Kirena Tsosie

MS, Water Resources, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Woman smiling at the camera

2021 Graduate Student Fellow

Kirena Tsosie grew up alongside the San Juan River, mountains, and alfalfa fields in Upper Fruitland (Doo Alk'aaí), a small chapter located on the very northern corner of the Navajo Reservation 8 miles Southwest of Farmington, New Mexico. Kirena earned her BS in marine biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Upon returning to New Mexico, Kirena decided to get a Master's degree in water resources at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she resides. Her research thesis focuses on a vulnerability assessment of water resources in the Greater Chaco area, New Mexico, in which communities are disproportionately affected by air and water pollution and land degradation caused by oil and gas exploration. 

Kirena is also working with the Navajo Nation’s Water Access Coordination Group (WACG). WACG is a major undertaking to create transitional water stations in Navajo Nation to serve families who live off-grid and have significant clean water access challenges. WACG is a team of water experts, Navajo, and federal government representatives, university researchers, and other collaborators, all led by the Navajo Nation and the Indian Health Services.  UArizona water and policy experts and the Haury Program work closely with WACG on this important mission.  On the WACG team, Kirena has sought to deploy best practices to reach out to community members and inform them --  in English and Navajo -- of the location and operation of clean water access points.

Her collaboration began with Dr. Tulley-Cordova being a committee member for Kirena’s professional project and continues now with Kirena working on tribal water management while learning about water development, water policy, and water settlements.