Thesis (Ph.D., Environmental Science) -- University of Idaho, December 2014 | The following three chapters are a product of four years of hard work and extensive growth toward my PhD in Environmental Science from the Joint Doctoral Program of the University of Idaho and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica. As a fellow in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) I worked on an interdisciplinary team, which offered me a unique opportunity to explore many new disciplines, interdisciplinary areas and philosophical orientations. The angle that I took in my studies integrates insights from many disciplines and areas of practice, as I focused my studies on addressing complex problems, policy analysis, drinking water governance, and pedagogy. In each of the following three chapters I draw heavily from theoretical and philosophical discussions in the literature to develop an approach for analyzing and solving problems. Chapter one outlines my discovery of how personal practices in mindfulness and improvisation have profound insights for interdisciplinary education. Chapter two presents a policy analysis of rural drinking water management in the Turrialba region of Costa Rica, and is an example of the applied social science work that I aim to do. Chapter three is a reflection of four years of interdisciplinary teamwork, presenting an approach to identify and analyze issues of scale mis-fit in social-ecological systems. Together, these three chapters reflect my experiences in collaboration, interdisciplinarity, pedagogy and personal growth over the past four years.