My name is Elena Pérez and I was a 2017-2018 #Fulbright #Research Grantee in #Galápagos, #Ecuador! I’m Mexican American, born and raised in Los Angeles County, #California. In undergrad I majored in American Literature, and while working for a nonprofit that provides financial education to the public I recognized a link between cutting costs and reducing one’s carbon footprint. In order to better understand and convey the sciences to the public, I obtained a master’s in Marine Conservation from @scripps_ocean @scrippsmasmbc at UCSD. My diverse background has allowed me to see the interconnected nature of science, economics, policy, and communities and I have since gained experience addressing #climatechange impacts, promoting #coastal #resilience, and furthering meaningful public #engagement and #environmentaljustice.

My research project focused on addressing marine plastic pollution in the Galápagos, while also connecting the locals of San Cristóbal, Galápagos, with the research and conservation efforts conducted on the island. I not only collaborated with researchers to share scientific information with locals, but also gained valuable insight from the #local #community and aimed to incorporate local perspectives into #conservation efforts. The Fulbright experience solidified my belief that the most robust #solutions are #inclusive.

Fun fact: I didn’t realize people could conduct research as a profession until I befriended a scientist after undergrad! Though I took oceanography and air pollution classes to further my understanding of these topics, I still thought only doctors studied the sciences. I also didn’t know about #Fulbright until after obtaining my masters! Inspired by @fulbrightnoir, Vanessa Diaz @designobsesswithvaness and I want to highlight the Fulbright #achievements of #LatinX #scholars and encourage more LatinX scholars to apply for the grant! I believe #exposure to different experiences and unheard-of opportunities broadens our horizons — the application process alone provides you with the opportunity to think about your own trajectory and articulate your future goals! We hope LatinX candidates will be able to #identify with the #diverse and #vibrant Fulbright LatinX community and recognize the value of their own #unique #perspectives and personal #insight.

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