Water Institute Spotlight

In commemoration of Black History Month throughout February we will celebrate and highlight the scholarly achievements and contributions of UF Water Institute affiliated Black faculty and students working to understand and solve interdisciplinary water issues.

Today we highlight the work of two undergraduate students from UF’s School of Architecture whose projects investigated innovative ways of experiencing and managing the Floridan Aquifer.

Ibiebeleme Opuso-Jama,  Junior in the UF School of Architecture

Ibiebeleme took a leadership role in a collaborative project between Gainesville Regional Utilities and the College of Design, Construction and Planning to design a new Aquifer Replenishment Park for West Gainesville. “The work was compiled into a booklet, discussed with GRU technical staff, and received with much appreciation” said Professor Martha Kohen, Director of the UF Center for Hydro-Generated Urbanism.

A UF Davis Scholarship Recipient, Ibiebeleme is working to develop her design skills and expand critical thinking and creativity in approaching real life architecture scenarios. In particular she is interested in sustainable urban development and ways to design a greener future. She received Honorable Mention for UF 2020 Witter’s Competition and is a five-time Dean’s List Recipient.

“Black History month is important for the UF community because it is crucial to learn and grow with the knowledge of our ancestors that built this nation. I aim to inform the community by organizing events that provide African Americans a platform to have a conversation about the past, present and future.” – Ibiebeleme Opuso-Jama

T’Quion C. Smith, Senior in the UF School of Architecture

T’Quion is a Senior undergraduate student who explored the Floridan Aquifer as part of his Design Studio class. His project investigated the characteristics of the Santa Fe river in Alachua County, Florida where the river disappears underground into the Floridan Aquifer at O’Leno State Park and resurfaces at River Rise Preserve State Park. T’Quion created three Design Interventions that depict the experience of exploring and understanding the Florida Aquifer viewed from three different spatial perspectives. T’Quion hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Architecture to further his knowledge and practice in the field while working at an architecture firm in a collaborative environment. He loves to travel with his friends and hiking.

“The African American community has come a long way when it comes to rights and equality. Black History Month is to celebrate the generations of African American heroes who overcame the struggle of being black and opened doors for the current Black Heroes in current day. Everyone should be proud of who they are whether race, gender, etc. Life is short so living the best life you can while loving everyone should be the focus. I am a proud black man living in a crazy world, but I remember my ancestors never stopped so why should I?” – T’Quion C. Smith

February 1, 2021