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These 4 ALRS students recently completed their comprehensive exams.

The UA Graduate College defines the doctoral comprehensive exams as:

Before admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must pass a written and an oral Doctoral Comprehensive Examination. This examination is intended to test the student's comprehensive knowledge of the major and minor subjects of study, both in breadth across the general field of study and in depth within the area of specialization. The examination, therefore, should not take place until the student has completed all, or almost all, of their coursework.

Saleh Ahmed – completed his comprehensive exams on May 8, 2017

In the summer of 2016, when Saleh, a third year PhD student in Arid Lands Resource Sciences with a minor in Global Change, spent two months in coastal Bangladesh as part of his pre-doctoral dissertation fieldwork on climate adaptation, he realized that for many local farmers access to climate information is not just an issue to the availability of information, sometimes these can be due to structural challenges, such as illiteracy, or absence of electronic media in the region. How we can improve the situation, when thousands of local farmers are at the “frontline” of global climate change? Informed climate readiness is critical to their livelihoods, economy, and bio-diversity. In tackling this complex situation, Saleh planned to use local street theatre and help to improve the local farmers knowledge and awareness, so that they are better prepared in response to any form of climate stress. He worked on this plan last few months and developed a small pilot project, what he titled “Voices from the Edge: Using Traditional Street Theatre to Promote Climate Awareness in Coastal Bangladesh.” Recently, this project has been selected as one of the nine projects that the Confluencecenter for Creative Inquiry has decided to fund as part of their Confluencecenter Graduate Fellowships for 2017-2018. For details, please see:

In addition to the Confluencecenter Graduate Fellowship, Saleh is the recent recipient of: the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research (American Philosophical Society), A. Richard Diebold, Jr. and The Salus Mundi Foundation Graduate Research Award, (Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, UA), Rafe Sagarin Travel Award (Institute of the Environment, UA), and Global Change Travel Award (Global Change Minor, UA) that will support his dissertation research project in communities of low-lying coastal Bangladesh. Saleh‘s research is also funded by the International Research and Application Project (Institute of the Environment, UA), where he is working since Spring 2015. He is now preparing for his on-site field research during the Fall, 2017.

Saleh’s earnest pursuit of grant awards was featured in the Graduate College’s Office of Fellowships & Community Engagement UA wide email blogs:  “If you get rejected, take it as an opportunity for future success.”   You can read about it here.

Ladd Keith –completed his comprehensive exams on May 10, 2017

Ladd is completing his ALRS dissertation on Assessing Long-Range Planning for Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience in the Southwest and will continue researching urban planning and climate change in his new role.

Aside from his studies, Ladd works full time at the  UA’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, where starting this Fall, he has accepted a new tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in Planning & Sustainable Built Environments and Chair of the Sustainable Built Environments Program. He is currently the college’s Director of Academic Initiatives and Student Success and Lecturer in Planning.

Research Description:

As climate change is still a relatively new consideration in planning efforts, local municipalities have responded differently in how they are preparing for mitigation and adaptation by experimentation with policy. A better understanding of how local municipalities in the Southwest are experimenting with climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, and evaluating which of these policies are successfully being implemented and which are not, is critical in reducing their contribution to global greenhouse gasses and better preparing them for climate change impacts.

Ladd’s research explores how climate change mitigation and resilience strategies are being incorporated into local municipal long range planning efforts in the Southwest by assessing current planning efforts and evaluating competing policy innovation theories and their interrelated community attribute variables. This research focuses on six comparative case study municipalities in Arizona and New Mexico, and methods include content analysis of past and current generations of city general plans as well as semi-structured interviews with a range of urban planning professionals in each municipality. Support for this research is funded by UA’s CLIMAS (Climate Assessment for the Southwest).

Rodolfo Peon -  completed his comprehensive exams on June 27, 2017

Rodolfo Peon is a Ph.D. student in the UA’s Arid Lands Resource Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program with a minor in Optical Sciences. He is currently a Research Assistant at the Steward Observatory Solar Lab and an active collaborator of the University of Arizona Desalination Group. As part of his research, Rodolfo is working on the integration of high concentration solar photovoltaics with desalination technologies. This combination promises   providing vulnerable non-serviced communities with drinking water, heat and electricity at the same time. In addition, Rodolfo is exploring environmentally friendly ways to use generated brine by desalination plants for agricultural purposes. Rodolfo’s work involves strong collaboration with Navajo Nation inhabitants, where the ultimate goal of local food security and sovereignty can be facilitated by the desalination of abundant brackish groundwater.  With more than 13 years of experience with solar energy and rural development, Rodolfo is convinced that integral approaches are key in the quest of Water, Energy and Food security solutions for present and future generations.

Elia Tapia – completed her comprehensive exams on June 13, 2017

Elia is a third year PhD student in Arid Lands Resource Sciences and she is pursuing a minor in Hydrology. She has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center since she started her doctoral studies. She has been involved in projects such as the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP) a joint effort between the U.S. and Mexico to evaluate joint aquifers and the Water Research and Planning Innovations for Dryland Systems Program (Water RAPIDS) where she helped in the development a of the “Desert Flows Assessment for Environmental Water Needs of Riparian Ecosystems in the Desert Watersheds of the U.S and Mexico” and the “Desert Flows Methodology Guidebook for Establishing Water Flows for Riparian Ecosystems in the Deserts of the U.S. and Mexico”.

Her work on the “Binational Study of the Transboundary San Pedro Aquifer” (Callegary et al., 2016) and the “Binational Study of the Transboundary San Cruz Aquifer” (currently under review), had increased her interest in climate change, stakeholder engagement and water resources management in transboundary settings, particularly in the Santa Cruz Aquifer. Both studies represent a milestone output of the TAAP and an effort between scientist of the U.S. and Mexico to contribute with scientific knowledge and shared databases for the transboundary aquifers.

Border problems such as increasing population, limited water availability, surface and groundwater contamination, decrease in groundwater levels, lack of binational water management policies and consecutive droughts can be deeply aggravated by climate changes, and this situation reflects the importance of developing binational studies to cover climate change impacts in transboundary aquifers, which is one of the main topics on Elia’s dissertation.

Elia recently attended to the XVI World Water Congress in Cancún, México, to present a poster on the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program and the Binational Study of the Transboundary San Pedro Aquifer. She received the Herbert E. Carter Travel Award to support her travel. She also participated with an oral presentation at the 2017 UCOWR/NWIR Annual Conference “Water in a Changing Environment”. She expects to complete her doctoral studies by fall 2018 and to continue doing research on the transboundary aquifers of the U.S. and Mexico.





Last updated 14 Jul 2017