ocean water

OUR MISSION

Advancing water education to understand global challenges and inspire local solutions

OUR VISION

Envisioning a world in which action-oriented education enables everyone to understand and value water, ensuring a sustainable future.

We achieve our mission by:

Hands together

Core Beliefs

Our publications, training workshops, global network and community events are grounded in the following core beliefs:

  • water connects us all
  • water is for all water users
  • water must be managed sustainably
  • water depends on personal responsibility
    and action

MEET OUR TEAM

MEET OUR BOARD

MEET OUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MEET OUR TEAM

MEET OUR TEAM

John Etgen

CEO
john.etgen [at] projectwet.org
John Etgen , CEO
john.etgen [at] projectwet.org

With more than 35 years of experience delivering conservation education, John Etgen has a passion for helping people of all ages to understand our most precious natural resource, water. Whether teaching sanitation and hygiene to schools in developing countries or educating employees of the world’s largest companies about water stewardship, John inspires people to take meaningful action to conserve and protect water.

John has been with the Project WET Foundation for 26 years. His work has spanned more than 75 countries. He holds a Master of Science degree in Science Education from Montana State University and Executive Leadership and High-Performance Leadership certificates from Cornell University. He is credentialed as a Professional Consultant by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and currently serves as the Chair of the AWS Technical Committee. A former naturalist and environmental education specialist in Glacier National Park, he was awarded the 2000 Montana Conservation Educator of the Year award.

julia photo

Julia Beck

VICE PRESIDENT OF NETWORKS
julia.beck [at] projectwet.org
Julia Beck , VICE PRESIDENT OF NETWORKS
julia.beck [at] projectwet.org

Before working at Project WET, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar where I lived in a very remote village with no access to clean water. The community I lived in was uneducated. I spent hours every day getting clean water and observed the struggles of my neighbors. I knew if they were better educated, they would have the ability to improve their lives dramatically. I believe education is the primary solution to almost every challenge. Project WET delivers quality education on our most important resource—water.

I have the honor of working with our motivated, dedicated, and passionate global network of implementing partners who use Project WET in their programs. I provide resources and networking opportunities for our partners as well as write curriculum, conduct trainings and develop online trainings and lessons.

Before taking my current position, I managed international projects for Project WET. I received a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Montana State University in Bozeman. I have worked as a wildlife biologist studying kit foxes, coyotes and wolves, taught at an outdoor science school and traveled as a student of the world, including serving in the Peace Corps.

morgan photo

Morgan Close

Vice President of Projects & Programs
morgan [at] projectwet.org
Morgan Close , Vice President of Projects & Programs
morgan [at] projectwet.org

Morgan joined Project WET in 2010 to continue the development of Project WET's international network and the support of multiple ongoing and new projects. She has been integral in the development of multiple educational resources and has facilitated training workshops across the globe from Tanzania to Taiwan.  Prior to this position she spent several years as a buyer in the outdoor retail industry, wrangled horses and children at a Montana guest ranch and taught environmental education in New England. Her experience includes research and travel throughout Eastern Africa, Europe and Asia.

Morgan received a B.A. in Psychology from Bates College with a focus on Experiential Education.

Verna Schaff

Accountant
verna.schaff [at] projectwet.org
Verna Schaff , Accountant
verna.schaff [at] projectwet.org

Verna joined the Project WET Foundation in 2005 as its accountant and assistant to the chief financial officer. In addition to payroll, Verna manages employee benefits, oversees inventory and provides accounting support to Project WET staff.

Verna earned a bachelor’s in accounting from Montana State University–Bozeman.

Beth Witte

Educational Programs Coordinator
beth.witte [at] projectwet.org
Beth Witte , Educational Programs Coordinator
beth.witte [at] projectwet.org

Prior to moving to Bozeman, I taught outdoor education at a field school on an island in Lake Erie.  We used Project WET in our curriculum, and I enjoyed bringing water education to students through hands-on activities and research projects. Many of our students lived mere blocks from the Great Lakes but had no meaningful connection or understanding of the freshwater resource in their “backyard.” Our work here at Project WET is essential to educate and inspire the next generation of water stewards.

