Student Field Study Award Recipients

The Conference of Latin American Geography (CLAG) provides opportunities to compete for CLAG Student Field Study Awards. Each year CLAG confers named awards at the Ph.D. level (Bernard Nietschmann, Robert C. West, and James J. Parsons awards) and at the master's level (Clarissa Kimber, William M. Denevan, and Oscar Horst awards). These awards are intended to support graduate student members of CLAG in their thesis or dissertation research in Latin America or concerning the Latin American diaspora. The awards are not intended to cover all fieldwork costs, but rather to assist students working towards the Master's degree or Ph.D. in their field and/or archival research in Latin America. Awardees much complete a final Field Report.

2021 PhD Awards

Hernán Bianchi Benguria, University of Toronto
Social and ecological dimensions of lithium extraction in the Atacama Salt Flat

Andrea Cabrera Roa, Clark University
Present Absences and Defiant Places of Protection for Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and Initial Contact in the Peruvian Amazon

Judy (Dayna) Cueva Alegría, University of Kentucky
Water Pollution Governance in Lake Titicaca: Creating Political Spaces of Democratization

Ingrid Diaz-Moreno, UNC Chapel Hill
Working Women: A Feminist Geography of Oil-Palm Plantations in Colombia

Anisa Kline, The Ohio State University
Uncounted and Invisible: the lives and health of H-2A workers in Ohio

Elena Louder, University of Arizona
Renewing Injustice? A multi-scalar examination of solar energy development in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Ruchi Patel, Penn State University
Nature-based tourism, development, and change on El Salvador’s Bálsamo Coast

Vivian Rodríguez-Rocha, Penn State University
Counter-topographies of care: caring activism in the movement for women’s lives in Mexico

2021 Masters Awards

Alejandra Acuna Balbuena, University of New Mexico
Situated discourses of environmental injustice surrounding waste management in Asuncion, Paraguay

James (Dennis) Baldwin, University of Texas at Austin
The Enigma of Ancient Maya Subsistence: New Approaches to an Archaeological Paradox

Mehrnush (Nushy) Golriz, UCLA
Managing Difference: Inequalities in Boa Vista’s Migrant Shelters

Courtney Mathers, University of Denver
Soil quality indicators related to soil resilience: How to better inform climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in Maya milpa management

Mina Moscatelli, University of Wyoming
Bamboo and smallholder livelihoods in the coastal region of Manabí, Ecuador

Sophie Williams, University of Alabama
Quantifying human impacts on cayes in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Belize

2020 PhD Awards

Samuel Brandt, University of California Los Angeles
Philanthropy, Housing and Sense of Place in Rural Uruguay

Alicia Danze, University of Texas, Austin
Mapping the Breakdown in Immigration Court Infrastructure

Karen Hudlet Vazquez, Clark University
Mexico's Contested Renewable Energy Justice Imaginaries

Mirella Pretell, Syracuse University
Beyond the oil pipeline: environmental injustices in Norther Peruvian Amazon

Alana Rader, Rutgers University
Beyond the degradation narrative: Dynamics of tropical forest regeneration and land use in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Mexico

Brett Spencer, Louisiana State University
Fire Down Below: Urban Mobilization and Miskitu Autonomy

2020 Masters Awards

Anika Rice, University of Wisconsin - Madison
A Feminist Political Ecology of Gendered Knowledge in Guatemalan Agroecology

Patricia Schwartz, University of Arizona
Water into Wine? Power and Politics in Export Agriculture Under Drought

Elizabeth Shebell, McGill University
Consolidating the frontier: Social housing and rural land concentration in the Argentine Chaco

2019 PhD Awards

Ainhoa Mingolarra Garaizar, Syracuse University
Transboundary Water Governance in the Masacre Watershed (Haiti and the DR). Preliminary Research in the Haitian side [ report - post ]

Akemi Inamoto Orellana, Syracuse University
Gender and Environmental Governance at the Intersection of Climate Change and Neoliberalization: Rice Farmers in Tolima, Colombia [ report - post ]

Caroline Tracey, UC Berkeley
“The Soul Will Fly Home of its Own Accord” 1 Postmortem Infrastructure and the New Geography of Migrant Death [ report - post ]

