August, 2005. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D) in Geography, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin. Dissertation: “Re-scaling the Commons.” A number of faculty mentors guided and supported my graduate education at the University of Texas. In particular I would like to thank Greg Knapp, Ken Young, Charlie Hale, Karl Offen, Rodrigo Sierra, Peter Dana, Diane Davis, and Julie Tuason.
August, 1999. Master of Arts (MA) in Latin American Studies, Concentrations in Natural Resource Management and Development Sociology, Tulane University. Thesis title: “Decentralization, Forest Use, and Indigenous Land Tenure in Nicaragua’s Northern Autonomous Region.” At Tulane University I was fortunate to work with J. Timmons Roberts and Alex Coles.
May, 1996. Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Environmental Studies, Concentration in Latin American Studies, University of Vermont. Honors thesis title: “Organizational and Survival Strategies of the Indigenous Widows of Guatemala’s Civil War.” Thanks to Jean Richardson, Leslie King, Carl Reidel, Ian Whorley, Stephanie Kaza, Laura McArthur, and Tom Hudspeth for starting me on this path.
Growing up in Vermont, the natural environment was always of central importance to me. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of wandering in the woods catching newts and sitting among the ferns whittling willow whistles. Today I am hugely appreciative of being brought up largely without television, which nurtured my love of reading. An enormous family garden, where I learned self-sufficiency skills, and my parents’ commitment to education, community, and international peace were important childhood influences.
I fell in love with international travel at the age of 14 and have been enamored with Latin America since I was 17, when I first visited Mexico and Guatemala. Awe for the passionate faculty members in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Vermont and an affinity for community service defined my undergraduate years. I am thankful to Volunteers for Peace, the Burlington-Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) Sister City Program, and the Nicaragua Network for the experiential education and organizational training I garnered in the 1990s. I also deeply appreciate learning for the past fifteen years from the people of Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region. Tenki pali. I met my husband, Elvis Teodoro Finley Masanto, in eastern Nicaragua in 1996. We have two daughters with boundless energy and inspiring joyeux de vivre.