Faculty at the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science and the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA have been awarded $1,000,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “Bringing Together Diverse Perspectives on Water.” The Centers are directed by Dr. Aradhna Tripati (Center for Diverse Leadership in Science) and Dr. Shannon Speed (American Indian Studies Center), who are co-PIs on the award along with Dr. Jessica Cattelino, who is affiliated with the latter.
The project looks at the myriad issues of water and long-term environmental change. It is innovative in fostering a convergence of students, university researchers, and community-based researchers who bring tools from diverse cultures and disciplines to study the water cycle, environmental change, and sustainability in the Southwest and Hawaii, past, present, future. The three-year project will have as a focus research on California Native waters.
The work proposed will be transformative in that it will examine and share diverse perspectives on the water cycle, including what water is and how people use, value, and steward it; how different fields and people approach questions about water in the context of environmental change; what different disciplinary and cultural perspectives bring to understanding water sustainability, histories, and governance in a region; and how these diverse perspectives on water inform the ways we think and communicate about environmental futures. Through disciplines as varied as sedimentary geology, sociocultural anthropology, atmospheric science, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, hydrology, archeology, policy, law, and education, the project will gather and disseminate water knowledge and best practices, while promoting the recruitment and retention of minority trainees and the inclusion of marginalized perspectives, with a focus on elevating Indigenous voices in STEM.