Out West student blog

Researching Food, Forest, and Farms for the Washington Water Trust

Naomi Ray's colleague Nicole Gutierrez prepared a banner for the Recycled Water Booth. Image credit: Nicole Gutierrez

Naomi Ray ‘22
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Major: Chemical Engineering
Water Innovation Intern, Washington Water Trust



My internship at The Washington Water Trust (WWT) has been a mix of smaller projects that I will focus on for 2-3 weeks at a time. My first project was dry farming outreach, and you can look at my first blog post to learn more about that. It’s exciting that the marketing materials I made were handed out to the public. Emily and Nicole, two project managers at the WWT, have been going to farmers markets near Seattle and informing people about benefits of buying dry farmed produce and recycled watered produce. 

Marketing publication created by Naomi Ray.

I’m currently working on a literature review project. The WWT is contracted with the Nooksack Indian Tribe to develop a Payment for Watershed Services (PWS) program (also referred to as payment for ecological services, or PES, in the field), aiming to increase streamflow by compensating forest managers or owners for altered practices. I’ve been reading and interviewing scientists to determine how the WWT can set up a program that incentivizes and compensates the forest owners while also increasing streamflow in the rivers. I’ve actually been in contact with some scientists at Stanford to get their advice and hear their expertise.

Another piece created by Naomi Ray.

A highlight of my internship has been the people I’ve met and connections I’ve made. I was worried that I would be spending all of my time alone, at my computer in my room, but I’m in conversation with people at the WWT every single day. The team I work on meets 3 times a week to update each other on work and talk about various things in our lives, like trips with families and sharing fun memories. I also get to meet with the entire WWT staff at our weekly staff meetings and our Watercooler Wednesdays, where we talk about anything from our favorite recipes to sports. In addition, all of the interns meet with one staff member each week to get to know their professional journey and hear their words of wisdom. The advice that I’ve gotten has helped alleviate the stress I’ve been feeling with senior year coming up and the decisions I need to make for my future. One thing that will stick with me after the summer was told to me by Raquel, the Administrative and Financial Director at the WWT. She said to never overlook opportunities, and to not stick to a rigid plan because you'll miss out on some surprisingly pivotal moments in your life.








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