Press Releases

Dr. Katya Wowk joins The Water Institute as Senior Social Scientist

Oct 12, 2023

BATON ROUGE, La. (Oct. 12, 2023) – Furthering The Water Institute’s mission of helping communities in finding realistic and common ground to become more resilient in the face of a changing environment, The Water Institute welcomes Katya Wowk, Ph.D., as Senior Social Scientist.

An expert in using inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to strengthen community resilience to disasters and environmental change, Wowk focuses both on local resilience helping communities determine their specialized paths forward as well as larger policy reform.

“Working with communities to determine what resilience means to them and what actions or tools will help them protect what they value based on actions the community supports is extremely rewarding,” Wowk said. “Resilience is so much more than making areas flood proof. Real resilience has to consider the community as a whole including social, infrastructure, economic, environmental, and policy needs.”

Wowk previously served as Chair for Community Resilience at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI), Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC), where she led a diverse team focused on co-producing the science needed to understand and advance resilience at the local level. She also cofounded the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Resilience Partnership, a formal association between TAMUCC and the Coastal Bend Council of Governments focused on building local capacity to mitigate disaster risk.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Katya for years in various roles and her dedication to finding real paths forward for communities is inspiring,” said Alyssa Dausman, senior vice president and chief scientist at The Water Institute. “Katya’s expertise and leadership will further strengthen our work with communities who are facing challenges of a changing environment.”

Wowk was Director of the Texas OneGulf RESTORE Center of Excellence, where she and the team advanced co-produced science with five Texas state agencies. Prior to her positions with HRI, Wowk served as Senior Social Scientist to the Chief Economist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Senior Policy Official to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management, and Program Coordination Officer to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (NOAA Administrator).

Katya holds a Ph.D. in International Coastal and Ocean Policy from the University of Delaware and an M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.