About me

Cyndi Castro

Postdoctoral Fellow | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

My research examines the role of water in coupled natural and human-influenced systems. I study the consequences of environmental and societal stressors through a mixed-methods approach, including geospatial technologies, social sciences, systems-thinking, hydrological modeling, and stakeholder-driven modeling. By approaching human-influenced watersheds as a complex system, I investigate emergent phenomena that exist at the convergence between social equity, environmental justice, climate resiliency, and natural disaster mitigation.

With a background as an urban hydrologist and civil engineer, I have experience working alongside politicians and resiliency leaders when planning regional water systems. As such, I have become convinced that our challenge is not purely qualitative nor quantitative. Rather, there exists a unique connection between human behavior and the water cycle. My research exists at this interface and extends the paradigm of socio-hydrology toward actionable decision-making by working in partnership with stakeholders.

I believe there is a unique opportunity to resolve planetary water challenges by bridging the gap between science and policy. We are living in a critical time, where climate change is no longer 'on the horizon' but rather a current threat to civilization and the environment. As such, we necessitate understanding how communities plan for water-related extremes to achieve health and justice. We must do so in partnership with decision-makers to genuinely impact governance and equitable outcomes both for our generation and those to follow.