At the end of June 2021, Kerry Schwartz, Associate Specialist and Director of Arizona Project WET will retire from the University of Arizona. Kerry started her position at the Water Resources Research Center nearly 22 years ago, after stating in the interview that this was her dream job. Since that time, she has worked tirelessly to create the impressively innovative, community-driven UArizona Extension water education program, Arizona Project WET (APW).
Over the years, APW has grown from having few financial resources and running a single Arizona Water Festival at Civano in 2000 to now having 35 different sponsors and delivering 26 water festival programs, complete with teacher professional development opportunities, across Arizona! Eight different APW programs now deliver water education, with employees housed throughout the state and countless UArizona students learning to teach and communicate about water as APW Water Educators. Throughout Kerry’s tenure, her team has delivered professional development to 12,500 Arizona teachers, who report teaching approximately 350,000 students per year. In addition, APW has facilitated learning directly with hundreds of thousands of students.
Kerry’s experience as a geohydrologist kept APW content relevant and meaningful. APW learners grapple with the intricacies of interconnected surface water, groundwater, the hydrologic cycle, as well as climate change, water management, conservation, policy, and more. Kerry takes pride in developing effective ways to teach about the groundwater system; first, dispelling misconceptions and then, building a strong foundation for understanding this unseen, yet all-important, part of the water cycle. Kerry’s brand of education activates people’s curiosity and she enjoys watching as internal light bulbs go on, indicating that learners are building understanding by exploring their own questions.
Moving forward, Kerry hopes to bring her passion to new endeavors that connect people to one another and the world beyond their doorstep. All of us at the Water Resources Research Center are so grateful for Kerry's many contributions. We would like to extend our congratulations on a job well done and wish her the very best and brightest in her future endeavors!