Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I have always been interested in the environment and nature. As a result, I completed a B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico, analyzing the hydrologic impacts of development projects in a small watershed of Río Guaynabo through a time-series analysis of satellite images. Interested to combine environmental studies with community engagement, I moved to the field of aGeography. My work as a Master’s student looked at the social and environmental impacts that could follow the construction of a national road in southern Guyana, area home to the Makushi indigenous communities. Able to return to Puerto Rico after my studies, I worked with the International Institute of Tropical Forestry of the U.S. Forest Service as a researcher. My work looked at the future impacts of sea level rise and global warming on the coasts of Puerto Rico, specifically on coastal ecosystems and population centers. Lastly, as a researcher in the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, I worked in the Mapa de Vida project, and initiative that brings together scientists and volunteers from around the island to learn about different ecosystems, the problems they currently face, and how to minimize impacts.

photo of Marla Torrado Fernandez