Skip to main content

2019 – Donald Fejfar: The Dual Burden of Disease in Galápagos, Ecuador: An Interdisciplinary Study of Water on Isabela

Donald Fejfar, a sophomore biostatistics major, received the 2019 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship for his project, The Dual Burden of Disease in Galápagos, Ecuador: An Interdisciplinary Study of Water on Isabela. His research aimed to gain a better understanding of water and food quality as well as accessibility and security on the island of Isabela. This project assessed water quality and accessibility through laboratory and geographic information systems analysis, surveyed diet patterns along with food and water security through food-frequency questionnaires in households and contextualized the findings through in-depth ethnographic interviews.

2018 – Catherine Alves: Survey of Fisher Livelihoods and Perceptions: A Belizean Case Study

Catherine Alves, a graduate student studying ecology, received the 2018 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship. Her project, Survey of Fisher Livelihoods and Perceptions: A Belizean Case Study, focused on bettering the lives of small-scale fishers living on the coasts of Belize. Through interviews and data collection, she evaluated the impacts that programs designed to quell over-fishing have had on fishers’ livelihoods. Her work helped to tease apart the perceived impacts on livelihood outcomes by fishers in these programs between pilot and newer sites.

2017 – Lisa Fouladbash: Groundtruthing Sahelian Greening

Lisa Fouladbash, an ecology doctoral student, received the 2017 Sherpa Fellowship for her project, Groundtruthing Sahelian Greening in Burkina Faso. Her study tested the hypothesis that farmer-led soil and water conservation strategies are contributing to regional greening in Burkina Faso. By conducting focus groups with farmers and pastoralists in areas that are greening and browning, Fouladbash tapped into local insights and collective memory about how landscapes and vegetation trends have changed throughout recent history. Her study set a new precedent for research methodology on Sahelian greening by using a mixed-methods approach that pairs groundtruths coarse-resolution remote sensing data with local scale ethnographic data.

2016 – Anna Stamatogiannakis ’17: Maputo Sanitation

Anna Stamatogiannakis ’17, an Environmental Health Sciences major, received the 2016 Sherpa Fellowship to further the work of her project, Maputo Sanitation (MapSan). MapSan characterized the routes of environmental exposure to fecal contamination (water, soil, flies, etc.) to better understand whether or not new latrines are effective in disease reduction. The team collected environmental samples from low-income households in semi-formal, densely populated urban settlements in Maputo, Mozambique. MapSan was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health for the Republic of Mozambique (MISAU), four different public universities in the U.S. and the U.K. (including UNC), and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). This project was also funded by USAID.

2015 – Andrew Koltun: To the Last Drop: Water System Quality Studies in Rural Uganda

Andrew Koltun received the 2015 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship for his work with To the Last Drop: Water System Quality Studies in Rural Uganda. In partnership with Raising the Village, Koltun will travel to four partner villages and test several springs for contaminants. The data will be used to decide how to mitigate future contamination. Andrew will work with local staff and villagers on how to continue the initiative to ensure consistently clean water.

2014 – William Gerhard ’14: Galapagos Science Center Water Survey

The inaugural Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship was presented to William Gerhard ’14, a biology major from Charlotte, for his work evaluating the effectiveness of new drinking water infrastructure systems on the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal. After spending two summers researching old and new drinking water systems, Gerhard spent six weeks performing microbial and physical analyses of the new infrastructure systems. By executing this study and providing the results to the local government, funding and resources can be more efficiently allocated to provide clean drinking water to the 7,000 residents of San Cristobal island and the tens of thousands of tourists who pass through each year. In addition, Gerhard worked with local scientists to create a lab that assessed the effectiveness of water treatment and distribution systems on the island.