Meet Our 2017 Summer Research Fellows

July 12, 2017
2017 Summer Research Fellows, Khalil Johnson, Rebecca Ferdman, and Allyson Beach
Khalil Johnson, Rebecca Ferdman, and Allyson Beach

The Water Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural class of Summer Research Fellows. Summer Research Fellows will be supporting the Water Foundation’s work on environmental justice, the water-energy nexus, improving data to support sustainability efforts, and implementation of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Khalil Johnson is a recent graduate of Pitzer College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy with a minor in Spanish. He was drawn to the environmental movement while growing up in Philadelphia, where he did community organizing to improve local green spaces. One summer in college, Khalil returned to Philadelphia as an intern at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 3), where he worked in both the Air Protection and Water Protection Divisions. Khalil has also interned for Pacific Gas & Electric’s State Agency Relations team, honing his data analytic skills and contributing to a policy paper that analyzes CalEnviroScreen, a mapping tool that helps identify California communities that are most affected by many sources of pollution. Previously he interned in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Sustainability helping launch the city’s first real time air monitoring program. Khalil will be in our Sacramento office, working on expanding the Water Foundation’s environmental justice efforts and involvement in the West’s Water Energy nexus.

Rebecca Ferdman is a graduate student at UCLA, where she is pursuing Master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Public Health. Her research includes work on Sustainable Urban Landscape Design Alternatives and SMART Parks. After graduating college at USC, Rebecca served as a staffer for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “As a sustainability professional, I am fascinated by water issues; as a lifelong Angeleno, water is near to my heart and at the forefront of my mind,” she said. Rebecca is a consultant at Argento/Graham where she works with clients on LEED-certified and CALGreen building projects. Rebecca will be in our Los Angeles office, working on developing the Water Foundation’s work on the water-energy nexus.

Allyson Beach recently returned from India where she was a Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar. Her project, “Deconstructing Disaster: Informal Education as Grassroots Urban Resilience in Chennai, India” evaluated methods of adaptation for water-related disasters such as drought, flood, and tsunamis. She’s been steeped in water policy from an early age, “My grandfather was many things, including an immigrant with a passion for farming; we grew up in the shadow of the history of the St. Francis Dam Disaster, with a keen awareness of water scarcity and conservation in the Santa Clara Valley,” she said. While in college at UC Berkeley, Allyson led the campus “Take Back The Tap” campaign, which promoted tap water as a public good and focused on water as a human right, and interned at the Sonoma County Water Agency. Allyson will be in our Oakland office working on public data integration efforts to improve sustainable management practices.