For the past 11 years, Tricia Cortez has served as Rio Grande International Study Center’s executive director where she oversees the mission and day-to-day operations of Laredo’s leading environmental nonprofit. Under her tenure, RGISC has become a highly active change agent within the community. She has helped develop RGISC’s new strategic focus on water security, river restoration, climate impacts, and community engagement. Through coalition building and grassroots mobilization, Ms. Cortez has tackled environmental justice issues that threaten fragile and threatened ecosystems, and marginalized South Texas communities. She has led advocacy campaigns on single use plastics, ethylene oxide, wetland preservation, and the border wall. She conducts monthly river monitoring for the Texas Clean Rivers Program and has conceptualized what are now signature RGISC events, such as: Laredo Birding Festival, Loving Laredo Hikes, Loving Laredo Paddles and others. A mom of two, Tricia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in public policy with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.