meet our team
In The Field
Dylan Terrell is a founding member of Caminos de Agua (originally CATIS Mexico) and has coordinated water programming, technology development, and community projects for the organization since 2011. His work in rural Mexico is dedicated to creating low-tech, replicable solutions to locally acute – yet globally distributed – water quality problems. His focus has revolved around the development and implementation of low-cost ceramic water filters for microbiological contamination, bone char production for fluoride remediation, low-tech rainwater harvesting innovations, and most recently, the adaptation of biochar treatment systems that remove synthetic organic chemical compounds.
Prior to working for Caminos, Dylan lived and worked in numerous communities throughout the U.S. and Latin America - including Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Southern Mexico, Colorado, and Northwest Indiana - on community development projects. Dylan is fluent in Spanish and received his master’s degree in Global Sustainability and Rural Development in 2012 from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. His final thesis analyzed the effects of neoliberal policy on rural Latin America and the implications of rural-to-urban migration on global sustainability.
Development Director and Education Coordinator
Jennifer Ungemach was born and raised in Pennsylvania and graduated from Juniata College with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. She completed her master's degree in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture in Havana, Cuba. She has lived throughout Latin America for over a decade where she has been involved in various sustainable development projects. Jennifer first worked with Caminos de Agua as an instructor for a summer Agroecology workshop in 2011. Currently, Jennifer acts as both the Development Director and Education Coordinator. Jennifer is in charge of all workshop, field school, and volunteer/internship coordination as well as all university groups and organizational partnerships.
Director of Community Projects
Saúl Juarez is originally from Dolores Hidalgo (La Luz de Tranca) and is a passionate water advocate. He currently lives in a community twenty minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende, by the Allende Reservoir. Over the last ten years, he has woven together a wealth of life experiences, including community organizing in over twenty communities in the municipality. An active member of the Coalition in Defense of the Independence Watershed, Saúl passionately advocates for more training opportunities for communities, specifically in sustainable water treatment and rainwater harvesting. With Caminos de Agua, Saúl is responsible for generating collaborations with organizations working in community development in the region. He also designs and teaches workshops
related to water and health.
Healthy Water Promoter
Casilda Barajas is an architect by trade and a graduate of the UNAM. A six-year resident of San Miguel de Allende, she specializes in architectural design with reeds and is an active promoter of reed construction. Casilda promotes gray water recycling with biofilters and natural wetlands. She spent six years working in Chiapas with these technologies while designing and building a network of micro community health clinics in Zapatista communities. She also participates in Initiatives for Nature -- INANA, another civil organization. Casilda designs learning materials and community outreach strategies for Caminos de Agua.
Research and Technology Development Coordinator
Aaron Krupp is an Oberlin College/Caltech mechanical engineering graduate and coordinates our Research and Technology Development team. His priority is research and development on our water filtration media for arsenic and fluoride mitigation. Over the past few years, he has worked on rural wheelchairs and biodegradable sanitary pads in India, built some robots in California, worked to develop desalination systems in Australia, and even taught magic with a circus in Kathmandu. Most recently, Aaron returned from a twelve-month Watson Fellowship studying the relationship between poverty and technology in South and Southeast Asia and East Africa. Aaron is passionate about research into diverse "technologies designed for function and accessibility [that] can help break the cycle of poverty." Check out more of Aaron's work here.
Water Filter Production
Nico Vargas is the lead on ceramic water filter quality. He tests flow rates and applies colloidal silver to the filters so that they meet all standards. He also constructs full systems, installing the filter into the carboy. A reliable flow rate is essential to ensure adequate filtration of biological contaminants; colloidal silver treatment further reduces the number of water-borne pathogens. Nico is fully trained in filter preparation and system construction and is now in charge of filter testing, system assembly, and training of new employees.
Water Filter Production
Filiberto Baltazar is a native of Montecillio de la Milpa - the community just on the north side of the Laja River, next to Caminos de Agua's field site whose groundwater is dangerously contaminated with arsenic and fluoride. Fili is responsible for producing the ceramic filters from molds. Fili's background in adobe making has translated well into the precise work that is hand-molded ceramic filter manufacturing.
Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator
Billy Thurston is a civil engineer from London, UK, and coordinates our water quality monitoring and testing. As well as testing water for private clients, this work also involves coordinating with universities and other institutions in Mexico and the USA on projects to monitor the water quality of rural and urban wells throughout the Independence Watershed region. He is also involved in the documentation of Caminos de Agua's work, taking photos and producing videos for many of our publicity materials.
He studied civil engineering at the University of Bristol, with a year spent studying abroad in Spain, and specialised in hyraulics, hydrology and environmental modelling. Since graduating, he has volunteered with WindAid, a wind energy NGO based in Peru, and has spent two years working for Mott MacDonald in London on dams and hydropower projects around the world. He joined Caminos de Agua in July 2016 as a volunteer through Engineers Without Borders UK, and has since become a permanent member of the team. As well as being passionate about international development, watershed management and Latin American culture, he also enjoys football, nature, and art.
Chantal Kronenburg is a specialist in applied communications from the Netherlands, and coordinates all of our external communications. This involves producing and implementing a strategy for all of our public-facing materials that accurately and consistently articulates our mission and work, including the development of materials for news updates, education, and fundraising.
Chantal has a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and a master’s degree in Applied Communications, focusing on water issues, from Wageningen University. This blend of training makes her well-suited to her role at Caminos de Agua – allowing her to analyse and understand the context of our work while keeping a critical eye on our projects. Her master’s degree, in particular, was focused on understanding of the role of communication in addressing the kind of complex social challenges that we face as an organization. In fact, she studied our work as part of her master’s thesis during a six-month research earlier this year, building on knowledge that she gained during a previous placement with us in 2016. She has now joined as a permanent member of the team. In her free time, Chantal enjoys horse-back riding and exploring new cultures.
Jeff Rottler is an original founder of both Instituto Tierra y Cal, A.C. -- a San Miguel-based nonprofit focusing on earthen construction -- and CATIS Mexico -- which eventually became Caminos de Agua. Jeff is a sociologist and a builder who focuses on sustainable rural community development in Latin America. For the past decade, he has primarily worked on earthen construction. While Jeff now spends most of his time with his sustainable building company, Rottler-Campos Studio, Jeff still coordinates ceramic water filter production for Caminos de Agua.
On The Board
Dr. Ilan Adler
Dr. Adler is a teaching fellow at University College of London, one of Caminos de Agua's main University parters, in the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, and he is also the founder of IRRI-Mexico, one of Caminos de Agua's main partners in Mexico City. Dr. Adler has worked in the Independence Watershed region for years; he was involved with an early water quality study of the region in 2005-2006 and ultimately installed numerous rainwater harvesting systems in rural community elementary schools to combat the high arsenic and fluoride contamination they were encountering. He received his Ph.D. in 2014; his thesis entitled: Application of filtration and silver-ion based disinfection to purify rainwater for potable uses in rural communities of Mexico. These rainwater systems are now maintained by Caminos de Agua.
Dr. Adler has overseen students from the Engineers Without Borders - University College of London chapter who have have worked on the ground with Caminos de Agua the last several years to maintain 13 rainwater harvesting systems and install an additional 11 large-scale systems with the Caminos team.
Additionally, Dr. Adler has worked closely with Caminos de Agua on various research, development, and educational projects including the piloting of a passive solar pump at the Caminos site in Mexico, a master's thesis study evaluating the efficacy of Caminos' ceramic water filters using viral and bacterial indicators , and sustainable design projects for communities in the Independence Watershed region by students at University College of London.
Robert A. Lerner
Robert Lerner is a biologist, technologist and serial entrepreneur. A veteran of start-ups in renewable energy, outdoor gear, and technology development, his business experience spans start-ups, fundraising, product development (multiple patents), sales and marketing, and full-charge financial responsibility. A resident of Mexico since 1996, Rob is a practicing sustainability advocate, living in an all-solar home of his design, with rainwater harvesting, fruit and vegetable green roof, worm composting, and many other green features. His current career path is focused on bioenergy and biochar as a sustainability strategy for food, climate and environmental management, on which he advises multiple projects in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.