Audrey Denvir, University of Texas at Austin
Avocado in Mexico and Peru: A Global Commodity Chain Analysis [ report - post ]

Anais Zimmer, University of Texas at Austin
Future of Periglacial Landscape: Alpine Ecosystems and Deglaciation in the Tropical Andes and French Alps [ report - post ]

Talia Mills, Kings College of London
Gender and Violence on the Move: Urban Violence Induced Displacement Among Central American Adolescent Women Along the Journey to Southern Mexico. [ report - post ]

Megan Mills-Novoa, University of Arizona
After Adaptation: A Multi-Scalar Study of Climate Change Adaptation Projects in Ecuador [ report - post ]

Leila Donn,University of Texas at Austin
New machine-learning computer program to find and study caves, karst, and climate in the Guatemalan tropical forest of the Maya Lowlands [ report - post ]

2019 Masters Awards

Dena Coffman, University of Toronto
Urban Climate Adaptation in Iquitos, Peru [ report - post ]

Jamie Gagliano, Syracuse University
Intergenerational mobilization, agroecology and soy: The case of Paraguay’s Conamuri [ report - post ]

Thomas Saleh, University of Toronto
Land, Water, and Development in the Rupununi, Guyana [ report - post ]

2018 PhD Awards

Benjamin Fash, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
Networked Community Economies as Alternatives to Extractivism in Honduras, in Copán, Honduras. [ report - post ]

Christopher Lesser, PhD Student, Geography, UC Berkeley
Forests for the English to See? The Invisible Ecologies of Brazilian Forest Legislation (1850-2017), in Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, Brazil. [ report - post ]

Danielle Langworthy, PhD Student, Geography and the Environment, University of Denver
Continuity and Change in Nicaragua: How Land Insecurity is Perpetuated through Tourism-Based Land-Grabbing, in Gigante, Nicaragua. [ report - post ]

Taylor Tappan, PhD Candidate, Deptartment of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas
Slash-and-Burn? Gauging Cabécar Subsistence Agriculture vs. Forest Conservation Agendas in Costa Rica, in Alto Chirripó, Costa Rica. [ report - post ]

Clare Beer, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, UCLA
Nationalizing Nature: Conservation, Economy, and Chile’s Route of Parks Project, in Patagonia, Chile. [ report - post]

2018 Masters Awards

Chelsea Leven, Masters Student, Department of Society and Conservation, University of Montana
Mapping system dynamics for resilience amidst volcanic hazards on Ometepe, Nicaragua. [ report - post ]

Ruchi Patel, Masters Student, Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University
(De-)Constructing conservation corridors in human landscapes of the Mesoamerican dry tropics, in Departments of Rivas and Granada, Nicaragua. [ report - post ]

Caroline Kamm, Masters Student, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
Mitigating Risk in Rural Development: Local Food Networks in Jalisco, Mexico. [ report - post ]

Preston McLaughlin, Masters Student, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas Austin.
Quantifying Runoff and Erosion Rates of Unpaved Roads in Culebra, Puerto Rico. [ report - post ]

Min Kue (Philip) Son, Masters Student, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
Gender and Mining Conflicts in Uchucarco, Peru. [ report - post ]

2017 PhD Awards

Nikolai Alvarado, PhD Student, Department of Geography, University of Denver.
Migrant Politics in the Global South City: The Political Strategies of Nicaraguan Migrants to Secure Housing and Basic Services in the Urban Informal Settlement of La Carpio, in San José, Costa Rica. [ report - post ]

Carlos Dobler Morales, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University.
Climate change meets the land-sparing/sharing debate: a study of droughts and land-use segregation in the Southern Yucatan, - post ]

Sisimac Duchicela, PhD Student, Department of Geography and the Environment, UT-Austin.
Ecological Restoration as a Means for Alternative Development in the Ecuadorian Andes Northwest Andean mountain range, Ecuador. [ report - post ]

Araby Smyth, PhD student, University of Kentucky.
Gender and Remittances: Lived experiences of women in Oaxaca, Mexico. [ report - post ]

Samantha M. Krause, PhD Candidate: Department of Geography and the Environment, UT Austin.
Wetland Agroecoystems in the Maya Lowlands: LiDAR and Multi-Proxy Environmental Change. [ report - post ]

