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America N. Lutz Ley is a PhD candidate in arid lands resource sciences minoring in global change at the University of Arizona. She is a research scientist with the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. She has been a fellow of the Fulbright-García Robles program, the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT), and the Carson-Haury program at the UA Institute of the Environment.
Before joining the UA, America was a research assistant at El Colegio de Sonora, in Hermosillo, Mexico. Her work there included urban water issues, water utilities’ performance, integrated water resources management, and Mexican water and environmental policy. Her research experience also covers social organization in environmental issues (1st place- National Research Award for master thesis on environmental NGOs by the Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía 2011); water management in arid areas with special focus on the transboundary United States-Mexico region (2nd place- Water Research Award by the Central Arizona Project 2014), and socio-institutional factors affecting adaptation to climate change in river basins of the arid Americas.
Throughout her stay at the UA, America has been active in academic and professional activities leaded by the Udall Center, the Institute of the Environment, the Arizona Foundation (Arizona NOW), and other institutions. In 2015 she was part of the UA’s delegation in the Conference of the Parties (COP21- Paris, France) funded by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. Currently she is working on her dissertation research on human adaptation to global change in rural communities of the San Miguel watershed, in arid northwest Mexico. Her research’s main goal is to unravel and understand the processes, barriers, and enhancers of human adaptation to both, climatic and socio-economic changes in rural communities characterized by agrarian and non-agrarian livelihoods. With a special focus on formal and informal institutions, America is trying to connect science to policy in the seeking for more resilient social-ecological systems.