Karletta Chief is of the Navajo people, and is a hydrologist who at a young age decided to pursue environmental engineering. After attending Stanford University for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering, Chief later returned to school. She obtained a doctorate from the University of Arizona in hydrology and water resources. She now works at the University of Arizona in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science as an Assistant Professor and Assistant Specialist. Chief’s work focuses on watershed hydrology, unsaturated flow in arid environments, and the effects of both natural and human changes on soil hydrology. She also continues to work with the Navajo Nation, and examines how climate change poses risks for indigenous people. Chief’s work includes bringing science to Native American communities by assessing information needs, using her hydrology expertise to share knowledge, and developing applied science projects in a culturally sensitive way. Throughout her career, she has won the Stanford University Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award, the 2015 Native American 40 under 40 Award, and the 2016 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Professional of the Year Award.
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