Meet TWRI's newest staff members

The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) continues to grow in the new year with four additional members joining the team.

Marisa Collura began in late January, and is a program specialist II, leading and supporting various watershed management programs on a statewide basis. Also part of the monitoring team, she gathers and assesses watershed data to help further our understanding of current water quality and quantity conditions in Texas.

Collura received her bachelor’s from Texas A&M University in forestry and ecological restoration, along with her master’s in ecology and conservation biology. She has previously worked as a forester for over four years within the government and Harris County. Her field expanded from working as a silviculturist to being an urban forester.

Samantha Murray joined the team as a geospatial analyst for TWRI at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas at the beginning of February. As a geospatial analyst, she utilizes her expertise in spatial data analysis, GIS mapping, spatial modeling and remote sensing. Her work actively contributes to projects that focus on urban hydrology, impacts of climate change on water infrastructure, stormwater management and the design and planning of green stormwater infrastructure.

Prior to joining TWRI, Murray obtained her master’s in natural resource ecology and management, with a focus in forestry from Oklahoma State University in 2023. After receiving her bachelor’s in bioenvironmental science from Texas A&M University in 2016, she worked as a laboratory technician in a North Texas water municipality. Murray's professional expertise and interests include water quality monitoring programs for watersheds and drinking water, natural resource sustainability, environmental education and community engagement.

A familiar face at the institute, Ward Ling rejoined the water team in February. As a program specialist for TWRI, Ling assists stakeholders with the development and implementation of watershed-based plans. He is interested in developing ways to increase stakeholder engagement, which will lead to long-term sustainability and overall success of the projects.

Previously, Ling served for over 10 years as the watershed coordinator for the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed and the Mill Creek Watershed, where he assisted stakeholders with the development and implementation of their watershed protection plans.  Ling also previously worked on the total maximum daily load team at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where he managed projects focused on restoring water quality, and at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Tina Hendon is the newest face at the institute, starting mid-February. As a program specialist for TWRI, she assists in developing watershed-based plans and delivering educational programs for watershed and water quality improvement.

Hendon has worked in water and natural resource protection at the local, regional and federal levels for over 30 years. Her experience includes applied research on land management impacts to water quality, management of regional watershed planning initiatives, administration of various Clean Water Act programs, and building partnerships toward common environmental goals. She earned a bachelor of science in biology from Tarleton State University. She is active with the National Watershed Coalition, Texas Association of Watershed Sponsors, Texas Riparian Association, and the USDA-NRCS Texas State Technical Advisory Committee - Water Resources Subcommittee.


Cameron Castilaw is a communication specialist at the Texas Water Resources Institute. She works with the communications team to create social media content, write for TWRI’s various platforms and print projects, and find new ways to inform people of TWRI’s mission and programs.

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