Caroline Parks, PhD Student, Department of Geography, University of Florida.
The Changing Dynamics between Smallholders and Ranchers in Agrarian Reform Settlements in the South of Pará. report - post ]

2017 Masters Awards

Brenna Sweetman, Masters Student, Geography, University of Alabama.
Analysis of Water Quality in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize: a case study of human impacts on a diverse and critical marine landscape, Punta Gorda, Belize. report - post ]

Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz, Masters Student, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona.
Co-Producing Healing in Post-Conflict Guatemala: a Case Study, Guatemala City, Guatemala. [ report - post ]

Jennifer Langhill, Masters Student, Department of Geography and Planning and the School of the Environment, University of Toronto
Gendered Experiences of Climate Change: Coping with High Flooding in the Peruvian Amazon, Department of Ucayali, Peru. [ report - post ]

Sara Eshleman, Masters Student, Geography, UT-Austin.
Mechanisms for the distribution of Cohune Palm, Orange Walk District, Belize. report - post ]


Bernard Nietchmann Ph. D. award:
Seth Denizen, University of California at Berkeley
The Vertical Geopolitics of 42 Centimeters in Iztapalapa, Mexico City
Advisor: Michael Watts

Robert B. West Ph. D. award:
Diana Denham, Portland State University
Traditional markets in an era of supermarketization: A case study of Mexico's tianguis
Advisor: Nathan McClintock

James J. Parsons Ph.D. award:
Rebecca McMillan, University of Toronto
Coproducing the state? Water, participation, and justice in Venezuela
Advisor: Scott Prudham

Bernard Nietchmann Ph.D. award:
Elizabeth Tellman, Arizona State University
Clandestine transactions and land use change: The consequences of clientelism in Mexico City and cocaine transit in Central America
Advisor: Billie Lee Turner II

Robert C. West Ph.D. award:
Laurel Bellante, University of Arizona
Dispossession through ‘Double Exposure’: The Struggle for Farmer Autonomy in the Face of Climate Change and Neoliberalism
Advisor: Tracey Osborne

James J. Parsons Ph.D. award:
Gabriel Granco, Kansas State University
Modeling land change dynamics of sugarcane to predict Cerrado biodiversity vulnerability
Advisor: Marcellus Caldas

Clarissa Kimber M.A. award:
Emilie Schur, University of Arizona
Reimagining water security: The case of two colonias across the U.S.-Mexico border
Advisor: Margaret Wilder

William M. Donovan M.A. award:
Blaise Murphy, University of Denver
Terracing, Land Management, and Agricultural Soils in the Andagua Valley of the Southern Peruvian Andes
Advisor: J. Michael Daniels


Bernard Nietchmann Ph. D. award:
Valiente Soto, University of Arizona
Witnessing and dealing with the effects of drug-related violence in northwest Mexico  [ report ]
Advisor: Jeffrey Banister

James J. Parsons Ph. D. award:
Sarah Kelly-Richards, University of Arizona
Conflicts unresolved: An institutional ethnography of Chilean water governance [ report ]
Advisor: Carl Bauer

Robert B. West Ph. D. award:
Hector Agredano, CUNY Graduate Center
Rails to revolution: Railroads, railroad workers and geographies of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 [ report ]
Advisor: James Biles

William M. Genevan M. A. award:
Nicholas Kotlinksi, University of Kansas
Oil palm development in the Peruvian Amazon: Reading conflicting views [ report ]
Advisor: Chris Brown

Oscar Horst M. A. award:
Noah Silber-Coats, University of Arizona
Territories of adaptation: Contested spaces of climate change in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental [ report ]
Advisor: Diana Liverman

Clarissa Kimber M. A. award:
Emma J. Lawlor, University of Arizona
A debated sickness: Framings of disease, agro-labor, and sugarcane in Central America [ report ]
Advisor: Margaret Wilder


Bernard Nietschmann Ph. D. award:
Gary LaVanchy, University of Denver
Water Resources and Tourism Development along the Western Coast of Nicaragua: A Political Ecology Perspective
Advisor: Matthew Taylor

2013 James J. Parsons Ph. D. award:
Christopher Hartmann, Ohio State University
Governing Health and Managing Garbage in Managua, Nicaragua
Advisor: Becky Mansfield

