Senior Fellow & Project Manager, enFocus
Allison Turner grew up in a town called Channahon which means “where the waters meet.” Today, Allison is dedicated to helping local communities see where their own waters meet their daily lives. A former Fulbright scholar, Allison studied water for many years, including a focus on the Wabash River during her undergrad and then a stellar Master’s thesis about the Detroit River. She now gets to inspire, educate, and mobilize people in Indiana, USA around their local rivers, like the St. Joseph and the Elkhart, to encourage connection and innovation around water resources.
As a young water professional, Allison works as a Senior Fellow & Project Manager in Indiana at an organization called enFocus. Every day, she gets to help municipal water utilities, local NGOs, and community members through important actions like planning for future drinking water needs, encouraging recreational use of waterways, educating on water quality, and furthering the protection of local water resources. She notes there are challenges in her work, though, like the learning curve. She says, “Most of the other people I work with have years – even decades – of experience in the water field, and they’re also very familiar with the local context... Fortunately, I receive a lot of help and support.” She also recognizes the importance of her position as a woman in the water space, putting it simply, “There aren’t a lot of us.”
Water is not just work for Allison though. She spent her childhood enjoying adventures through a local forest preserve with a beautiful river and canal on it. As an adult, Allison is most passionate about the ways water connects and unites people. She reflects, “No matter where you go, regardless of where you are, water is profoundly impactful. Water is the reason all these communities exist. My favorite thing about water though is that it brings people together. In the Midwestern USA, there’s this big trend toward bringing people together – toward creating communities where people want to live and work and play. I feel honored that every day, I get to strengthen the connection between healthy water resources and healthy communities.”