About Carolina's Work

Carolina is passionate about applying her training in water resource management, environmental justice and public health to community-based research, environmental policy and mission-driven social enterprises. After two decades in the NGO-academic-
government arena, Carolina is currently excited to be working at the nexus of sustainability and equity-oriented initiatives in the social enterprise sector.

She was thrilled to join the Fellows Advisory Committee and “give back” to the Switzer Foundation, as the foundation has been instrumental to supporting her graduate and post-graduate dreams of focusing on an (at-the-time) the under-studied area of water justice in California. Carolina is deeply grateful to Switzer’s approach to authentically honoring the full self (both professional and personal), and is inspired by the Foundation’s dedication to increasingly support equity and justice-initiatives, including supporting a growing cadres of fellows of color. It is a true gift for her to be part of the FAC.

Carolina completed her doctoral dissertation at the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley. Her training and primary fields of interest are in environmental health, water policy and environmental justice. She is passionate about working with local communities to address and solve drinking water quality problems using participatory research methods. Her doctoral research examined drinking water quality problems in California's Central Valley and the environmental justice implications. In particular, Carolina's research focused on burdens faced by communities of color and low income communities in accessing safe water, and how historical, regulatory and financial factors exacerbate these burdens. Following graduate school, Carolina worked Research Scientist at the Community Water Center, promoting community-based participatory research and developing community-led water justice solutions. Carolina has been a UC President's Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Davis, bridging the academic-community water justice research community.

She was also a consulting Research Scientist with California EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA). At OEHHA, she led the development of a "Human Right to Water"; tracking tool for the state of California. Carolina has worked on natural resource management, water policy and environmental justice issues in the San Francisco Bay Area and Latin America - this work has formed the foundation for her current work and future aspirations. As community outreach coordinator at the Natural Heritage Institute, she worked on environmental justice-oriented watershed management and restoration in the Bay Area. She also worked with non-profits and government officials in southern Africa on a transboundary water management project. As a Fulbright scholar in Bolivia, she used participatory research methods to assess land use sustainability in indigenous communities. Both her undergraduate and masters theses were conducted in Brazil and focused on the intersection of natural resource use and degradation, equity, and sustainability in marginalized communities. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University and both an M.S. and a PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley.