CUSA welcomes one of its newest research associates, Genia Nizkorodov. Genia Nizkorodov is a PhD candidate in Social Ecology. Her current research focus is on identifying successful management structures that allow for a sustainable integration of water-energy systems. Through a series of ethnographic studies in Irvine Ranch Water District, Tennessee Water Authority, South Africa, and Qatar, she strives to identify key elements from an economic, political, social, and technical point of view that allow for concurrent management practices of both water and energy in a way that incorporates multiple stake-holders, efficiently utilizes government funds, and provides additional avenues of communication between policy-makers and scientists. Ultimately, these case sites will serve as a model for varying stages of successful integration and will yield a set of guidelines specifically designed for local bottom-up water-scarce and resource limited approaches.
Genia was born in Novosibirsk, Russia. She grew up travelling with her father’s academic career, first to Switzerland for his PhD, then Colorado for his post-doctorate, and finally, California, for his associate professor position at UCI. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2013 with a double-major in International Relations (Economics) and Environmental Science. She entered UCI’s Social Ecology General PhD program in 2014. In her spare time, she coaches water polo at University High School and competes on UCI’s club water polo team; she has been playing competitively for 12 years, and has played in college and abroad on the UK national team. She is also currently a Graduate InterConnect Peer Mentor and a research contributor for the Emerging Leaders in Science and Society Fellows Program.
Q: How did you hear about the center? What brought you in contact with CUSA?
A: When I began applying to graduate programs, I was hoping to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD that allowed me to address climate change mitigation and sustainable energy practices through not only an economic or policy lens, but also one that accounted for social justice. Richard Matthew’s work through the Center of Unconventional Security Affairs immediately caught my attention. After meeting with members of CUSA, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I began working with CUSA over the summer and entered the PhD program already making headway on a research project for the center.
Q: How do you think you (personally) and your research’s area of focus align with CUSA’s overall mission?
A: My research focus aligns with CUSA’s interests becuase it focuses on the role of technology and sustainable management practices in human well-being and security. Water availability and quality is one of the most pressing concerns of the present day, and will be one of the primary limiting factors in the economic development, energy production, and overall health of communities in developed and developing countries alike.
Q. Have you chosen a research project to pursue at CUSA? If so, can you describe it? If not, what current research topics/projects at CUSA interest you most?
A: My most notable project was working on the Continuity and Change in Global Environmental Politics: The Social Ecology of the Anthropocene, a book in a five volume set that provides innovative solutions for pressing environmental hazards (climate change, food scarcity, sea level rise) of the 21st century. Publication is forthcoming in early 2016. As a member of the editorial team, I was responsible for selecting the most up-to-date works on adaptation and mitigation strategies to anthropogenic hazards and actively communicating with the prospective authors during the review process. I also co-authored three book chapters for the volume. The next project I will be involved with will be will be an ethnographic study of the effectiveness of public-private partnerships; this research is a cross-campus collaboration with Georgetown University.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish while at CUSA?
A: While at CUSA, I hope to be involved in a variety of projects that align with my research interests. I also hope to represent the center through conferences and publications. Most importantly, I hope to use the connections established through CUSA to promote transdisciplinary collaboration on water and energy issues.