Dr. Wendy Jepson is a Professor of Geography at Texas A&M University where she has been on faculty since receiving her Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA in 2003. Her research addresses contemporary debates in political ecology, human-environment interactions, and environmental governance. Her previous research documented and explained the complex economic and political processes that caused agricultural expansion and land-cover change in the Brazilian Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse tropical savanna. She also conducted a study, funded by NextEra Energy, on the rise of new energy systems and local communities in West Texas. Her current long-term project examines environmental justice, water security, and water resources in low-income communities in the US and Brazil. As a Fulbright Scholar (2016-2017) and a recipient of National Science Foundation grant, Dr. Jepson will examine urban water provisioning systems and household water security in Northeast Brazil. Dr. Jepson has published 23 journal articles and book chapters, edited one book, and serves on editorial boards, including The Annals of the Association of American Geographers. She also was the 2015 recipient of the AAG Enhancing Diversity Award for her service to diversity and active engagement to achieve equality and inclusion in the discipline.
Water security — defined as affordable, adequate, and reliable water for a healthy life– anchors my research portfolio. Dr. Jepson’s empirical focus is “household water insecurity” to understand the intersection of institutions and water systems as experienced in the everyday social life of water. Dr Jepson completed an NSF-funded project (2009-2014) that examines household water security among low-income communities on the US-Mexico border (colonias). I examined the complex waterscape through a critical lens, paying particular attention to the production of environmental subjectivity through various mechanisms, whether they are legal, technical, and/or political. She remains engaged in research in the US by examining small urban water systems, governance and water security in Greater Houston. She also has an exciting new NSF-funded project (2016-2019) that builds on her previous household water security study but in a new region: urban Ceará, Brazil. The emergence of regulated and unregulated water technologies, practices, and institutions that configure coexistence begs the question of its efficacy for human development and water security.
Prospective students interested in water governance, water security, environmental justice, water-energy nexus or political ecology of water to contact me about graduate studies at Texas A&M University. For more information on my research interest and projects, please consult my papers and research projects.