UPDATE: Garcia is now now Senior Specialist for the Environmental Defense Fund’s California Groundwater program. 

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently awarded Ana Lucia Garcia Briones (MIDP ’14) the Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship for 2014-15.

The fellowship, awarded annually to diverse candidates who are seeking professional experience in environmental advocacy, is a full-time, one-year position focused on a project that is integral to the organization’s work.

“I’ve had my eye on EDF for a long time,” Garcia said. “It’s one of the best and biggest environmental organizations, and it combines environmental economics, field practice and civil society work.”

Garcia will be working in EDF’s Ecosystems unit to help develop solutions to California’s pressing need for sustainable water sources. Until September 2015, she will be spearheading research, analysis and outreach on potential systems designed to reward conservation and efficient water management.

“I love to design management plans and incentives that will orient people’s behavior to improve the use and maintenance of resources,” Garcia said. “This fellowship will be my opportunity to witness, up-close, how water markets work.”

A native of Mexico, Garcia worked for the Dialogue on Climate Change and National Security in her home country, and co-authored a paper on the impact of climate change on social conflicts published by International Alert. She also worked at Centro de Colaboración Cívica, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting capacity building and non-violent conflict resolution.

At Duke, Garcia took several courses at the Nicholas School of the Environment, which she said enabled her to apply her public policy skills to natural resource management issues. She conducted her master’s research on financing schemes used to promote conservation and sustainable resource management in Mexico.

In addition to the MIDP, Garcia holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Universidad Iberoamericana and a specialization in Energy and Environmental Policy and Administration from FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales).

After her year with the EDF, Garcia hopes to return to Mexico to provide research-based public policy recommendations at either the Natural Protected Areas Commission or the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change.

The fellowship is named for EDF’s former regional director for California, who led efforts to address the state’s growing water supply needs and restore the San Francisco Bay Delta in 2008.

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