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NASA's WWAO is run by a nimble group of seasoned scientists, engineers and managers. We are physically headquartered at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, but work collaboratively across the entire agency. The WWAO team has expertise in scientific R&D, launching missions and running programs at NASA and beyond, infusing and developing technology, and communicating and commercializing ideas.

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Meet Our Team

Stephanie Granger

Stephanie Granger

Program Manager

Stephanie manages WWAO’s operations and oversees its strategic direction. She has many years of experience at JPL in Earth science and remote sensing, ranging from large satellite missions to airborne experiments. Stephanie develops programs and projects to support water sustainability and agriculture in the U.S. and the developing world. She is particularly interested in connecting science and decision making to improve water management (for example in agriculture) and to improve how we handle drought. Stephanie enjoys cycling with her husband, spending time with her three grown-up children, and is especially fond of silly little dogs.


Dr. Alphan Altinok

Program Coordinator

Alphan is a senior researcher specializing in the design, implementation and optimization of machine learning and computer vision algorithms for a diverse range of uses. With extensive experience in handling various data types including images, time series and hyperspectral remote-sensing data, he has made significant contributions to missions like NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, Earth Observing-1 satellite and Intelligent Payload Experiment. Alphan’s interests and research are focused on using artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve pressing environmental and societal issues. He has worked with California’s Department of Water Resources to use machine learning to refine sub-seasonal to seasonal precipitation forecasting for improved water management. Alphan has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Sharon Vasquez-Ray

Stakeholder Engagement Lead

Prior to joining WWAO, Sharon was the Applications Lead and Visualization Lead for the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Project (AIRS on NASA’s Aqua satellite), and the Project System Engineer on the Multi-mission Algorithm and Analysis Platform (MAAP), a cloud-based science and data system jointly developed by NASA and the European Space Agency to study Earth’s biomass as its first use case. During her career at JPL she has held positions in the lab’s engineering, science, and communications divisions, taking on a diverse set of lead roles associated with Earth remote sensing in the areas of applications, system engineering, data visualization, user services, software development, communications and more. She has also worked on the planetary side for the Galileo mission to Jupiter, serving as the Flight and Ground Software Lead for spacecraft’s Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem. Sharon’s area of interest now focuses on leveraging NASA’s science and data to support the decision-making associated with today’s key environmental challenges. Sharon holds a degree in computer science and mathematics from University of Illinois.


Dr. Amber Jenkins

Information Architecture Lead

Amber leads various WWAO strategic initiatives and its communications efforts. She is passionate about the power of science and technology to change the world. Her interests include creating impactful science programs, harnessing the power of storytelling, and translating science into action for the benefit of society. Prior to joining WWAO, Amber managed JPL’s Climate Science Center, developed high-profile communications campaigns for NASA and hosted JPL’s first 3D movie. She launched NASA’s Climate Change website, which garners 40 million views a year, is featured in op-eds, major media outlets and on TV, and has won multiple Webby Awards including for Best Science Site. Before joining NASA, Amber was an editor for international science magazine Nature and founded Nature Photonics, one of the highest-impact physics publications. She has a Ph.D. in Particle Physics and Diploma from Imperial College London, where her research focused on searching for the Higgs boson at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. Amber holds First-Class M.Sci. and M.A. degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.

Amber McCullum

Dr. Amber Jean McCullum

Impact and Transition Lead

Amber works to identify and communicate project impacts and ensure the successful transition of WWAO project outcomes to the water-management community. She is a researcher and capacity-building specialist in the Earth Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center. Her work in the applied sciences focuses on project management, creating a more equitable and inclusive space for the use of Earth Observations across NASA and Indigenous communities, and delivering training for how to use remote-sensing data for land and water uses. Amber also serves as team lead for NASA's Indigenous Peoples Initiative and lead trainer in land management for NASA's Applied Remote Sensing and Training (ARSET) Program. She has led multiple projects focused on the co-development of remote-sensing tools for the Navajo Nation, including the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. Amber received a B.S. in Geology and Environmental Geosciences from the College of Charleston, M.S. in Geology from San Francisco State University, and Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Mark Davidson

Mark Davidson

Water Alliance Lead

As WWAO's Water Alliance Lead, Mark helps build strategic partnerships with non-profit and for-profit partners in the water sphere. He is also the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Center Technology Transfer Lead for NASA's Small Business Innovation Research unit, where he performs strategic market analysis and translates ideas into promising business plans. Before joining NASA, Mark was Corporate Director of Business Strategy at Northrop Grumman Corporation where he was responsible for evolving the company's portfolio strategy associated with all defense electronics including space, air, ground and maritime domains and naval systems. He also worked as a Corporate Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations at a major aerospace parts distribution company. Mark has an MBA in International Finance from the University of Southern California, a Diploma from the U.S. Naval War College and a B.A. in Physical Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia Johnson

Project Resource Analyst

Cyndi is responsible for WWAO's overall financial operations and based at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She analyzes funding status and budget performance, and ensures that WWAO complies with institutional and programmatic business requirements. Prior to working at NASA, Cyndi was a business and planning financial analyst at Boeing Satellite Systems for over 14 years. She received her MBA in Finance from Argosy University and a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing from the University of Houston.

WWAO Science Team


Dr. Bailing Li

Science Team

Bailing is an assistant research scientist in the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She is affiliated with the University of Maryland's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, which has a cooperative agreement between the university and NASA. As a member of WWAO's Science Team, Bailing helps identify capabilities within NASA and other organizations that can support WWAO's mission and projects. Her research focuses on using satellite, modeling and in-situ data to better understand the temporal and spatial variability of terrestrial water-storage components and its impacts on hydrological extremes. Bailing is passionate about making satellite and modeling data useful for hydrological applications through quantitative analyses and rigorous evaluation. She is the lead researcher on assimilating data from NASA's GRACE / GRACE-FO missions into the agency's land surface model that provides global groundwater estimates and drought monitoring. Bailing holds a Ph.D. in hydrology from the University of Arizona.


Dr. A.J. Purdy

Science Team

A.J. Purdy is a senior research scientist and adjunct faculty in the Department of Applied Environmental Science at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and at NASA Ames Research Center. In addition to serving on WWAO’s Science Team, A.J. is a member of the Science Team for OpenET, an online platform that delivers water-use information to farmers and water managers. A.J. has over 10 years of experience developing satellite-driven evapotranspiration models and ground evaluations. He is interested in building tools that support the use of scientific models and datasets. A.J.’s research has used data from multiple NASA satellite missions to study changes in water availability and model water cycling. Prior to joining CSUMB and NASA, A.J. served as an assistant professor in the GeoSpatial Analysis Laboratory and Department of Environmental Science at the University of San Francisco and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA's Western Water Applications Office is here to connect water managers, decision makers and stakeholders to NASA data, tools, expertise and information. We welcome feedback, ideas and suggestions for collaboration opportunities, and would love to hear from you!


NASA Western Water Applications Office
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 301-320
California 91109.