Claudia Flores

Claudia Flores is a project coordinator at the Environmental Finance Center within the UNC School of Government. Her research focuses on the policies surrounding climbing drinking water rates due to aging infrastructure.

Claudia Floresphoto by Alyssa LaFaro
September 5th, 2018

When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I might regret answering this question, but I think at one point in time I wanted to be a horse. I have no idea why or how I even came up with that. I eventually came up with something more tangible — a ballerina. I’m not sure why I chose that either, considering I never took a ballet class in my life.

RESEARCH IN 5 WORDS:

“Water is a human right.”

Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

In high school, I was watching this awe-inspiring documentary about access to clean water in developing countries. I don’t think I had any idea that access to water was a problem anywhere. Then, during my undergrad years, I was lucky enough to do some international work in Uganda. I loved every moment of it. I can honestly say that it was one of the happiest times in my life. I eventually steered into the direction of U.S. water, specifically California and then states in the east. But I think I will always be passionate about international water and will work in that sector.

Flores (left) with her collegues in Uganda

Flores (right) with her colleagues in Uganda, Mukono, where she worked on a water access, sanitation, and hygiene project.

Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

Figuring out how to convey data and findings to the public is tricky. Sometimes in the STEM field, there can be a lot of confusing, scientific jargon. Every time I give a presentation on research, I ask myself, Who is the audience? Doing this at the start is not only beneficial to my audience, but gives value to my research.

What are your passions outside of science?

Yoga, running, and any activity near a beach or lake. Yoga is mentally and physically challenging, and I see it as a healthy way to compete with myself. I started running after high school  because I found it therapeutic—but, in all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I grew up in Southern California, so my family vacations always included an activity near the ocean, river, or lake.

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