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Sergio RuizCórdova – Staff

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Sergio with Puneet Srivastava and Bill Deutsch

Sergio gathered with colleagues Puneet Srivastava (left) and Bill Deutsch (right)

Sergio is a Research Associate with Alabama Water Watch and Global Water Watch in the Water Resources Center.

Sergio has a M.S. in Aquatic Ecology from the Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. He is Associate Director and Data Coordinator for Alabama Water Watch (AWW), a community- and science-based citizen volunteer water monitoring program for watershed stewardship. AWW has been an effective and impactful program for more than 25 years, and Sergio has been there from the beginning.  The hard-earned data obtained across the state, year in and year out by thousands of citizens, more than 92,000 publicly-accessible records in all, is a powerful history and knowledge base for citizen activism to protect and improve water quality.

Sergio is a technical mastermind who is responsible for developing and maintaining that database and cutting edge Water Data Tools to make data accessible to the public, without which AWW would lose its potency.  He has created a user interface that is accessible by everyone, no matter the educational background.  Similar organizations, just within the last two or three years, are reaching the same sophistication and standard that Sergio established decades ago.

As important as database management is, Sergio has done so much more on behalf of AWW and the international equivalent inspired by AWW, Global Water Watch (GWW).  He has helped create programs that empower citizens to protect water quality in Alabama, across the country, and abroad. Sergio is a master organizer and trainer, educating, nurturing, and empowering people of all backgrounds to make a difference for the places they know and love.  He is warm, engaging, joyful, and has such faith in people, it’s safe to say everyone loves Sergio.

Sergio grew up in a rural mountain town in Guatemala during a period of war and unrest. His childhood experiences have had a lasting impact on his life and his commitment to sustainability. Motivated by a desire to make a difference, he started his career as a teacher, and then continued to study in the fields of aquaculture, marine biology, and eventually aquatic ecology at Auburn University. He has a way of appreciating nature, time, and people that does not come naturally to most.  That can’t be explained, only experienced.

Sergio’s impact is immense, but because of his humble nature, his efforts often go unrecognized.  He is a true servant leader, one who nurtures the success of others.  He believes in the power of citizens, and through constant support and encouragement, he improves lives and the waters upon which they depend.  It is rare to find a person who has the understanding of science, technology, and creativity Sergio possesses. Because of what Sergio started in Alabama, his impact will greatly outlive his career with AWW and GWW, and will empower future generations of water watchers.