Water Policy Scholars

The Water Policy Scholars program brings UWM policy researchers together with freshwater scientists to frame policy questions and adapt tools to address water resource issues. The program is intended to increase the Center for Water Policy’s capacity to develop interdisciplinary and sustainable solutions to freshwater problems.


2017 Scholars

Ryan Holifield
Associate Professor, Geography

Ryan Holifield is an associate professor in the UWM Department of Geography and Urban Studies Programs. His research focuses on issues of environmental justice and democratic participation in environmental policy and governance, especially in urban contexts. One current collaborative project investigates geographic dimensions of stakeholder participation in remedial action plans at Great Lakes Areas of Concern: toxic hotspots of contamination and environmental degradation.

The objectives of his participation in the Water Policy Scholars program are both to complete the collaborative project on participation in Great Lakes Areas of Concern and to develop new potential collaborations that could build on this research, take it into new directions, and expand its scope. He is in the process of planning a symposium at the Center focused on issues of participation and justice in Great Lakes and freshwater governance.

James Wasley
Professor, Architecture

James Wasley is a Professor in the UWM Architecture Department and is the current Director of the Institute for Ecological Design. His research focuses on designing and implementing ecological urban waterscapes.

As a Policy Scholar, Wasley facilitated a design workshop entitled Innovative Practice/Innovative Policy: Setting an Agenda for Advancing Integrative Green Infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin that drew several nationally-renowned design professionals to Milwaukee in April 2017. Wasley also used his time as a Policy Scholar to develop funding proposals for green infrastructure projects with several Freshwater Sciences collaborators.


2016 Scholars

Scott Graham
Associate Professor, English

S. Scott Graham is currently an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He researches how scientific experts and public stakeholders communicate about matters of risk and uncertainty as part of science-policy deliberation. His current projects involve investigating the influence of public advocacy groups on regulatory decision-making and analyzing the FDA’s environmental review of the most popular pharmaceuticals products.

As a Policy Scholar, Dr. Graham focused on building the Public Engagement and Science Communication (PESC) lab, which seeks to provide an interdisciplinary approach to science communication research, communications education, and stakeholder outreach, with particular attention to water science and policy.

Paul Roebber
Distinguished Professor, Mathematics

Paul Roebber is a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the UWM Mathematics Department and director of the non-profit Innovative Weather program. He is currently doing research on flash flooding, Great Lakes temperatures and water levels, and application of adaptive learning techniques to forecasting thunderstorms.

Through the Policy Scholars program, Dr. Roebber developed a statistical model that provides insight into the variability of water levels in Lakes Michigan and Superior in the coming decades. This information can help decision makers develop climate-resilient policy regarding coastal development and erosion, energy production, water treatment, and many other social and economic factors linked to fluctuating lake levels.