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Department: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Okorie Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Janelle Wright Okorie ’00

Vice President, San Antonio Water System

An interdisciplinary approach

I entered Princeton University intent on finding a course of study that would allow me to cultivate my fascination with infrastructure and big cities. Having grown up in a small city in Delaware, I craved an opportunity to learn more about infrastructure development and the political forces that have shaped major cities throughout the United States. Since my attraction to cities required me to be knowledgeable about a diverse mix of issues—from economics to civil engineering and environmental policy—I was immediately attracted to the Woodrow Wilson School and the opportunities it offers to craft an interdisciplinary course of study.

Putting my talents to work

The Woodrow Wilson School’s focus on preparing students to engage in real-world policy development gave me a solid foundation for working in the water industry, where I support efforts to develop a high-quality, diversified water supply for a city with a population of more than 1.2 million people. I currently lead the planning and development arm of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). In this capacity, I oversee the areas of water conservation, water quality, and water supply project development. On a daily basis, I’m responsible for the development of complex treatment and water supply projects that aim to augment our resource inventory with a mix of brackish groundwater and surface water supplies, among other resources.

Given the importance of a sufficient water supply for local economic development, I work closely with the SAWS

external affairs team and interact with public officials on a daily basis. My goal is to provide them with information that supports their efforts to make decisions about the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable options for developing new water supplies.

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