The WaTER Center is proud to welcome Dr. Melinda Laituri to serve on the selection committee to choose the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize winner. As part of the WaTER Symposium to be held October 10, Melinda will also be part of a panel discussion on "Critical Water and Sanitation Issues in Today's World".
|Dr. Melinda Laituri|
Dr. Laituri is a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University. She holds a PhD in geography from the University of Arizona, with her other degrees in hydrology (MA, California State University, 1985) and geography (BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1979).
Melinda’s research has spanned several geographic locales, beginning with her dissertation in the American southwest and along the US-Mexico border that focused on environmental equity and groundwater resources. Since then, she has worked with indigenous peoples around the world on issues related to managing water and natural resources, using geographic information systems (GIS) while utilizing cultural and eco-physical data in her research models. A key focus involves using GIS to aid those locally affected in developing the information and strategies necessary for sustainability and self-management.
|Social and environmental justice is a key focus in much of Dr. Laituri's research.|
Other research interests have focused on the role of the Internet and geospatial technologies as they pertain to disaster management and cross-cultural environmental histories of managing river basins. “Water, ecosystems, and sustainability are inextricably linked across multiple scales. I am keenly interested in the intersections and boundaries of human activities, physical processes, and ecosystems.” All Melinda’s work relates to solving water issues, social and environmental justice, and tracking the global policy initiatives with respect to this. She enjoys teaching, considering it one of the greatest privileges and challenges of being a professor. “We are truly seeing the influence of geography in everyday life! This is an exciting place to be at this juncture in addressing and solving complex environmental issues.”
A Fulbright Scholar, a Rachel Carson Fellow, and a Jefferson Science Fellow, Melinda is the currently director of the Geospatial Centroid at CSU. A former National Science Foundation program officer in the Geography and Spatial Sciences program, she now works with the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the US Department of State on the Secondary Cities Initiative, and is affiliated with the Colorado Water Institute and the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis.