Wayne State University postdoctoral scholar wins prestigious communications award from the American Water Resources Association

Marie GarciaMarie Garcia, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the civil and environmental engineering department at Wayne State University, recently won the prestigious 2024 Icko Iben Multidisciplinary Communications Award from the American Water Resources Association. 

The award recognizes persons who have made outstanding contributions in promoting communications concerned with water resources issues. 

“It was an honor to even be nominated for such an award but to actually be selected still feels surreal,” Garcia said. “It also feels very validating, not only for the work I'm doing here but also for the career path that I've chosen and the decision I made to move across the country when I took this job.”

Under the guidance of faculty mentor William Shuster, Ph.D., Garcia is coordinating the effort to create a watershed management plan for the Detroit River, one of the few surface waters in Michigan that lacks an EPA-approved plan. 

Garcia presides over the steering committee as well as a technical team that facilitates productive conversations about components of the watershed management plan. 

“The water system is a complex beast, but by limiting the use of technical jargon, the residents are able to understand how everything works and where they can do their part,” she said.  

Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, Garcia obtained a Bachelors of Science in marine biology and a Master of Marine Resources Management from Texas A&M University. She earned her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in water management and hydrological science, focusing her research on multidisciplinary water issues.

Her passion for water stems from her coastal upbringing and love for marine animals. In her career, she strives to help residents connect the dots between water use, politics, finances and climate change, because “if people don’t understand what it is we’re asking them to do or why, then they’re not going to do it.”

Garcia will receive the Icko Iben Multidisciplinary Communications Award and be honored at the 2024 Annual Water Resources Conference Awards Luncheon in October.

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