Kristen Downs is a Policy Associate for the Internet of Water, where she is excited to wear many hats in service of making water data more discoverable, accessible, and interoperable. Kristen can be found behind the scenes contributing to the development of IoW’s tools and resources or grant writing and reporting, as well as out front engaging with our partners and stakeholders in the water sector.
Before settling in North Carolina in 2010, Kristen spent much of her life nomadically traversing the globe, including time in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer. Living in an area where reliable access to safe water and sanitation are not a given reaffirmed Kristen’s passion for using science in service of society. Inspired by her experience, Kristen pursued an MS in Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and worked alongside students, faculty, and professionals in Baltimore and South Africa as the graduate advisor of Engineers Without Borders. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Environmental Sciences & Engineering at the University of North Carolina.
Kristen’s interests include understanding how planning, policies, and technology development for water and sanitation infrastructure and information can be used to provide sustainable services in the face of uncertainties such as environmental and climate change, development, and population growth. At the Internet of Water, she brings tools and knowledge from environmental engineering, chemistry, public health, and economics to bear as we build coalitions to open water data in the United States.