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USU Geographer Receives Field Study Grant to Support Work in Mexico

Thursday, Jun. 06, 2013

USU graduate student Lis Green

USU graduate student Lisa Green is the recipient of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers' Oscar H. Horst Field Study Award. The competitive grant will support Green’s field research in Mexico this summer.

a woman ispects a jalapeno field

A woman inspects a field of jalapeño plants in southern Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. USU geographer and RGS Fellow Lisa Green travels to the region this summer on interview residents, mostly subsistence farmers, about their livelihood decisions.

Thanks to support from the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, Utah State University graduate student Lisa Green travels south of the border this summer to study the effects of climate change on semi-subsistence farming communities of southern Mexico.

“This area of research is new to me and it’s my first visit to Mexico, but I’m very excited to jump in and get started,” says Green, a geography master’s student in USU’s Department of Environment and Society.

Green is a recipient of CLAG’s prestigious Oscar H. Horst Field Study Award, a competitive $1,000 grant offered to graduate students to support costs of field work. Green, who is mentored by faculty member Claudia Radel, will spend the summer conducting field work in rural communities bordering the Yucatán Peninsula’s Calakmul Biosphere reserve.

“My research focuses on defining vulnerability to climate change and what that means for different members of these communities,” says Green, a recipient of USU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies Master’s Fellowship. “Some livelihoods, such as farming, are not as well suited to deal with climate change as others.”

The Alaska native will conduct in-depth interviews with household breadwinners, many of whom are women whose husbands have migrated to find work elsewhere. 

Radel, an associate professor of international development, political ecology and feminist geography, has long studied labor migration across international borders and its effect on gender roles and the environment. The recipient of a 2011 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant, she’s conducting a five-year study examining household decision-making in communities in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

A goal of the study, Radel says, is to understand how gender, agriculture and labor migration intersect with impacts on women's well-being.

“We’re seeking answers to many questions,” she says. “Among those are ‘How do men and women change their livelihood strategies in response to changes in their environment — both the biophysical environment and the political-economic environment? How do gender ideologies and practices shape those responses?’”

According to CLAG’s website, the Horst award honors the memory of geographer Oscar Heinz Horst, a professor at Western Michigan University from 1956 to 1987, who specialized in physical geography and conducted extensive research throughout Latin America.

Related links:

Contact: Claudia Radel, 435-797-0516,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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