Valerie Rangel earned a Master of Community Regional Planning (MCRP) degree that carried an emphasis in Natural Resources & Environmental Planning with concentrated coursework in Public Health, and Indigenous Planning. Her education involved Environmental Science, Southwest History, Native American Studies, and Cultural Anthropology.
During her graduate professional project/thesis, she worked with university scholars and faculty, tribal, and U.S. government officials in an investigation of environmental land use, ethnographic history, and future planning of the repatriated Fort Wingate Army Depot Activity Area, located near Gallup, New Mexico. The Professional Project report that resulted recommended planning policy changes, tribal self-determination, environmental restoration implementation strategies, natural alternatives to contamination clean-up, and public health education curriculum for the immediate health threats posed by the legacy of contamination in the area.
Valerie’s work experience started as an intern entomologist at the former Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission’s Water Quality- Clean Rivers Program. During her years studying at the University of New Mexico she worked at the Center for Southwest Research as an archivist for the Digital Western Waters Digital Library. Post-graduation, she worked for environmental consulting firms where she gained experience assisting with stakeholder meetings, strategic planning initiatives, research and writing of environmental impact assessments. She then went on to work as an archivist for the New Mexico Records Center and Archives, preserving fragile documents, physically processing, digital archiving, creating metadata, for the state’s collections. She also conducted research and contributed historical essays, and digitally archiving Spanish land grants, oversized maps, and civil war muster rolls or the New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Valerie also facilitated Earth Science courses as a contributing faculty member at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
In April, 2018 Valerie presented selections from her book at the National Environmental Justice conference in Washington, D.C. In 2016, she was a research assistant and author of a Santa Fe County Health Impact Assessment, “Indian Health Services Budget and Urban Indian Budgeting Decisions”. She presently works as an environmental planning and public health assessment consultant and Community Program Manager for the state’s non-profit community foundation and volunteers as a river steward and social justice activist.