Caleb's Headshot
PhD Alumni
Environmental Engineering • Global Engineering

Caleb (he/him/his) studies international development models aimed at preventively maintaining rural water infrastructure in East Africa as part of the USAID Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) Learning Partnership. His largest interests and future aspirations lie at the interface of scientific research, practical action and policy regarding rural water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. He is co-advised by both Dr. Karl Linden and Dr. Amy Javernick-Will. 

His research currently looks at conditions that make up the enabling environment for the maintenance of rural water infrastructure in Uganda and Kenya, trying to better understand the challenges facing rural maintenance providers (i.e. early forms of a rural water utility in a low-income context) and how these challenges relate to the service area contexts in which they work. He works closely with Whave Solutions in Uganda, a model service provider and enabling environment capacity developer. His research is heavily rooted in fieldwork and in-office time with research partners; he has spent over 12 months in Uganda working with several SWS partners, including Whave and IRC Uganda. Caleb also worked for Water for People for 1.5 years in both Denver, Colorado, and in Uganda. 

Caleb graduated with his PhD in Environmental Engineering at CU Boulder in December 2022. He received his M.S. in Environmental Engineering with a Certificate in Global Engineering from CU Boulder in May 2020, and his B.S. in Civil Engineering with a Minor in Global Engineering Studies from Purdue University in 2017. Outside of work and travel, he's an avid lover of good dogs (especially his), good food, long road trips, long runs, and quality time with his piano and guitar.

Caleb now works for TetraTech ARD in International Develom

Why I chose a PhD: Over the last 10 years, I have been exposed over and over to the complex intersection between humans and their built and natural environments. In technical fields like engineering, the human element isn’t always obvious on the surface - and it isn’t always addressed. Even in engineering projects in low- and middle-income contexts, the relationship between humans and the infrastructure being built around them is poorly understood. It’s no secret that many efforts to enhance the quality of life for people in low- and middle-income communities have failed, and I decided to pursue a PhD to better understand how these complex human-infrastructure interactions can lead to success and failure on the path to a more sustainable built environment for everyone (which in my case means exploring how various social, political, natural and physical environments influence global efforts to professionalize rural water services in Uganda).


  • PhD in Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, intended graduation 2021

  • MS in Environment Engineering with Certificate in Global Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 2020 

  • BS in Civil Engineering with Minor in Global Engineering Studies, Purdue University, 2017 



Cord, C., Javernick-Will, A., Buhungiro, E., Harvey, A., K. Linden. Institutional impacts on local government support: enabling professionalized maintenance of water supply infrastructure in rural Africa (2022).  PLOS Water. 10.1371/journal.pwat.0000003

Cord, C., Javernick-Will, A., Buhungiro, E., Harvey, A., Jordan, E., Lockwood, H., and K. Linden. (2022). “Pathways to consumer demand and payment for professional rural water infrastructure maintenance across low-income contexts.” Science of the Total Environment.

Cord, C.; Javernick-Will, A.; Chintalapati, P.; Lockwood, H.; Harvey, A.; Nyaga, C.; Linden, K. Enabling Rural WASH Systems: Mapping rural water maintenance approaches and identifying key support requirements. Proceedings of the 2020 African Water Association International Congress and Exhibition, Kampala, Uganda, February 2020

Cord, C.; Walters, J.; Lockwood, H.; Chintalapati, P.; Javernick-Will, A.; Linden, K. Shifting our minds toward prevention: models for rural water maintenance and sustained service delivery. Proceedings of the IRC All Systems Go! Conference, Den Haag, The Netherlands, March 2019

Cord, C. †; Javernick-Will, A.; Chintalapati, P.; Lockwood, H.; Linden, K. Preventing failure in rural WASH systems: mapping and modeling rural water maintenance approaches. University of North Carolina Water and Health Conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, October 2019.

Contextualizing success and failure at three handpumps in rural Uganda

Analysis on IRC's use of Pay as You Fetch