Sylvia Cifuentes

Graduate Student
PhD Cohort 2015


Sylvia studied both Liberal Arts and Economics in her undergraduate studies at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of social issues such as development, the political processes both in Latin America and globally, and how different cultures around the world interact with the so called “global culture.” To complement her studies, Sylvia continued her graduate studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) with an MSc degree in Environment and Development, in addition to studying at Johns Hopkins University in a Certificate Program related to Public Health.

Sylvia´s research and work experiences are closely related to the topics of Development and the Environment. She has worked at the UK Parliament on a research project about the social determinants of Tuberculosis in London. For her Master’s dissertation, she investigated the relationship between Political Parties and environmental policies in Ecuador. After finishing her Master’s degree, she joined the Program “Climate Change Sociology”, at Universidad Austral de Chile, which looked at the territorialization of climate change policy in Southern Chile; participating directly in a research project about water scarcity and climate change through qualitative field research in coastal localities.

Before joining UCSB as a PhD student, Sylvia worked as a UN Volunteer/Technical Analyst of Environment and Energy projects at the United Nations Development Program in Ecuador; dealing with climate change, forests (REDD+), energy and international waters (GEF) projects. She has also been involved in the training of volunteers in the Natural Resource Conservation and Community Health Programs at Peace Corps Ecuador. Previously, she worked at FESAR, a public health NGO, with development projects, advocating, and making research accessible for policy change; and at Yellowstone National Park, an example of how development can coexist with nature sustainably.

Regarding her current research interests, she would like to analyze how economic development relates to global environmental changes and to human development. For example, in the case of developing countries, she is interested to examine how growth oriented policies promoted by governments or other institutions, influence global environmental changes such as deforestation, pollution or climate change; and, at the same time, impact –positively or negatively- on people’s wellbeing.


Teaching Assistant (S'16): GLOBL 1 - Global History, Culture and Ideology

Teaching Assistant (F'16): GLOBL 130 - Global Economy and Development

Teaching Assistant (W'17): GLOBL 130 - Global Economy and Development

Teaching Assistant (S'17): GLOBL 130 - Global Economy and Development

Teaching Assistant (W'18): GLOBL 161 - Global Environmental Policy and Politics