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Erik Porse, Ph.D., Director, California Institute for Water Resources

Erik Porse is an interdisciplinary scientist with experience in urban and natural resources management. Most recently, 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.

Erik's work specializes in bringing together interdisciplinary teams to investigate complex environmental management questions. 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.

He earned 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.

Email: eporse (at ) ucanr.edu

Faith Kearns, Ph.D., Academic Coordinator II, California Institute for Water Resources

Faith Kearns is a scientist and science communication specialist with the Institute. She writes about water, wildfire, climate change, and people. Her work has been published at New Republic, On Being, Bay Nature, and more. Kearns is the author of the award-winning book Getting to the Heart of Science Communication (Island Press). She hosts the Water Talk podcast with Mallika Nocco and Sam Sandoval.

Faith previously developed science communication projects at the Ecological Society of America, served as a AAAS Science and Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, managed a wildfire research and outreach center at UC Berkeley, and bridged science and policy advocacy efforts at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

She earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science, geology, and political science from Northern Arizona University and doctoral degree from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

Email: faith.kearns (at) ucop.edu
Twitter: @frkearns


Samuel Sandoval Solis, Ph.D., Water Resources Collaborator, California Institute of Water Resources

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.

Phone: 530.750.9722
Email: samsandoval (at) ucdavis.edu
Native Language: Español


Rachel Shellabarger, Ph.D., Academic Coordinator II, California Institute of Water Resources

Rachel Shellabarger has joined the California Institute for Water Resources as an Academic Coordinator II. She will be responsible for coordinating our work with the National Institutes for Water Resources, as well as our work on a new Nitrogen and Irrigation Management Program. Rachel comes to us from UC Santa Cruz, where her recent PhD 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.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wartburg College, a master’s 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 II, California Institute of Water Resources

Hope Zabronsky has joined the California Institute for Water Resources as an Academic Coordinator II with our Climate-Smart Agriculture Program. She will be responsible for coordinating the program and working with the team of technical assistance providers. 

Hope comes to us from 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, she 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. 

She 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

Institute Affiliates