Sangam Stanczak

Sangam Stanczak

Sangam Stanczak, One CommunityEnvironmental Engineer (Ph.D., P.E.), Life Coach (Dual Certified), Yoga Instructor, and Organic Gardener: Sangam’s passion to make a positive contribution to the world has been alive since she was 10 years old. Hope for and belief in world peace has burned strong her entire life. With a smile on her face, she has always remembered this dream.

Her formal education and professional experience is in environmental engineering, both applied and research. During her Ph.D., she researched sanitation and hygiene as applied to the underprivileged populations of Kenya and Ecuador. As a professional, she focused on potable, recycled, and wastewater applications in California. Her greatest contribution though was her work in rural Kenya. There, she helped locals build, use, and distribute simple sand filters to purify their water to reduce childhood diarrhea, one of the major causes of mortality in regions like theirs without access to safe drinking water.

Sangam is a natural hard-working optimizer who strives for efficiency and common sense, along with a sense of ease and flow. She has an ability to separate herself from personal agendas, which helps her see the big picture in complex situations. This helps her make unattached, objective assessments. She combines this in her personal and professional life with a passion for growing, improving, and striving to live a life that exemplifies love, respect, and fulfillment for all.

One Community is her life-long dream come true. Sangam wants to directly contribute to igniting world change. She dreams of helping people realize a better existence that honors and protects life-giving elements. Sangam is undeniably committed to this cause. This is the opportunity to join hands with remarkable people. She shares the group’s extraordinary dreams to awaken the essences of being human and using our drive to guide and transform the world towards Highest Good of All living. Sangam feels empowered and honored to be in this position, helping to design and build places where all who desire it will have the opportunity to serve humanity and its support system (nature, animal, and the earth as a whole) in a transparent and enlightened way.


December 2020 – Present

Sangam has been contributing to One Community since 2016 and formally became a pioneer in 2020. She has found great joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment while working towards the long-term goals of One Community. Over the years, she has contributed to a range of diverse topics (engineering, education, governance, etc.).



December 2017 – Present

This has been the most challenging experience in Sangam’s life so far. This experience has been a process of inner expansion as she has relinquished old intergenerational beliefs, along with other patterns that were ingrained during childhood.  She continues to embrace the fun and adventure that is the incredible opportunity to be a Mother to a beautiful, kind-hearted, intelligent, and inquisitive being.


  • Learning to stay calm with conviction
  • Being comfortable with all emotions and allowing them to flow
  • Practicing self-forgiveness so there is space and compassion to improve
  • Helping child feel safe emotionally and physically
  • Respecting yourself and child
  • Trusting child
  • Asking for and accepting help
  • Apologizing authentically
  • Creating win-win solutions
  • Adjusting perceptions to see situations more positively or neutrally
  • Calling upon innate ability to continually improve and re-pattern old behaviors that are not serving The Highest Good of All


October 2014 – Present

Sangam was exposed to yoga at a young age.  At age 9, she was voluntarily going to 6:30 am yoga classes. Her goal as a certified yoga instructor is to share healthy techniques for coping with today’s challenges and past traumas while optimizing this unique human experience. Within her yoga classes and teachings, Sangam uses yoga and positive messages to guide people towards a happier and more meaningful existence.


  • Uses positive affirmations and a loving, non-judgemental, safe, and sacred space for people to heal
  • People leave class with a fullness that carries into the world outside our yoga class. They leave filled with hope, love, passion, and drive. Their lights burn so brightly that they shed light upon even the darkest of places
  • Led a class for a company-wide meeting to successfully generate connection and camaraderie
  • Taught to trauma victims
  • Introduced the concept psychology and the human goals during each age range through a yoga series
  • Served as a substitute for two yoga studios and offered multiple workshops


January 2012 – February 2020

Sangam has been gardening as a means to connect with nature and appreciate the amazing and magical process of plants germinating and producing edible products. She supplements the soil with compost processed using hard-working black soldier flies.


