Emily Meza

Emily Meza

I'm interested in critical analysis needed for creating the urban environment of the future. Combining skills in policy development, risk analysis, and water management with my design and project management experience allows me to understand relationships between infrastructure, the environment, and communities.

Career Interests

Water Infrastructure & Finance, Resiliency & Natural Hazards, Risk Analysis, Land Use Planning, Water Law & Policy
Employment Sought:
Permanent Position


Master of Environmental Management, 2018
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
Water Resources Management Concentration
Master of Architecture, March, 2012
Department of Architecture and Urban Design
University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Science, 2007
Taubman College of Architecture and Planning
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Architecture Major

Professional Experience

Environmental Consultant, Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise, Durham, NC
Advanced the NGO’s environmental justice goals of bringing basic wastewater infrastructure and sanitation to rural Alabama. Outlined the nature and scale of the presence of raw sewage in residential areas beyond the prevailing narrative of poor residents lacking septic systems. Quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed an EPA funded county-wide survey of Lowndes County, AL. Conducted a spatial statistical analysis to determine key predictors of raw sewage, including failing infrastructure, physical and environmental factors such as shrink-swell clay soils, and economic indicators. Drafted a memorandum of research findings for national legislators to use in policy creation and funding. 2017-present
Policy Consultant, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC 
Collaborated with a law student to further the client’s goals of monitoring surface water near concentrated animal feeding operations not covered under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) based on legal arguments around nonpoint source pollutants and the Clean Water Act. Developed scientific underpinnings for proposed rule establishing surface water quality monitoring near animal operations, including defendable and transparent metrics. Wrote proposed rule language for the NC Administrative Code. Delivered oral and written public comment to the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ). 2017
Water Fund Analyst, The Conservation Fund, Chapel Hill, NC 
Promoted conservation of headwaters and source water protection through dedicated funding from water utilities as both a financial investment and resiliency measure as growth occurs. Evaluated projected growth and planned water infrastructure projects across NC counties. Researched and wrote public comments to the NC DEQ regarding Interbasin Transfers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing, and NPDES permits, highlighting the state’s role in coalition building. 2017
Project Architect, Leroy Street Studio Architects, New York, NY, 2013 –2016 West Village Apartments & Townhouse, 2015-2016
Designed Interlocking high-end apartment building and private residence/gallery in landmarked district. Project Architect in team of 5+ for a $45 million ground-up project, focusing on mechanical, structural, and façade building systems. Resolved complex technical and design issues. Balanced design considerations with a team of 15 consultants on issues ranging from building performance and comfort to zoning and code compliance, addressing associated risks and tradeoffs.
Upper East Side Townhouse, 2013-2015
Managed structural renovation and addition to 20-foot wide, 6-story townhouse in Manhattan for private client. Lead architect for $12 million project from design development through construction, responsible for overall project schedule, budget, and quality. Developed and maintained strong client and contractor relationships as primary day-to-day contact. Managed fluctuating team of 1 to 3 employees to ensure quality and attain project milestones, including city submittals and permits, bidding sets, and inspections. Coordinated subcontractors and consultants from technical disciplines such as structural, electrical, plumbing, and geotechnical engineers. Oversaw interior designer, lighting designer, and landscape architect for design consistency.
Student Designer, Re-conceptualizing Waste & Water in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 
Presented planning proposal that emerged from self-guided year-long research to community stakeholders as member of team of 3. Conducted research on mega-landfills of waste born from 1990s U.S. environmental regulations. Identified trends of privatization and consolidation of municipal operations along with rising interstate trade. Recognized opportunity in eminent closure of LA’s primary landfill and planned export of waste by rail. Developed an alternative countywide plan that funded the revitalization of the LA River by keeping municipal waste removal and associated revenue local. Sited associated infrastructure within local communities, exploring ways to integrate public awareness of the downtown, residential, and coastal sites. 2011–2012
Student Designer, Coastal Resiliency: Sendai, Japan post 2011 Tsunami, Los Angeles, CA 
Proposed a master plan for the coastal buffer zone outside of Sendai, Japan to include a seawall integrated into a recreational forested landscape and multipurpose evacuation towers. 2012
Architectural Designer, Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, New York, NY, 2007 –2009 Hotel Renovation in Battery Park City, NYC, 2008-2009
Prepared suite of conceptual designs for the renovation of an urban hotel. Presented client with clear visuals and distilled narratives for options to activate public spaces and revive the aging building design.
Private Residence in Greensboro NC, 2007-2008
Prepared architectural drawing sets, material research, and visual representation throughout schematic design, design development and construction document project phases consistent with firm aesthetics and quality.

Additional Information

American Institute of Architects , 2015 – present
LEED AP, BD+C, 2009 - present
R, MATLAB, Mathematica, Excel, ArcGIS AutoCAD, SketchUp, Rhino, Vectorworks , Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign


coastal zone management
environmental economics
project management
water resources management

Graduation Date

May 2018

Additional Resources

Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Business / Industry
Research Institute / Think Tank