This year Water UCI has welcomed three graduate fellows from the departments of Sociology, Planning Policy and Design and Public Health.These fellows will conduct innovative research on various aspects of water resource management and further develop Water UCI’s educational and outreach activities.Please welcome:

Joshua Cafferty

Joshua Cafferty received his M.A. in Sociology, and his B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville. In Joshua’s previous graduate studies, under the direction of Dr. Brandon A. Jackson, he completed qualitative research on gay men in emerging adulthood and their family support. This research showed that family support for these men is not simply acceptance or rejection but is instead a complex combination of different forms of support that are affected by a multitude of social factors. He plans to pursue research that focuses on environmental sociology and qualitative comparative analysis under the advisement of Dr. Charles Ragin. His current research focuses on the causal paths leading to successful urban water conservation efforts across water districts in California. Joshua is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California – Irvine in hopes of pursuing a career in academia at a research institution.





Nataly Escobedo Garcia

Nataly Escobedo Garcia is a first year PhD student in the School of Social Ecology and holds a M.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from California State University, Los Angeles and a B.A. in Latin American and Latina/o Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz.

As an undergraduate, Nataly Escobedo Garcia wrote her senior thesis on the health effects pesticide use has had on farmworkers in the strawberry fields of Oxnard and Watsonville. Her Master’s research looked at the how issues of water for farms and communities have reshaped political alliances, agendas and organizing in the Central Valley. Continuing to focus on farmworkers and water issues, Nataly is currently working on a discourse policy analysis of AB 685, California’s legislative adoption of water as a human right. This analysis focuses on the processes through which water is established as a human right and what this process means in the context of accessing and exercising rights for farmworker communities in the Central Valley.

Nataly works under the advisement of Dr. Susan Bibler-Coutin, Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society, and Dr. David Feldman, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy.



Natasha Ajay Kaushal

On a trip to the Middle East to study the narratives behind the ongoing Israeli – Palestinian conflict, Natasha was able to see evidence of how political conflict has affected individuals and their access to health care, hygiene and sanitation. Whether it was families who stored tanks of water on their roofs and sanitized it with Chlorine, to those who purchased bottled water for daily use and consumption, there was ample evidence of the impact that water had left in this region. Even though desalination projects have been producing an excess of water in the region, restrictive policies discourage collaboration over increased water allocation for residents in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Natasha’s study will examine how the policies of conflict zones affect populations’ access to potable water for hygiene and sanitary purposes by comparing water-borne disease incidence rates between the Israeli and Palestinian populations, as well as their access to health care facilities. She aims to better understand how political decisions and negotiations have impacted population’s access to potable water by analyzing disease rates between populations. Natasha will be conducting a survey of the existing populations in Palestine and Israel via google survey and will use that information, along with aggregate data published by international sources, to supplement her incidence rate analysis. This will help explain the similarities and differences between the published data and her survey data in an effort to understand how access to water and subsequent access to medical care is impacted in a region affected by conflict.