  • Grew organic vegetables in planter boxes in small living spaces
  • Grew organic vegetables, strawberries, herbs, and edible grains and flowers on a 30′ x 30′ plot
  • Composted in small and large living spaces
  • Used all-natural means


October 2015 – February 2020

One of Sangam’s long-held dreams is to open a new school that takes more responsibility for children’s well being.  To support this interest in children, education, and the healing of intergenerational trauma, she substitute taught to learn about the current state of the educational system. 


  • Identified what is missing in current educational systems and how to deliver these missing elements
  • Substitute taught at over 10 schools, pre-school to 4th grade


April 2009 – June 2017

Sangam managed and assisted with novel projects to solve Southern California’s water shortage issues. She addressed desalination and advance treatment for water reuse, established and supervised the Trussell Technologies Laboratory, and assessed water treatment technologies for use by people lacking access to reliable, safe drinking water.


  • Studied the potential benefits of ozone as a pretreatment to the soil aquifer treatment process using soil columns
  • Evaluated and developed novel approaches to water filtration for 3.6 billion people lacking access to reliably safe drinking water in the developing world
  • Evaluated and developed novel approaches for an advanced water filtration technology
  • Completed bench-scale testing for a regional water supply project
  • Procured membranes and oversaw full-scale membrane bioreactor start-up
  • Evaluated advanced oxidative process treatment of high-temperature secondary water used as cooling water
  • Engaged in extensive fieldwork
  • Navigated technical challenges
  • Developed and validated a liquid-liquid extraction method to measure elemental sulfur
  • Conducted testing for a new membrane for membrane bioreactor processes
  • Contributed to the Water Reuse textbook (National Research Council. 2012. Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)
  • Tested an innovative ultraviolet light/hydrogen peroxide process for water reuse
  • Developed an occurrence study for planning and permitting to meet regulatory requirements for indirect potable reuse
  • Researched health criteria and regulations for the development of criteria for direct potable reuse that are protective of public health
  • Assembled, started up, and evaluated a skid to produce drinking water for the National Search Dog Foundation
  • Developed and led bench-scale testing for an ozone system upstream of the existing UV disinfection system to increase/regain disinfection capacity


September 2003 – August 2008

Sangam held multiple positions with different professors in the Environmental Engineering Department. She helped Kenyans gain access to improved drinking water using a household-level drinking water treatment unit with the aid of public health officials. Before leaving Kenya, she initiated a business enterprise consisting of local Kenyans to carry out the production of the treatment units. 


  • Managed students and Kenyans in an effort to develop and field-test the intermittently used biological slow sand filter to improve water quality and health in rural Kenya
  • Collected and processed stormwater samples using hollow fiber ultrafiltration systems; analyzed samples for microbial presence using quantitative and semi-quantitative polymerase chain reaction; developed protocols to analyze solids for the presence of pathogens
  • Designed curriculum and instructed graduate level students in the field of water quality analysis techniques
  • Graded homework assignments and tests for a water and wastewater design class
  • Conducted a microbial water quality analysis in Ecuador using both traditional and molecular techniques
  • Published articles in peer-reviewed journals:
      • McKenzie, Erica, Marion W. Jenkins, Sangya-Sangam K. Tiwari, Jeanie Darby, Wycliffe Saenyi and Charles Maina Gichaba (2013), In-home performance and variability of biosand filters treating turbid surface and rain water in rural Kenya. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 3(2): pp 189–198.
      • Jenkins M., Tiwari S., Lorente M., Gichaba C., Wuertz S. 2009. Identifying human and livestock sources of fecal contamination in Kenya with host-specific Bacteroidales assays. Water Res. 43:4956–4966.Tiwari, S., Jenkins, M., “Point-of-Use Treatment Options for Improving Household Water Quality Among Rural Populations in the River Njoro Watershed, Kenya.”  Research Brief 08-02-SUMAWA, GL-CRSP, Davis, CA, April, 2008
      • Marion W Jenkins, Sangam K Tiwari, Jeannie Darby (2011). Bacterial, viral and turbidity removal by intermittent slow sand filtration for household use in developing countries: experimental investigation and modeling. Water Research 45(18):6227-39.
      • Tiwari, Sangam, Schmidt, W.-P., Darby, J., Kariuki, Z. G. and Jenkins, M. W. (2009), Intermittent slow sand filtration for preventing diarrhoea among children in Kenyan households using unimproved water sources: randomized controlled trial. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 14: 1374–1382.
      • A. Cabaj, Ch. Chen, Th. Haider, B. Jiménez, K. O’Halloran, G. Hirschmann, Ch. Shang, H. Shuval, R. Sommer, S.K. Tiwari and R.R. Trussell (2012) “Disinfection”, Global Trends & Challenges in Water Science, A compendium of hot topics and features from IWA Specialist Groups.
  • Gave dozens of presentations


