The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Zack Guido awarded 2013 William G. McGinnies Scholarship

Zack Guido
Friday, January 31, 2014

The Selection Committee is proud to announce Zack Guido, Ph.D. candidate in SNRE, as the 2013 finalist and 37th Awardee of the William G. McGinnies Graduate Scholarship in Arid Lands Studies.

Zack’s PhD dissertation builds knowledge of climate impacts in Bolivia and tests methods to deliver information to resource management in the Southwest, both arid regions. In research concluded in 2012, Zack quantified glacial contributions to water supplies in the Bolivian Andes where two million people draw water from reservoirs filled by melting ice. He used environmental tracers to show that glacial runoff contributed 49–57% of the water in streams and reservoirs in 2011 and 2012. Zack found the contribution of glaciers in the dry season predominantly reflects the melting of nonrenewable ice. This research is in review in the Journal of Hydrology and will be the first peer-review constraints on the connection between glaciers and water supply in Bolivia.

The second part of Zack’s dissertation addresses how best to engage stakeholders and evaluate outcomes, debates resonant in climate services because of scant research. In a paper published in Weather Climate and Society in 2012, Zack demonstrated that syntheses of existing climate information—or knowledge-brokering—can be an effective strategy for connecting climate information to decision making. Results were based on an e-publication developed to document drought in the Southwest. An evaluation found that the publication helped its readers better prepare for drought and substantially influenced important drought-related decisions. The evidence supported the contention that the climate science community cannot focus exclusively on creating new information at the neglect of making useful what already exists.

As a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Bolivia and later as founder of a 501(c)3 organization, Zack worked with rural farmers to develop groundwater to shield against recurring drought. Using this as a case study, he helped produce multi-media educational materials for high-school curriculums to raise awareness of climate and drought impacts ( More recently, he joined the Climate Assessment for the Southwest and helped improve climate literacy in Arizona and New Mexico by co-producing climate information with resource managers and authoring 36 feature articles (

Zack will complete his PhD by December 2014, advised by Dr. Shirley Papuga. During his time as a student he has received distinctions from the UA Carson Scholars Fellowship and the Geological Society of America where his 2012 grant was ranked in the top 20 out of 636. He has also co-authored four peer-review articles with one in review and two in preparation ( Zack’s career ambitions are to remain in academia, and he is currently pursuing post-doc opportunities.