People of Reclamation: Meet Angela Medina, Sr. International Affairs Specialist
Written by: Emily Quinn
Angela Medina, Sr. International Affairs SpecialistThe Bureau of Reclamation is made up of a variety of experts. Angela Medina, a Senior International Affairs Specialist in Reclamation’s International Affairs Office is one of those experts. The International Affairs Office functions to provide other countries with reimbursable technical expertise in the fields of dam safety and construction, water resources management and managing desalination and sedimentation.
Angela joined the Reclamation family in 2001 and found her place with the International Affairs team in 2008. Since then, she has worked to maintain Reclamation’s international relationships by offering reimbursable technical training, technical assistance and technical visitor programs to requesting countries.
Countries reach out to Angela’s team for specialized training provided by experts in Reclamation’s Technical Service Center. Each year, more than 500 people from other countries participate in this unique training experience.
Reclamation’s ability to provide this international training assistance is due to the fact that all costs involved are fully reimbursed to Reclamation by the trainee’s government, or by a sponsoring agency, like World Bank or the United States’ Agency for International Development.
“I love coordinating these training programs because it gives me a chance to put Reclamation’s technical experts in touch with experts from other countries to help solve water issues,” said Angela.
It’s not every day that a person finds their work to be both exciting and rewarding, but Angela used both of those words to describe what she does. There are two projects in particular that make Angela especially proud: The Taiwan Program and the Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams International Technical Seminar and Study tour (known as the “International SEED Seminar”). Angela serves as the International Affairs Program Lead for the Taiwan Program.
“To me, the Taiwan Program is important because it gives Reclamation and Taiwan Water Resources Agency a chance to share technical expertise, and to collaborate on issues that impact both countries’ water resources,” Angela explained.
Since 1987, Reclamation has been providing reimbursable technical assistance and training to the Taiwan Water Resources Agency through a cooperative agreement between the American Institute of Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representation Office. Reclamation serves as the designated technical representative of AIT. Angela is the liaison between Reclamation, AIT and TECRO, and she works with the WRA and Reclamation’s Technical Service Center staff administering the technical and financial material for Appendix 6 and Appendix 8.
Each year, an annual meeting alternates between Taiwan and the United States. One element of the meeting consists of a day-long meeting to discuss the results of the work performed during the prior year, and to establish the scope and priorities for the upcoming year. The other element consists of visits to a selection of the host country’s water management facilities to expose the visiting country’s experts to the technologies being used to address challenges.
“The agreement shared between Reclamation and Taiwan has significantly benefited both countries for decades,” Angela said. “It’s given Reclamation new perspectives and unique opportunities to explore reservoir-sediment sluicing options, and the agreement has enabled Taiwan to utilize our technical experts for help with design, construction and safety guidance for their water infrastructure projects.”
The International SEED Seminar is another International Affairs project Angela holds in high esteem because, as she explained, “The seminar provides participating countries with important guidance from our technical experts to establish or enhance safety inspections and evaluations of dams and other water infrastructure.” “By hosting this seminar, Reclamation is helping countries because it provides tools that can help to identify potential safety hazards in water infrastructure.”
In preparation for each International SEED Seminar, Angela begins planning about one year in advance. She and other members of the International Affairs Office coordinate with presenters, participants and vendors to finalize details associated with the seminar. Angela reviews presentation materials, sets program budgets and assists with travel coordination. Completion of the event is always a big accomplishment.
The SEED Seminar has helped other countries for decades. In fact, this year will mark the 30th anniversary of the SEED Seminar and Study Tour, and Angela expects about 50 people from up to 12 other countries to participate.
To Angela, the best part of working on these projects is meeting and working with people from all over the world, and providing them with a learning opportunity that they may not otherwise have in their country.
“I take great pride in partnering our technical experts with program participants from other countries,” said Angela. “Knowing that our experts are sharing such important information with participants who then carry that knowledge back to their countries to establish or enhance current safety measures is what the SEED Seminar is all about.”
Over the years, Angela has been fortunate to work with some great mentors who encouraged and motivated her to develop her skills. As an ambassador to the United States and Reclamation, Angela’s goal is to ensure that all International Affairs program participants experience the best of what Reclamation has to offer with regards to technical knowledge-sharing and cultural learning opportunities.
For people who may be interested in pursuing a career with Reclamation, Angela offered some advice. “Take every opportunity that presents itself -- even if you don’t like it -- because every opportunity is a learning experience.” She followed up by saying, “Learn to be flexible and willing to adapt to change and you will see that that attitude opens doors for you.”
Angela’s passion for learning about other countries spills into her personal life. Outside of work, Angela enjoys every opportunity to work with and learn from other countries and cultures. In fact, Angela has traveled to Kenya twice to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and is planning to return to Kenya in February.
Angela stands with an expert from the Technical Service Center during a site visit
Angela and a participant from the International SEED Seminar and Study Tour during a site tour
Published on December 06, 2018