As Organizational Assistant I support Project WET programs and partners in their needs, assist with sales and educational material distribution, as well as other office tasks that need doing (I hear they might teach me how to drive a forklift!)

I have a degree in Secondary Education and Math from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. I taught in a traditional high school classroom before transitioning to outdoor education programs. I have a background in designing STEM programs, facilitating professional development and managing grant-funded projects.

Brooke Nichols

Outreach Manager
brooke.nichols [at] projectwet.org
Brooke Nichols , Outreach Manager
brooke.nichols [at] projectwet.org

In college, I studied environmental sciences and learned about the importance and balance of all our natural resources. Growing up in a community near the water made me realize that I, along with most others, take it for granted. I joined Project WET because I was inspired by their mission and the kind people that worked behind the scenes to make things happen. My hope is to share my passion for the environment, especially for water, with others while I continue to work for this organization. My role within Project WET is all things sales while also working on enhancing our presence on social media! 

I went to school at Washington State University and got my BS in Environmental Sciences with focuses on Biology, Geology and global leadership studies. 

MEET OUR BOARD

MEET OUR BOARD

Edna Primrose

Edna Primrose ,

I am thrilled to be a member of the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors! I have spent nearly 20 years as a champion for youth education and I have had the privilege to lead a national program in rural water and waste infrastructure. My Board membership enables me to pursue both passions. I contribute to Project WET’s mission through my public and private sector executive leadership experience, and my dedication to communities, education, economic development, and partnerships. I currently serve as the Founder and President of Differenza, a consulting firm focused on these critical areas. Prior to that, I served as Director of Policy at the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program; and Assistant Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs, and Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For over a decade, I worked in the Job Corps Program, a national residential education and training program for youth, culminating in serving as National Director. I have collaborated with national and international partners on global water and education issues, and earned a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Public Leadership Executive Certificate. I’m a proud graduate of Towson University (TU), with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Today, I give back by serving on multiple boards. I also serve on advisory boards for DigDeep Water and Hampton Road Ventures, LLC. 

Jashell Mitchell

Jashell Mitchell ,

Jashell Mitchell is a Flint, MI native and graduate of Flint Northern HS where she was part of the Back to Back Girls Basketball State Championships and their 2016 induction into the Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame.

She attended Bethune-Cookman University as she obtained her bachelor's degree in Physical Education/Recreation. She obtained her master's degree from the University of Memphis and is currently attending East TN State University for her Ed.D. in Global Sports Leadership.

She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Flint Alumnae Chapter, and the Owner of MitchMatch Ventures, LLC, a sports and recreation consulting business. She is also Executive Director of Invisible Giants Legacy & Leadership Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides City of Flint youth and adults with educational and professional development opportunities and resources.

Jashell enjoys traveling and being with family and currently serves as the Manager of Player Engagement for the National Football League. In her role, she specializes in leadership and professional development opportunities for current and former NFL players, and assists with the NFL Experienceship program for HBCU students and young professionals.

Shea Dunifon

Shea Dunifon ,

Joining the Board for the Project WET Foundation is a commitment to future generations that we can and we must become better stewards of the environment. Through education, we can make informed decisions about water, the resource that unites all living organisms on this great blue planet we call home. Project WET offers invaluable materials for teachers, informal educators and parents on all things water. When I first began teaching for a public utility in 2017, Project WET was the most comprehensive resource I found and using it in classrooms was always fun. After teaching using Project WET for a few years, I became a facilitator so I could then train other local educators to use the Project WET resources I loved so much.

I am currently a Program Manager for JEA in Jacksonville, Florida. Previously, I served as the Education Coordinator of Pinellas County Utilities’ South Cross Education program where my alias Lady Caca, began “all my stories with once upon a flush”. I hold a Masters in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences from Virginia Tech and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies from FIU (Miami, FL). I am an avid gardener and started my career post graduate studies working in botanical gardens- first Norfolk and then Naples Botanical Garden. As a native Floridian, my connection to water isn’t the beaches that make Florida famous; it’s wading shoulder high in the dark brown waters (brown from tannins, not pollution) of swamps where some of the most unique flora and fauna live relatively undisturbed from human life. That and an internship at NASA in 2007 where I got to see firsthand how water was being recycled on the international space station- the science of reusing/recycling water is amazing! Who wouldn't want to help protect such an important resource?

jane lazgin

Jane Lazgin

Jane Lazgin ,

My career has always been about giving a voice to people, product and issues.