2013 Robert B. West Ph. D. award:
Teresa Bornschlegl, Clark University
Environmental Law Enforcement and the Possibilities for Socio-ecological Justice in the Hydro-carbon sector in Ecuador
Advisor: Anthony Bebbington

2013 William M. Denevan M. A. award:
Richard Johnson, University of Arizona
Debt Landscapes: Migration, Loan Default, and Landuse Change in Rural Guatemala
Advisor: Elizabeth Oglesby

2013 Oscar Horst M. A. award:
Lisa Green, Utah State University
Climate Change Vulnerability in Calakmul, Mexico
Advisor: Claudia Radel

2013 Clarissa Kimber M. A. award:
Jared Van Ramshorst, San Diego State University
Spaces of Possibility: Transnational Networks in Oaxaca, Mexico
Advisor: Fernando Bosco

2012 Bernard Nietschmann Ph. D. award:
Zoe Pearson, Ohio State State University
The War against Coca: Grounding the Impacts of Drug Control Policy in Bolivia
Advisor: Kendra McSweeney

2012 James J. Parsons Ph. D. award:
Alex Sphar, Clark University
Industrial Policy, Ideas, & Institutional Change in Brazil
Advisor: James T. Murphy

2012 Robert B. West Ph. D. award:
Tammy Elwell, University of California, Santa Barbara
Reconciling Marine Conservation with Livelihood Development
Advisor: David López-Carr

2012 William M. Denevan M. A. award:
Nikolai Alvarado, University of Denver
Impacts on Small-scale and Subsistance Fisheries of Tourism Development and Conservation Schemes
Advisor: Matthew Taylor

2012 Oscar Horst M. A. award:
Catherine Jampel, Penn State University
How Bears become "problems": Understanding Human-Bear-Cattle Relations in the Northern Ecuadorian Andes
Advisor: Melissa Wright

2012 Clarissa Kimber M. A. award:
Niki von Hedemann, University of Arizona
Communities and Carbon: Evaluating Opportunity and Access in the Guatemalan Highlands
Advisor: Tracey Osborne

2011 Bernard Nietschmann Ph. D. award:
Adrienne Johnson, Clark University
Multi-stakeholder Institutions and the Governance of Sustainability: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Ecuador
Advisor: Anthony Bebbington

2011 James J. Parsons Ph. D. award:
Sean Tanner, Rutgers University
Projects and Progress: Becoming NGO client subjects in northern Guatemala
Advisor: Kevin St. Martin

2011 Oscar Horst M. A. award:
Cheryl Hagevik, Appalachian State University
Mapping Bolivia's socio-political climate: Evaluation of multivariate strategies
Field Report
Advisors: Christopher Badurek, Kathleen Schroeder

2010 Ph. D. award:
Emma Mullaney, Pennsylvania State University
The Contentious Politics of Corn: Conflicting Agro-Economic Narratives in Mexico's Central Highlands
Advisor: Karl Zimmerer

2010 Ph. D. award:
Manuel Prieto, The University of Arizona
The legal construction of water and the Atacameños of the Loa River Basin (Chile)
Advisor: Carl J. Bauer

2010 M. A. award:
Jessica Long, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Making ends meet: understanding spatial and economic aspects of forest dependence in indigenous Iquito communities in the Peruvian Amazon
Advisor: Lisa Naughton-Treves

2009 Ph. D. award:
David Tecklin, The University of Arizona
Private environmental governance in Chile: conflict and adaptive institution building for fish, forests and water
Advisor: Carl J. Bauer

2009 M. A. award:
Tammy Elwell, University of California, Santa Barbara
How has Fisheries Management Affected the Livelihoods of Artisanal Shellfish Harvesters in Chile's Lakes Region?
Advisor: Stuart Sweeney

2008 Ph. D. award:
Amy Lerner, University of California, Santa Barbara
Peri-urbanization in Central Mexico: Implications for rural household livelihoods and land-use
Advisor: Hallie Eakin

2008 M. A. award:
Will Anderson, San Diego State University
Korean Transnational Migration to Guatemala: An Exploration of Maquila Connections, Social Exclusion, and Urban Insecurity
Advisor: Fernando J. Bosco