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Core Team

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Erik Porse, PhD
Director, Associate Cooperative
Extension Specialist

Erik Porse is an interdisciplinary scientist with experience in urban and water resources management. Erik specializes in applied research that brings together multidisciplinary teams to address water management and policy needs. In California, he has contributed to state and regional studies for safe drinking water, efficient urban water use, sustainable groundwater management, water reuse, beneficial uses of stormwater, and environmental finance.

Erik has a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering (water resources) from UC Davis and a master's degree in public policy (science and technology) from George Mason University. His professional experience includes international work and teaching in Mexico, Europe, Japan, and East Africa. He has authored over 50 reports and peer-reviewed articles. Prior to joining UC ANR, Erik was a research engineer with the Office of Water Programs at California State University, Sacramento, an assistant adjunct professor with UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and a policy analyst within Sacramento State's Environmental Finance Center.

Email: eporse (at) ucanr.edu


Sam Sandoval Solis, PhD
Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist, Lead Faculty Affiliate @ CIWR

Samuel Sandoval is a professor and extension specialist in water resources at UC Davis – UC ANR, and a collaborator with the Institute. He is a scientist interested in improving water resources management for human and environmental needs in California, considering the economic, environmental, and social justice aspects. He works with a wide range of people, from farmworkers delivering training on how to prevent contamination of water due to pesticides applications (in English and Spanish), to water resources managers and decision makers developing basic research to determine environmental flows. He is the co-host of the Water Talk Podcast with Mallika Nocco and Faith Kearns, and the founding member of the Water Management Lab.

Before joining UC Davis, he studied the water allocation between the United States and Mexico in the Rio Grande basin, he is co-leading the Permanent Forum of Binational Waters, a network of scientist interested in the shared waters between both nations. Samuel earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering, and master of science from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, and doctoral degree in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from at the University of Texas at Austin.

Email: samsandoval (at) ucdavis.edu


Rachel Shellabarger, PhD
Academic Coordinator,
Nitrogen and Irrigation Initiative
Program Manager

Rachel Shellabarger is an Academic Coordinator within the California Institute for Water Resources and coordinates CIWR's collaborative projects on nitrogen and irrigation management. Rachel also supports our National Institutes for Water Resources program that funds water research throughout California. Prior to joining CIWR, Rachel completed a PhD at UC Santa Cruz, where Rachel's research sought to better understand how California dairy producers engage with environmental initiatives.

Rachel is an environmental scientist who grew up farming, and she is drawn to interdisciplinary work that crosses traditional boundaries. She previously researched conflict among conservation and human rights groups on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as wetland mitigation efforts in Midwest agricultural landscapes. She also taught undergraduate Natural Sciences coursework for six years and worked with refugee resettlement agencies.

Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wartburg College, a masters degree in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University, and a PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Email: rmshellabarger (at) ucanr.edu


Hope Zabronsky
Academic Coordinator,
Climate Smart Agriculture
Program Manager

Hope Zabronsky is an Academic Coordinator within the California Institute for Water Resources and manages the Climate-Smart Agriculture Program. Hope coordinates activities of our team's technical assistance providers and also provides technical assistance in Sacramento and Yolo Counties.

Hope joined CIWR with experience in agriculture, sustainability, and non-profit management. Most recently, Hope worked at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in San Diego, where she directed the Center’s educational and research programs focused on sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, community-based leadership, and career-technical education. Previously, Hope managed statewide climate resilience projects at Strategic Energy Innovations, supported agricultural and climate adaptation research in Southern Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute, and studied climate smart agriculture practices in California and Malawi as part of the Research Group on Agricultural Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Davis. 

Hope earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, sustainability, and political science from the University of Vermont and master of science in international agricultural development from the University of California, Davis. 

Email: hzabronsky (at) ucanr.edu

Climate-Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance Providers