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IndigeFEWSS Trainee Nikki Tulley with Secretary Haaland
Nikki Tulley
Dec. 15, 2021

Nikki Tulley, Indige-FEWSS Trainee, and Ph.D. candidate met Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, at the NASA Landsat 9 launch on September 27, 2021. The Landsat imaging project is a joint effort between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey to improve Earth observation capabilities and make scientific data freely available to the public. “Landsat satellites can assist us in an accessible way in determining drought rates and precipitation rates in places where water is scarce,” Nikki says in contributing her knowledge to the “NASA Science Live: Landsat - A Legacy of Seeing Earth from Space” production. Hear Nikki’s comments starting at minute 5 below: 

The Ladies of Landsat, a professional organization that started on Twitter and is all-inclusive, is a community of 7,500 members of mostly women who use remote sensing and earth observation in research.  

Nikki has been using Landsat data to view her homeland on the Navajo Nation to learn more about the topography and diversity of the landscape. She elaborates on her personal experience using Landsat data at the NASA Landsat 9 launch. View Nikki’s interview “Behind the launch with Mark Evan Jackson and the Ladies of Landsat” on Facebook.

Interior Secretary Haaland highlighted the importance of public access to NASA and USGS Landsat data at the Vice Presidential National Space Council Meeting. Haaland even remarked on Nikki Tulley’s use of the platform, saying, “Nikki is someone who has used publicly available Landsat images to further her scientific career and help her home community.” Haaland cited Nikki’s personal experience to highlight the value that Landsat provides to the scientific community. Hear Haaland’s presentation here, with mention of Nikki beginning at 1:05: 

Nikki is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Science with a concentration in Hydroscience at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on ensuring that people living in Indigenous communities have access to clean drinking water to sustain their way of life in an ever-changing environment through sustainable practices and water policies and management. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2018-2021 Scholar, American Indian Graduate Center Fellow, and an American Indian Science and Engineering Society Sequoyah Fellow. Nikki received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Water Resources from the University of New Mexico.

- Jacob E. Hunt