Isha Ray, Professor

Closed (1) Investigating the impact of household water treatment on drinking water quality in rural China

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

DESCRIPTION: Students will sign up for two units of credit. We will meet once a week (either with senior PhD student Alasdair Cohen, or with both Ray & Cohen), for one hour; then students will be expected to work the rest of the hours on their own, with communication by email and phone as needed. We will begin with a thorough introduction to the research project. This is crucial so students understand their role in the larger research project, and so they know what to look for in the articles they read and other analyses they may conduct.

The primary work involved will be the review of Chinese-language literature related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions in China today and the preparation of summaries/synthesis of this literature. This will take two parts, the primary part will be the reading of contemporary Chinese-language journal articles and reports, with the goal of arriving at a synthesis of the current state of knowledge/literature in China. In addition, a more challenging endeavor (part two) will be the attempt to trace the historical and cultural roots of the widespread preference for hot/boiled water in rural China. We will get to this second part, time permitting.

Both of these efforts will build off the work Cohen has already begun and initially Cohen will provide the students with reading materials. It is then expected that, as the students begin to explore the literature, they will be able to work with Cohen to identify other relevant publications that can be reviewed. To this end, Cohen will put students in touch with China CDC counterparts in Beijing so students can ask for and receive literature they may not be able to access otherwise. Cohen & Ray will also provide students a rubric/table for summarizing information from the various readings.

Should the URAP students have an interest and some background in statistics, we may explain some of the general types of analysis used in the research and allow them to potentially replicate some of the simple models or contribute in other ways to the analysis. This is optional; we seek students who can read Chinese-language publications fluently and are interested in preparing analyses based on the drinking water literature. Statistical aptitude is a secondary attribute.

The students will meet with project advisors weekly. Students will carryout independent research -- almost exclusively in Chinese-language publications -- but will also work collaboratively across disciplines.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Alasdair Cohen

Qualifications: Essential: Fluency in reading and synthesizing Chinese-language articles / data on household water Essential: Clear English language writing skills so the literature can be summarized and patterns explained Nice but not needed: Interest in statistical analysis

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs

Closed (2) Feasibility of waste to charcoal analysis

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

Research is being done in conjunction with a sanitation company in Kenya that provides sanitation services to peri-urban communities. New methods of solar treatment of human feces and conversion to residential solid burning fuel are being tested. More research is needed to establish the theoretical feasibility of this method as an economically viable method for waste reuse.

Research is being done in conjunction with a sanitation company in Kenya that provides sanitation services to peri-urban communities. New methods of solar treatment of human feces and conversion to residential solid burning fuel are being tested. More research is needed to establish the theoretical feasibility of this method as an economically viable method for waste reuse.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Woods

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: Sanivation.com

Closed (3) Heat Transfer modeling of solar treatment of human feces

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

Research is being done in conjunction with a sanitation company in Kenya that provides sanitation services to peri-urban communities. New methods of solar treatment of human feces and conversion to residential solid burning fuel are being tested. More research is needed to establish the theoretical feasibility of this method as an economically viable method for waste reuse.

The goal of this project is to create a heat transfer model for the solar inactivation of human feces. The apprentice with take lead on using heat transfer modeling software to demonstrate various methods for solar inactivation options. These models will then be used to develop new designs for fecal sluge inactivation in Kenya.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Emily Woods

Qualifications: required- experience in heat transfer modelling software. Heat transfer background.

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs

Open (4) Water Affordability in California's Human Right to Water

Open. Apprentices needed for the fall semester. Please do NOT contact faculty before September 11th (the start of the 4th week of classes)! Enter your application on the web beginning August 16th. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, August 29th at 8 AM.

Access to safe, clean, and affordable water was declared a human right in 2012 in California, and yet little research has been done to understand what access to affordable water looks like across the state. Despite being the world's 6th largest economy, California still struggles to provide safe and affordable water to people across the state. In some communities, families suffer from water contamination and water bills that exceed their ability to pay–this has devastating consequences for people's wellbeing and public health, generally.

The student will be part of a project situated at the interface of science and policy, where research conducted is directly shaped by CA state needs to fully realize the Human Right to Water. The primary work involved in this project will be conducting short semi-structured surveys with water system operators and/or employees across California by email and phone. Surveying water system operators on questions of water rates, rate structures, and water costs will contribute to an ongoing collaboration (since 2015) on water affordability with the California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment office based on Oakland (URAP research will be conducted from Berkeley, however).


Students will sign up for three units of credit. We will meet once a week (3x per month with PhD student Jessica Goddard and 2-3x per semester with Jess, Professor Isha Ray, and external collaborator Dr. Carolina Balazs), for one hour. Students will be expected to work the rest of the hours independently, with communication by email and phone as needed.

The first two weeks will be dedicated to 1) introducing the project goals, 2) training the student in relevant social science research protocols for survey methods and interviews, and 3) developing a work plan for the semester. This will allow the student to understand the importance of their role in the research process and the types of skills they will gain during the project. We feel strongly about student’s gaining a lot from this experience! The student will be provided with relevant preparatory literature (in the first two weeks), a short survey to conduct with water systems, and a detailed interview guide. In addition to such basic training, the student will work closely with the graduate student in weekly meetings to refine interview techniques and to transcribe notes from their survey interviews. Students will also be required to present their findings 2-3 times per semester as part of training in synthesizing and interpreting data.

If the URAP student has an interest and some background in data analysis, they will be invited to help the team analyze the data they collect. This is optional; primarily we seek students who are considerate communicators, fearless information-gatherers, and interested in learning about formal social science methods, California water systems, and working on one of the first human right to water affordability projects in the state.



Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jessica Goddard, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Essential: 1) Access to a phone / email and ability to be flexible with conducting interview surveys with water systems during professional business hours in CA (9A-5P, Monday-Friday); 2) Comfortable with internet research and confident on phone calls (finding contact information for water systems takes many phone calls and follow ups!); 3) Clear/fluent English language conversation and writing skills to conduct interviews in English; 4) Extremely detail oriented to record every detail of interview surveys & record all interactions methodically; 5) Professional communication etiquette for survey interactions. Preferred but not required: 1) Experience designing and delivering surveys and/or interviews; 2) Knowledge and/or work experience with water systems; drinking water; and/or water rates and water costs and/or utilitie.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/assistance/
Related website: https://www.ushrnetwork.org/sites/ushrnetwork.org/files/ihrlc_water_report_2013_final.pdf