As spokesperson and director of corporate communications for Nestle Waters North America, I communicated the contribution of water to a healthy lifestyle and the company's positions on environmental issues, such as watershed management, sustainable water use practices, and recycling and reducing plastic content. I worked for the company through 2017.

Today, I'm an adjunct professor at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut teaching international students career strategies, business and English, and I instruct classes at nonprofit organizations. When I look in the face of every student, I know education gives them a fair chance to achieve their dreams of succeeding in the US. I have met the most interesting, multicultural young people.

I live in Stamford with my partner, Richard. I graduated from the State of New York University at New Paltz and spent my junior year of college at McGill University in Montreal. I joined the Project WET Board in June 2021.

Monica Kilpatrick

Monica Kilpatrick ,

Joining the Project WET Board is an honor and I am humbled to work with those who are doing the work to support and fulfill the mission of the Foundation. Environmental education is my passion. I’ve spent over 25 years teaching students, teachers, and non-formal educators about the wonders of our natural world, with an emphasis on our water resources. As the State Coordinator for both Project WET and the River of Words programs at Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, I enjoy teaching others about the State’s water resources, the importance of water conservation, and using art and poetry to connect students to their watershed.

Prior to joining the Georgia Project WET team, I was Executive Director at a non-profit nature center and I currently serve on the Certification Advisory Board for the Advanced Training for Environmental Education in Georgia and the Advisory Council for the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia. I received a BS in Environmental Studies from Michigan State University with an emphasis in Anthropology, Sociology and Political Science. My (now) husband and I left the Midwest for an adventure in Atlanta and have since made it our home

Daniel Benitez

Daniel Benitez ,

Project WET mission is at the intersection of why I do what I do:

  • Protecting WATER, so I and future generations can keep enjoying it
  • Creating a sustainable future for all of us by enabling change today
  • Helping others achieve their personal goals
     

As good friend taught me, water sustainability is a wicked problem, it will require a lot effort and smart people to solve it. We not only have to raise awareness, but we also need to provide the knowledge and enable our society to act. I cannot think of a better path to a solution than thru education.

I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Project WET by being on its board.

At a personal level, I’m married to Ana, father to Santi and Silver (and our dog Riley). I define myself as an athlete who enjoys nature through running and water is always top of mind when I am enjoying our beautiful outdoors.

I am originally from Argentina where I graduated as Chemical Engineer and later got an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.

Over the last 20 years, I have worked in different leadership roles, always with a strong focus on people development and innovation. Today I am the General Manager for Pall Water, where our team focuses on ensuring clean water availability for communities around the world.

Fabiana Cymrot

Fabiana Cymrot ,

I was born and have lived all my life in Brazil, where 30 million people live with no or limited access to drinking water and basic sanitation, in spite of the country’s abundant natural resources. At this point in History in which people begin to realize that we may soon no longer be able to take access to water for granted, in my country it hasn’t yet become a reality for a vast part of the population. To make sure future generations can count on having their basic needs met we may work for a better balance and distribution of the resources. I do believe that each person disposes of powerful means to contribute to change this scenario. As a conscious citizen, I can do that by choosing the right people to define national policies which provide what my community needs; and as an individual, by supporting educational initiatives and transmitting core values to those around me. Graduated in Psychology, I have developed a thriving career in Human Resources. I have worked for multinational companies in various industries such as pharmaceutical, consumer business, consultancy and most recently payments. Throughout these years, I have implemented numerous projects and worked with organizational cultures, change management, recruiting, training and talent development. My work provides me with the opportunity to be in touch with different cultures and work with people around the world which resulted in a reiterated belief in the importance and power of education. I have had extensive practice in fostering it in terms of professional skills, and I am delighted to help foster environmental at Project WET. THIS is our legacy.