August 1998 – May 2002

Sangam held multiple positions for various professors in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department. Sangam was trusted within the department and served as a babysitter and house sitter for nearly all the professors.


  • Instructed students in Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Introduction to Design
  • Graded homework assignments and tests for Computational Methods I
  • Tutored students in Computational Methods I
  • Reorganized laboratory space to facilitate easy equipment access and prepared weekly water quality laboratory classes
  • Collected data from four enhancement marshes to determine seasonal trends and patterns for dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and conductivity
  • Provided clerical assistance to professors and helped organize the wetland workshop and conference
  • Clerical work as an International Student Intern with International English Language Institute
  • Student Assistant with the Office of Enrollment Management.


  • Schools on Wheels (2010-2011) – Provided homeless children tutoring services
  • Treasurer for Engineers Without Borders (2004-2005) – Designed sanitation facilities and other lifestyle improvements in Guatemala
  • Pravah, an NGO in India (2002-2004) – Led various environmental projects to sustain cleanliness in India
  • Campaign for a Clean Ganga (2002-2003) – Aided with various projects to clean River Ganga, including raising community awareness of environmental issues and studying non-point source contamination
  • Society of Women Engineers (2000-2002) – Promoted women in engineering through outreach events to demonstrate engineering principles and service learning projects
  • Environment Resources Engineering Newsletter (2001) – Edited and authored the newsletter
  • Mother Earth’s little Helpers (1990-1992) – At age 10, Sangam and two friends raised money to do good deeds, like adopt an abused chimpanzee and buy rainforest land to secure its preservation


Sangam Stanczak, mother, Environmental Engineer (Ph.D., P.E.), Yoga Instructor, Organic Gardener, One Community Pioneer


I had an unconventional childhood, to say the least. I was born in a tiny village in India that even today has no electricity. Bethar cradles my first memory… I must have been nearly 4, my grandmother was on all fours curing the floor with a liquidly brown-green mixture, comprised mostly of cow dung. That might sound repulsive, but in the village cow dung had many purposes, including, in its dried form, fuel to cook all our meals. The cow dung in Bethar has a fresh smell, because the cows are fed all natural foods, free of hormones, and treated well. Cows are ‘sacred’ in India, but in Bethar they are respected and appreciated, as well as worshipped.

The days in Bethar ended with drinking warm, sweetened cow milk – milked just earlier that day. We used a cylindrical stove, made of ceramic with a notch out of it to replenish the fire with dried dung patties. The milk carefully warmed in a simple stainless steel pot. The smell comforted, warmed, and nourished me. I remember waiting eagerly just outside the kitchen under the stars. The homes in the village were all designed similarly. There were rooms all around the edge, making a square and a large open courtyard in the center, each room opening into this courtyard. I savored the love filled cup – my grandmother put her soul into everything she did.

My father moved us to Nepal in 1984, when I was 4. I lived in Nepal for the next 4 years, initially living at home and then in boarding school. My family befriended many foreign visitors. Among them was an American woman with whom I connected instantly and spent lots of time with. Thinking back, I am not sure how we communicated since I didn’t know English and she didn’t know Hindi. She asked my parents multiple times to bring me with her to America so I could get a better education, learn American English and return home to help my family with the business. When I was 8, my mother reluctantly agreed. I remember being excited for the adventure. Once I arrived, the American woman ended up asking her daughter and son-in-law to be my guardians (people that were strangers to me and my parents).

