Welcome to our new water equity and adaptation policy expert, Edith de Guzman
Learn more about her research advancing climate resilience and access to clean water and sustainable resources
The Luskin Center for Innovation is excited to partner with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) to welcome Edith de Guzman as our new Water Equity and Adaptation Policy Cooperative Extension Specialist — the first position of its kind at UCLA!
Edith is an interdisciplinary researcher, practitioner, educator, and consultant who investigates best practices in water management, climate adaptation, heat mitigation, and urban forestry.
She approaches her research through collaborations with impacted communities and diverse experts.
Having completed her Ph.D. studies in the first graduating cohort of the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, Edith will remain at UCLA to advance climate resilience and access to clean water.
We asked Edith a few questions to get to know her better. Read on to learn more about her!
Why is environmental policy important to you?
We’re in a dire situation from an environmental equity and quality perspective — but we can do something about that. Through applied environmental research and policy efforts, we can define problems and then figure out the most expeditious and equitable solutions.
How did you first get interested in water?
The story of Los Angeles is a story of water. We wouldn’t exist here as an urban megalopolis without it. I’m interested in how we can nurture a connection to place — and to the rich cultural and environmental diversity of California — by uncovering that history and fostering a resilient and sustainable relationship to where and how we live.
What are you most looking forward to in this role?
I’m very excited to cultivate and tend to a host of collaborations with communities, nonprofits, governments, and academics at UCLA, UCANR, and beyond. I look forward to seeing these partnerships bear fruit in the form of just policies, programs, and funding streams that provide communities with healthy places to live and thrive.
What types of research do you most enjoy?
I enjoy research that brings about nontraditional collaborations, where everyone is up for the challenge and no one has a monopoly on knowledge or on how best to engage communities, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to improve conditions on the ground.
How do you approach your work?
I approach my work by asking questions, collaborating, and listening — particularly to communities that are affected by environmental racism and inequities. My research is interdisciplinary: I draw from urban planning, public health, behavioral sciences, biophysical sciences, and public policy. And I partner with others to creatively solve problems.
What drew you to UCLA and the Luskin Center for Innovation?
I’m a triple Bruin! I attended UCLA for my undergrad, masters, and doctoral studies. At this point, I’m beginning to think I’ll spend my life at UCLA! For me the Luskin Center for Innovation is exactly what an academic research center should be: It’s the gold standard. It is rooted and powered by very smart people who are deeply motivated by equity and justice.
What should people know about you?
I was born in Italy and wasn’t an English speaker until I moved to LA when I was 9 years old. My secret talent is I can chirp like a bird and I’ve been known to occasionally trick birders.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have a serious nature addiction — I love to hike and backpack in the highest mountain peaks and the driest deserts. I’m also an artist, curator, and musician.