Past Student Fellows

Jonars Spielberg

Jonars Spielberg

  • PhD Candidate
  • "Honorable Mention", 2020 J-WAFS Fellowships for Water Solutions
  • Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Jonars is a doctoral candidate in International Development in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. His research examines how the state and its citizens work together to provide essential public services in the global South. Jonars’ current research investigates the promises and pitfalls of implementing participatory irrigation management reforms—a principal policy in the global South since the 1980s—in Senegal’s northern agricultural zone. This research emphasizes the role of bureaucrat–farmer interactions and the material consequences of everyday practices, offering insights into how joint water management can address pressing equity and sustainability challenges.

Prior to beginning his doctorate, Jonars worked as research staff with MIT’s Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE). At CITE, he conducted research on the adoption of household products among poor and disadvantaged communities in East Africa and South Asia. Jonars also has current affiliations with MIT’s D-Lab and Environmental Solutions Initiative / Martin Family Society of Fellows. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he conducted fieldwork in Senegal as a Fulbright Student Fellow. Jonars holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree in International Environmental Policy from Boston University.