My desire to ‘save’ the world, to do something grand, emerged when I was 10 years old heading to Yosemite National Park. I recall outlining my plan to open a hospital in India that was free to all in need. It would be a place where the homeless could thrive and those without money could receive services. I saw a lot of sadness and financial disparity in India that touched me deeply. I knew I was privileged and didn’t understand why we couldn’t all have it all – our resources are not that limited, especially when it comes to basic needs. Delivering basic needs would not contribute significantly to mounting detriments. It became innately important to me to contribute to something greater than myself – a desire to leave this amazing place better than how I entered it.

I spent my early years not quite fitting in – first a stranger in the strange land of Nepal in boarding school, then even more of a stranger when I moved to America and had to live with strangers. These early years were spent feeling misplaced, desperately wanting to be found and loved. Childhood trauma that continued into my teens also skewed my sense of self. As a child and as an adult, I looked healthy and accomplished on the outside, but on the inside I was consumed by shame, guilt, and a heart wrenching sense of zero self-worth, no spirit, and no motivating life force. Even as lost as I felt, I still had a drive to do something for the world, as well as feeling pressure to continue my education to be a good example for my younger sisters and cousins. 

I followed my pseudo dream and devoted college years and my first career to environmental engineering. My intent was to provide better sanitation for the underprivileged populations. I ended up spending my professional years working on potable, recycled, and wastewater as applied to the privileged population. I buried myself in work thinking this would bring gratifying rewards. It did in some subtle ways but not inner peace.

At age 33, I unknowingly enrolled in a life-long journey of personal development. I started seeing an amazing therapist and began doing a type of yoga that shined a light on my purest form. This process began to change my brain, my habits, my automatic tendencies. I quickly released a huge amount of intergenerational traumas that had been passed down to me. I was introduced to self-love and was able to let go of tremendous shame that I was holding onto from childhood trauma. Most importantly and best of all, my desire to make the most of the unique human experience was re-ignited. 

A few years later, my friend and I were in the process of rethinking the school system and opening our own school that would integrate real-life skills. We envisioned more focus on skills such as being financially responsible, connecting what we learn to real-life applications, engaging in lifelong learning, compassionate communication, and holding the space for world peace. We wanted to provide strategies to teachers, parents, and students that help them realize their innate potential, happiness, and true fulfillment so as to create stable internal and external landscapes. We wanted to provide an environment that raised a generation of children that had a sense of personal and social responsibility. I began my efforts by confirming that something like this didn’t already exist and if it did, I wanted to leverage that rather than start from scratch.

During this research phase, I found One Community’s Highest Good Education webpage. I contacted Jae because the content was perfectly aligned with (and went beyond) my own vision. After understanding what stage One Community was at, I joined the team as a volunteer at the end of 2016.

In 2017, my daughter Lilah was born. As a first-time parent, I had an idealistic image of what motherhood would be like and what kind of mother I would be. Being amazing with children was my talent, but I was at a loss as to why this gift was difficult to apply towards my own child. Having faced a number of challenges and, now, 3 years later, I am just beginning to fully emerge as the mother I want to be and had imagined being. 

I continue to grow and reframe my perceptions, many of them filtered through old experiences that did not come from a loving place. Growing up with caretakers that were volatile and over-reactive has led me to actively seek ways to overcome this inherited behavior in myself. Lilah is pure and keeps opening me up to be a better person and to heal this intergenerational trauma. It brings me great joy to know all of this clearing paves the way for Lilah and her offspring to have an even more promising and fulfilling future. I take this approach: “do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

I feel beyond excited at the prospect of One Community and being among people taking world-changing actions. I am passionate about plans to leave areas left to nature, so we can learn from nature and honor it. I feel sincere relief and gratitude for the opportunity to put my energy and the remainder of my life towards this pledge to bring to life a living example of peace, unity, and stewardship for The Highest Good of All. This is the guiding compass I feel the world needs. This is how inner peace, family peace, community peace, and ultimately world peace can prevail.

One Community