Welcome Our Spring 2024 Interns & Fellows

Bayou City Waterkeeper
February 16, 2024

This spring several interns and fellows will lend important support to our law, science, design, policy, and communications work. Interns and fellows work closely with staff on issues related to water, infrastructure, and climate injustices affecting communities across greater Houston. Join us in welcoming them!

Water Policy Research Fellow

B. Nieves I. Vázquez

B. Nieves I. Vázquez joined Bayou City Waterkeeper as a Policy Research Fellow in February 2024. They were born and raised in the second-ward of Houston, Texas and the east side bayous of Channelview. Nieves is a graduate student at the University of Arizona in the M.S. Water, Society, & Policy program, focusing their studies on rural vs. urban water access and equity. She has interned with the National Park Service throughout the Intermountain Region and urban farms in Central Texas. They focused on engaging in difficult dialogues with federal land-based agencies for the inclusion of Indigenous people and under-represented groups in the outdoors and environmental field. She advocates for a shift in the narrative for land as a cultural source and not just as a natural resource.

Nieves comes from Huachichil Chichimecatl and Mexican people of the Sierra Madre Oriental, specifically the Río Ramos of the Río San Juan basin.

Legal Intern

Alex Paul

Alex is currently a 3L in his last semester of law school at Vermont Law School. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and master’s in environmental science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Throughout his studies, he has conducted research in Galveston Bay and the Bayous of Houston during his master’s degree. Alex has conducted prior environmental justice work during his time in the Environmental Advocacy Clinic and Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School. He worked specifically on bay water pollution projects affecting environmental justice communities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. During his summer clerkship, he conducted environmental justice work for Lone Star Legal Aid, working on Project 11 in Houston. He has also clerked at the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Alex hopes to continue his environmental justice work at Bayou City Waterkeeper. He is honored and excited to continue environmental and water stewardship work in his hometown of Houston.

Watershed Research Fellow

Bikram Singh

Bikram grew up in New Jersey, and he moved to Austin, Texas at the start of his teenage years. He is a senior at Rice University majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Earth Science. During his academic career, Bikram has had the opportunity to explore a variety of earth/environmental topics through conducting scientific research, including ocean science, marine renewable energy, and hydrogen energy policy. He was involved with his residential college’s eco committee for two years, working on projects to promote sustainability at the college-level. Outside of these pursuits, he is also involved in student government and helped co-found Rice’s mixed martial arts club, through which he coaches Muay Thai for Rice students. Bikram is interested in learning more about how environmental justice and water justice issues impact local communities in the city of Houston. He hopes to apply his background and skills towards watershed research, advocating for clean water, and engaging in community outreach. He is excited to work with Bayou City Waterkeeper this spring!

Water Policy Research Fellow

Lauro Martinez

Lauro was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, where he recently served as the Climate & Water Outreach Coordinator for the Rio Grande International Study Center. Through his outreach, he empowered his community to become active participants in local discourse, organizing against the destructive Texas/Mexico border wall, educating the next generation of advocates through the Laredo Climate Cohort, and advocating against extractive and harmful environmental injustices. After graduating from St. Edward’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy, Lauro worked as an Environmental Field Consultant across Central Texas for more than three years. During that time, he learned the impact of Federal, State, and local environmental regulations on protecting our environment and water systems. Lauro is excited to join the Bayou City Waterkeeper and is committed to sharing his experiences with others to help people connect to and fall in love with often-overlooked aspects of their daily lives. 

GIS Fellow

Hamza Awais

Hamza was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and moved to Houston, Texas at the start of his teenage years. He lived in the area till it was time to leave for his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where he got his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Design with a concentration in Community and Regional Planning. Through his time in Albuquerque, he gained experience in community outreach and community-led disaster preparedness while working with various organizations, such as Keep Albuquerque Beautiful to UNM4NEPAL. From the start, his passion for mapping, disaster preparedness, and environmental consciousness has geared his career path to focus on the betterment of living in a sustainable community. After returning back to the Houston area he has been a part of Northeast Action Collective to help with our area’s disaster preparedness. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, and enjoying Houston’s multifaceted experiences. Hamza hopes to utilize his skills here at Bayou City Waterkeeper as a GIS Fellow to promote clean water and environmental consciousness through the creation of maps.

Watershed Design Fellow

Skyler Smith

Skyler is a landscape designer and researcher interested in how landscape can be used as a medium to design and build capacity for the Just Transition. After graduating from Utah State University with a bachelors degree in Landscape architecture and environmental planning, they moved to Houston to work as a landscape designer for an international design and planning firm and contributed to projects of multiple scales – from streetscapes to eco-tourism centers – all with a concentration on plant material and user experience. While working, they also volunteered with Plant It Forward as a veggie educator and farm steward and served as the Hub Coordinator for Sunrise Movement Houston. Skyler recently graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Alongside their studies, Skyler has collaborated with The Houston Climate Justice Museum since its beginnings in 2021. Skyler joins BCWK with a keen interest in building community power and capacity to guide the energy transition towards just ends. They hope to use design and planning to unearth opportunities that can uplift the vital infrastructural role watersheds and wetlands play in the Houston region.