AWRA FLORIDA

2022 William V. Storch Student Award Recipients (Graduate)

19 Sep 2022 5:35 PM | Jeremy McBryan (Administrator)

Osamah Tarabih, University of South Florida. Osamah is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida (USF) where he is interested in hydrology, ecology, and the ecological responses of altered hydrology. With the objective of mitigating environmental impacts on South Florida ecosystems, Osama is conducting his doctoral research optimizing Lake Okeechobee’s outflow regimes to the St. Lucie Canal, the Caloosahatchee River and the Everglades for the benefit of societal water needs (water supply and flood control) and water quality (nutrient pollution). Osamah obtained his master’s degree from Cairo University studying the impacts of upstream dams on the Nile flows and hydropower in Egypt. Osamah is an active student member of the Florida Section of AWRA, as well as the Vice President and one of the founders of the AWRA student chapter at USF. Osamah wishes to pursue an academic career upon graduating with his Ph.D. degree in water resources engineering.

Estenia Ortiz, University of South Florida. Estenia is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida with research interests in water quality improvement, nature-based solutions, and healthy sustainable and equitable infrastructure. She obtained a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida in the spring of 2018 and a Master of Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida in the summer of 2020. Estenia is a Community Science Fellow with AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange program and is working with the lead community organization in San Ysidro, California - Casa Familiar - to design public green spaces for carbon sequestration and environmental justice. She is also a National Research Traineeship STRONG Coasts Fellow, U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Redesigning Resilient Transportation and Water Critical Infrastructures Fellow, WEF INFLOW participant and Alfred P. Sloan Scholar. Estenia has interned with the NASA DEVELOP program gaining skillsets with NASA Earth Observations for monitoring water quality along Florida’s coast. She has also interned with the Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program at the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) acquiring knowledge on local water quality improvement and habitat restoration projects. Through her dissertation work, Estenia seeks to understand the synergies and tradeoffs to the colocation of stormwater ponds and community gardens in order to promote food security, economic opportunity, and clean and resilient watersheds. Overall, Estenia wants to co-create with communities, especially those underrepresented in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and environmental decision-making, equitable and sustainable solutions to challenges at the Food Energy Water Systems nexus.

Alex Orfinger, Florida A&M University / University of Florida. Alex is a 31-year-old from Ormond Beach currently completing his Ph.D. in aquatic entomology at the University of Florida and Florida A&M University. He previously earned BS and MS degrees in biology from the University of Central Florida. His doctoral research revolves around the phylogenetic systematics of Trichoptera, or caddisflies, important water quality indicators. Alex also has broad interest and expertise in natural history, taxonomy, ecology, evolutionary biology, and invasion biology of a wide range of taxa, but especially aquatic insects and fishes. When he's not working, Alex enjoys hiking, eating new foods, and traveling with his wife Aileen, dachshund Hopper, and pit bull Blue.

Megan Kramer, University of South Florida. Megan is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. Originally from Washington State, she completed her BS in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University in 2018. Following her undergraduate studies, she served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, teaching secondary school mathematics. Her experiences abroad inspired her to pursue graduate studies in international development and coastal sustainability. As a current NSF-NRT STRONG Coasts Fellow and member of the Watershed Sustainability Lab at USF, she is currently investigating interdisciplinary approaches to improving coastal resilience by harnessing the ecosystem services of mangroves and coral reefs.


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