Academic Programs

An important component of the MESM degree at the Bren School is theMaster’s Project. SWM Fellows work with clients to develop Master’sProject proposals that use water markets to solve water resourcesproblems. Once a proposal has been approved, SWM fellows work withteams of 4-5 MESM students for 9 months to complete the project andprovide the client with a high-quality product. Examples of SWM Fellowgroup projects are described below

Sustainable Water Markets Fellowshp Program

The SWM Program
SWM Fellows
Faculty & Staff

Marina Lindsay
Marina graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a concentration in Systems and Societies in 2016. During her undergraduate career, Marina developed a passion for water resource challenges and their various complexities. As a writer for the UCLA Undergraduate Law Journal, Marina published an article evaluating “The State of California’s Water Rights,” in which she argued for the integration of new market-based management techniques. For her senior project, Marina worked on behalf of LA Waterkeeper analyzing stormwater legislation in Los Angeles County and identifying pitfalls in existing inspection programs. After which, Marina presented her research findings directly to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Upon graduation, Marina interned at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering (UCI) on the Water Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) project, studying stormwater filtration systems in Melbourne, Australia. Her research efforts highlighted socio-economic disparities in sustainable infrastructure projects. For the past year, Marina worked as a Water Resource Technician for the City of Santa Barbara, managing the Meter Replacement Program. Marina comes to the Bren School with extensive experience in the water world supported by aspirations to pursue a career in Water Resource Management. As a Sustainable Water Markets Fellow, Marina plans to continue exploring water challenges and advocating for the human right to always access water, through market-based solutions.

Austin Melcher
Austin graduated from Michigan State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a specialization in Environmental Studies. As an undergraduate Austin studied abroad in Ireland, Australia, Peru, and Kenya where he completed multiple community engagement projects focused on water supply, appropriate technology, and social justice. Through these experiences he was inspired to pursue a career in the environmental field by witnessing the profound effect of water access issues on the livelihood of local communities and individuals in a variety of global contexts. He also applied this interest in water-related issues by working for the Institute for Water Research at Michigan State University where he analyzed the impacts of water withdrawals on freshwater ecosystems. Over the past six years Austin has consulted with both public and private organizations on numerous water projects throughout California while working as an environmental specialist with Dudek. He has provided environmental analysis and permitting expertise on recycled water projects; multiple seawater desalination plants, including the largest capacity desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere; and researched market potential for private water ventures based on water pricing factors. As a Sustainable Water Markets Fellow, Austin is focused on market-based water allocation, including the balancing of municipal water portfolios with environmental co-benefits in the context of climate change throughout the U.S. and efficiencies in the water-energy nexus for sustainable water supply globally.

Alexander Stejskal
Alexander graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. Much of his undergraduate study focused on efficient resource use and effective management strategies in the agricultural sector. During his undergraduate career, Alexander worked for the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) where he researched the effectiveness of water policy enforcement and the scaling of water markets, specifically focused on water trust activity in the Western United States. In addition to his work at WFI, he also worked as a lab technician at the USDA-NRCS Kellogg Soil Survey Lab where he measured the health and physical characteristics of soil samples from around the world. As a SWM fellow, Alexander plans to specialize in Water Resources Management and is interested in studying how water markets can use increased agricultural water efficiency to help meet the water needs of humans, as well as the environment.

Savannah Tjaden
Savannah, a first-year masters’ student, graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. As an undergraduate she was awarded the EPA Greater Research Opportunity Fellowship and spent 2 years researching how forests in the Southwestern U.S. can be best managed for downstream water supply quality. During this time, she collaborated with local, state, and federal actors to contribute to the Four Forest Restoration Initiative- a collaborative, landscape-scale initiative designed to restore forest ecosystems and create and develop sustainable forest industries. Upon graduation, Savannah accepted a Fulbright Research Award in South Africa investigating the implementation of climate change adaptation policies in water management. Here she was inspired by the enthusiasm and practicality of local agents managing change in water catchments, with special consideration for previously disadvantaged communities. Savannah comes to the Bren school with invaluable experience addressing complicated, real-world problems at the interface of policy and practice. At the Bren school, Savannah is specializing in Water Resources Management. As a SWM Fellow she is particularly interested in creating collaborative, community-based, and economically sound solutions to local water quality and quantity issues.