the program is to provide productive opportunities for PhD students to research and converse on global issues of sustainability, security, and social justice in interdisciplinary teams. Having access to these opportunities is crucial considering my current research is issue-driven, involving people, nature, and institutions and thus cannot be confined to single disciplinary boxes. It will then - I anticipate - benefit strongly from interdisciplinary learning and research. I also believe my current research can offer the Liu Scholars program some benefit. The problem context of my work emerges from global trends in rural water access that will affect over one billion people. Given the interaction of people, poverty, and unresponsive institutions, new knowledge and strategies are required to improve the lives and future generations of agrarian households - a key pillar and interest of the LIGI. I see this as a tremendous opportunity to be linked into like-minded scholars across the university! You can read more about the LIGI and the Scholars program here.