About Esther's Work

Esther Conrad leads the development of community-engaged learning opportunities related to environmental sustainability at Stanford University. She builds partnerships with diverse community partners in the environmental field, and collaborates with faculty and staff to design courses that enhance student learning while delivering real world impacts.

Esther has worked for over 15 years on sustainable water management and climate change adaptation in domestic and international settings. As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West Program and the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution at the Stanford Law School, Esther collaborated with local water agencies to conduct research on new governance arrangements for groundwater management in California. During her PhD studies at University of California Berkeley, she examined collective learning in the context of regional-scale collaborative governance within California’s Integrated Regional Water Management process. While at Berkeley, Esther also partnered with the California Department of Water Resources, conducting several studies on how climate change has been addressed in the state’s water planning processes. Previously, Esther worked for six years as a Senior Staff Associate at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, managing interdisciplinary projects to support the use of climate and environmental information in water management and agriculture in South and Southeast Asia. She also worked at the United Nations Development Programme, analyzing community-based projects around the world that use renewable energy to support local livelihoods. From 1997 to 2001, she advocated for the rights of asylum seekers and other immigrants detained in the United States. Esther holds a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California Berkeley, a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, a Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Sciences in Earth Systems from Stanford University.