David Dalpos

david.dalpos [at] pwc.com
David Dalpos ,
david.dalpos [at] pwc.com

Scarcity of clean water is at a critical state globally and dramatic steps must be taken by governments, corporations, and individuals to preserve the water we have and to reverse decades of diminished water quality globally.  Living on the Gulf in Clearwater, Florida, I see firsthand the impact that climate change and water quality has had on marine life particularly on our sea turtles, manatee, and dolphins from toxic red tide algae blooms.

I've spent the last 27 years developing and implementing software solutions for the financial services sector. Most recently I have worked with large publicly held corporations to implement cloud-based solutions to measure their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water.

I am both honored and humbled to be a part of such an excellent organization like Project WET to help them with their vision to enable everyone to understand and value water and ensure a sustainable future through action-oriented education.

Shani Cooke

Shani Cooke ,

An Attorney with more than 8 years of legal experience (Associate Attorney, Law Clerk, and Legal Intern/Extern) drafting legal briefs, conducting legal research, and analyzing pleadings, I possess a unique background that includes early roles focused on international policy analysis and conflict mitigation, resulting in an ability to view challenges from multiple perspectives, align stakeholders, and negotiate positive outcomes. I earned my JD from the Duke University School of Law, and have been admitted to the State Bar of Nevada.

✧ Litigation: Gained strong knowledge of all aspects of trial practice through roles with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Office of the Attorney General, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms, and smaller boutique litigation firms. Skilled in uncovering creative approaches, prioritizing issues, anticipating objections, and making persuasive arguments.
✧ Communication: Expert communicator with a strong professional presence and ability to convey complex information. Background includes communicating with a wide range of audiences, from clients in pro bono cases to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
✧ Continuous Learning: Lifelong learner with strong academic credentials that include a JD from Duke University, two master’s degrees from the University of London, and certifications in mediation.

MEET OUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MEET OUR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Richard R. Arnold II

Richard R. Arnold II ,

Currently serving as the Director of STEM engagement at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Ricky has worked for over 30 years as a global educator and more recently as an Astronaut at NASA. He is a certified Science teacher from the State of Maryland and has taught science and mathematics from grades six to twelve in five different countries. He has experience with the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs in both Environmental Science and Biology. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Astronaut Office and has completed two missions to the International Space Station totaling over 200 days in space. As an astronaut with a background in Education, he was heavily involved in NASA’s Year of Education on Station during his most recent mission in 2018. Ricky has had the unique experience of conducting science expeditions under the sea in both a submersible and habitat, during a weeklong expedition in a large cave system in Sardinia, and on a tall ship conducting blue water oceanography in the Atlantic. Ricky has a BS from Frostburg State University, an MS in Marine and Estuarine Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, and a D.Sc. h.c. from Frostburg State University.

Will Sarni

Will Sarni ,

Will is the Founder and CEO of Water Foundry. Previously he was the founder and CEO of DOMANI, a sustainability strategy firm that was acquired by Deloitte Consulting. At Deloitte he founded the water strategy practice which provided services to U.S. and non-U.S. multinationals on quantifying and mitigating water-related risks. Following his career at Deloitte, he founded Water Foundry which continues to work with private sector clients as well as innovative water technology startups and early-stage growth companies in addressing water scarcity and quality issues.

An internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation, Will has authored numerous books and articles and presented on: the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy and the energy-water-food nexus.

He is the author of the following books: Corporate Water Strategies (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013); Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013); Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth (Dō Sustainability 2015); Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018); Creating 21st Century Abundance through Public Policy Innovation: Moving Beyond Business as Usual (Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018); and Digital Water: New Technologies for a More Resilient, Secure and Equitable Water Future (Sarni, W., Routledge 2019).

Will is a Project Board Member of 10.10.10 and ASSET and Founder and Chairman of WetDATA.org. He was a 2016 XPRIZE Bold Visioneer for the Safe Drinking Water Team and is on the: Scientific Program Committee for Stockholm World Water Week; Executive Council of NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Editorial Board of the Journal of Water Security; and a Technical Advisor for the Climate Bonds Initiative: Nature-Based Solutions for Climate and Water Resilience.

Will joined the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors in 2018.

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