Munezero soaks up water-centric experience at Nebraska

by Natalie Jones | IANR News

Sarah Munezero
Sarah Munezero, a May 2021 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate hopes to return to "the land of a thousand hills" to help agriculture flourish while ensuring the sustainability of water resources. Photo courtesy of the Daughtery Water For Food Institute.
May 24, 2021

Lincoln, Neb. —Sarah Munezero, a Rwanda native, hopes to return to “the land of a thousand hills” to help agriculture flourish while ensuring the sustainability of water resources.

Munezero, a May 2021 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate in integrated science and mechanized systems management and a minor in water science, is a self-proclaimed water enthusiast. She dove head-first into a water-focused experience in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Nebraska, but her interest in water resources began her senior year at the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in Kilagi, Rwanda.  

It was in high school that she became interested in how drip irrigation worked and how it helps to increase agricultural productivity. Little did Munezero know that her affinity for water had only begun.

Munezero found her way as an international student at Nebraska with the help of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP) team who connected her to the resources and mentors she needed.

“CASNR showed me all of the resources and the right people to reach out to, and it created a sense of belonging and showed me that I had the support and guidance that I needed,” said Munezero.

“I credit every success to CASNR because of all of the doors that were opened for me. CASNR staff are student- and achievement-oriented,” she said. “Everybody wanted to help me and see me shining.”

Munezero considers each challenge she faces as an opportunity to make a new friend, build adaptability, flexibility and experience different cultures. She also immersed herself in the CASNR community, serving as a member of the CASNR Week program council, and leading students as a teaching assistant in two different departments.

Munezero found her niche in the water world working as a policy analytics intern with the Daugherty Water for Food Institute, a position she began last fall.

Sarah Munezero

“Joining Daugherty Water for Food Institute and learning community was a life-changing moment for me,” Munezero said.

As an undergraduate intern, Munezero worked to analyze groundwater transfer rules in Nebraska to understand their hydrogeological impacts, which help set comprehensive policies to assist irrigators and water resource managers.

Her experience with the Daugherty Water for Food Institute was a stepping stone to an internship opportunity with the North Platte Natural Resources District. Munezero she spent the summer of 2019 working in all aspects of the department inspecting dams, taking flow meter readings, helping with chemigation, running the water system district and also sitting in on hearings.

Munezero was always unsure of how she could marry her passions -- water, people, and policy –until now.

“I’ve listened to farmers in Scottsbluff and Rwanda and heard similar problems between them, Munezero said.

“I want to do policy and I love being with people. What if I am that person who considers their concerns as well develop the water policy? I think I can be the best fit.”

Munezero hopes to attend graduate school before returning to Rwanda.

Natalie Jones | IANR Media