Dr. Karletta Chief, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Soil, Water, and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, is the recipient of a $2,994,286 NSF Research Traineeship Program grant. Dr. Chief and her Co-PIs will partner with Dine’ College and Navajo Technical University to develop a STEM workforce for research in sustainable food, energy, and water systems. Trainees will participate in the design and construction of projects in dispersed water purification and greenhouse system design in underserved areas of the Navajo Nation.
This is Dr. Chief’s second large grant in just two years. In 2016 she was part of a team of researchers that received the $600,000 Challenge Grant awarded by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. The research team is investigating the effects of the Gold King Mine toxic spill in the Navajo community. The Gold King Mine spill, which occurred near Silverton, Colorado in 2015, dumped approximately 3 million gallons of acid water and heavy metals into the Animas River. The water then flowed and contaminated the San Juan River, the primary source of irrigation for Navajo Nation farmers.
Dr. Chief received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Hydrology and Water Resources, and her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Stanford University.