Rob has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara (1975) and an M.S. in Botany from University of Washington (1978); he abandoned his Ph.D. research in 1980 to pursue a career in business, maintaining a lifelong commitment to science literacy.
Agustin Madrigal Bulnes graduated as a geologist from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has lived in Guanajuato state since 1994 and has participated in diverse projects, including developing Management Plans for Protected Natural Areas in different municipalities in the state (until 2001). From 2002-2005, he participated in the "Restore the Laja River" project, backed by the North American Wetland Conservations Act (NWCA). Since 2006, he has been the Director of the non-profit Save the Laja River, coordinating conservation, soil restoration, and water projects in rural communities as part of the National Program in Watersheds and Cities that is funded by the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, A.C.. As part of this program he was invited to participate in the International Seminar on Watershed Management hosted by the US Forest Service in Arizona in 2015.
Muriel Bevilacqua Logan
Muriel came to San Miguel with her husband Gordon in late 2002 after a career in international development, where she worked in recruiting, training, and supporting field workers for appropriate development in agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, refugee resettlement and other social interventions in some of the poorest and most troubled countries of the world. Upon arrival, she began almost immediately working with the non-profit Save the Laja River. She was inspired by the organization's pursuit of appropriate, empowering projects with local communities in conservation and restoration of land and water resources in the troubled Upper Rio Laja Watershed. As the problems of water scarcity and contamination, deforestation and erosion, over-pumping and poor use of water and land resources have increased, she has participated in environmental education projects, the Citizens’ Observatory for Water and Sanitation (OCAS), and other community-based efforts to promote appropriate interventions among residends and government agencies.
Muriel just built a rainwater catchment system at her home in the San Antonio neighborhood of San Miguel to serve as a demonstration project to help local residents see how to deal with new disturbing levels of fluoride, arsenic and other elements in the domestic water.
Ercilia Sahores is a Political Scientist, beekeeper and community organizer from Argentina. Ercilia has worked as Executive Director for several grassroots organizations in Latin America. She is currently the Latin American Political Director for Regeneration International and Political Director for Organic Consumers Association Mexico.
Joshua currently is Director of Financial Reporting at Guggenheim Partners, a financial services institution. He is responsible for financial reporting application, holding company financial management, and forecasting and planning for several operating groups. Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners, Joshua worked at Protiviti, an audit and consulting firm, performing IT security and compliance audits around the world.
George Terrell has been a community organizer and social justice activist for more than 45 years. A lawyer by training, his current law practice is limited to the pro bono representation of non-profits. George has a rich history with non-governmental organizations. He helped lead a community organization, Project Neighbors (Neighbors Corp.) in Valparaiso, Indiana for almost 20 years and is still active in its programs. Project Neighbors built a childcare center serving a diverse population, a community center, over 70 homes, and a health care center that now provides access to superior care for the formerly under- and un-served citizens in five counties.
Simona Dossi, Engineers Without Borders UK, MEng Chemical Engineering, University of Edinburgh, UK
July Gracient, College of International Agro-Development (ISTOM), France / Cranfield University, UK
Martijn Eikelboom, Van Hall Larenstein, The Netherlands - click here for more info
Billy Thurston, Engineers Without Borders UK, MEng Civil Engineering with Study in Continental Europe, University of Bristol, UK - click here for more info
Sarah Mitchell, Engineers Without Borders UK, MEng Civil Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK - click here for more info
Elena Diek, Master's in Integrated Water Resources Management, Technical College Cologne, Germany - click here for more info
Chantal Kronenburg, Master's in Applied Communications, Wageningen University, The Netherlands - click for more info
Cameron Plese, Master's in Sustainable International Development, Brandeis University, MA, USA
Olivia Hobson, Engineers Without Borders UK - click for more info
Will Mitchell, Engineers Without Borders UK
Javier Sierra, Engineers Without Borders UK