Geography professor, Dr. Wendy Jepson Named Fulbright Scholar

Mar 21, 2016

Geography professor, Dr. Wendy Jepson, has recently been named a Fulbright Scholar for her work on urban water provisioning and household water security.  

The prestigious Fulbright Scholar program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the program and awards roughly 8,000 grants a year, and the Fulbright Program is present in over 155 countries around the world.

Dr. Wendy Jepson has been selected to teach in Brazil at the Universidade Federal de Ceará - Fortaleza (UFC). While there, she will conduct research on water accessibility and the infrastructure required to meet growing demand in urban and peri-urban areas. This correlates with Jepson’s most recent research which has studied household water security among low-income communities on the US-Mexico border.

Dr. Jepson is no newcomer to Brazil as she conducted research ten years ago on Brazilian agricultural development and the dynamic transformation of Central Brazil’s Cerrado, a tropical savanna ecoregion. Jepson is looking forward to returning to the country and developing the institutional collaborations between the Texas A&M University Geography Department and the faculty at Universidade Federal de Ceará - Fortaleza (UFC).

“The Fulbright program will allow me to build on these emerging connections by deepening the sustainability of our educational and research relationships,” said Jepson. “The proposed project will provide the necessary institutional and collaborative context to exchange methodologies and research approaches on water resource governance and water security with Brazilian geographers.”

Dr. Jepson will be teaching a graduate course on Environmental Justice at UFC followed by a shortened course on this topic at the Universidade Federal do Pará in Bragança. While there, she will be co-supervising graduate students at both universities on topics related to water security. These students will then partake in an exchange program in the US working with Texas A&M students and faculty in the human-environment research group.

When asked about her goals for this trip, Dr. Jepson replied with three objectives. The first, to strengthen ties with Brazilian scholars and pave the way for future collaborative research. The second, to expand her research on water security in urban and peri-urban communities. And the third, to reestablish a research portfolio in Brazil to be built on for years to come.

“Fulbright allows me to do what I love, my vocation,” said Dr. Jepson. “In the end, I am a geographer, scholar, and explorer at heart.”

By: Emily Peter '15