This Finalist’s passion for water and wildlife extends into her community engagement. Lydia earned a Bachelor’s in Ecohydrology, dual masters in Environmental Engineering and hydrogeology and is a Ph.D candidate at UNR in Environmental Engineering. In 2015, she was named UNR’s Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year. As the Emerging Resources Program Administrator at TMWA, she leads a 6-year, $9M feasibility study (the first of its kind in Nevada) to evaluate if advanced purified water offers significant water benefits to Northern Nevada. She manages and operates the demonstration technologies that treat wastewater to drinking water. Collaborating with 7 local agencies, Lydia is also the principal on several federal grants to aid this project. She has traveled to Kenya, Panama, and Mexico to participate in drinking water projects, and she also volunteers with local schools to teach about water in the environment.

Lydia is one of the first females ever elected to the Board of Directors of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited in its 40 year history. She volunteers hundreds of hours a year to raise over $1.3 million at NBU’s one night banquet which hosts 2,500 outdoor enthusiasts. She has volunteered over 250 hours alone in water development projects building guzzlers that provide water to wildlife. She also supports bighorn sheep relocation and reintroductions efforts. Through NBU, she’s helped collect over 2,000 lbs of donated game meat used to serve meals to the less fortunate in Reno. She also helps organize the annual youth clothing drive for young hunters, serves meals at local charity organizations, and is an instructor at outdoor youth camps. She served as the Small Events Chair for the Nevada Young Alumni Chapter from 2013-2019 and helped raise over $60,000 in the past 3 years for Nevada scholarships at the annual Beer Fest event. She was also committed to Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2011-2017.