2017 Marianne Schmink Outstanding Dissertation Award

2017 Marianne Schmink Outstanding Dissertation Award

January 11, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Thaissa Sobreiro is the 2017 winner of the Marianne Schmink Outstanding Dissertation Award from UF’s Tropical Conservation and Development Program. Dr. Sobreiro received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology in 2016 from the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) program under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Perz.

Dr. Sobreiro’s dissertation, entitled “Indigenous mobilization and multi-local livelihood strategies in the Middle Rio Negro, northwestern Brazilian Amazon,” was considered an excellent match with the Marianne Schmink Outstanding Dissertation Award. For her dissertation research, Thaissa studied how spatial mobility and increased rural-urban relations affect indigenous community political mobilization and sustainable livelihood strategies at different scales in the Brazilian Amazon. She focused her work in the municipality of Barcelos in the state of Amazonas where she had been conducting work since 2005. The region is one of the most conserved in the Brazilian Amazon and is home to more than 20 indigenous ethnic groups. Thaissa’s research drew from work on social movements, rural household livelihoods, natural resource management and rural-urban migration to understand the interactions between indigenous mobility, political mobilization and livelihood strategies. Her work cut across scales (household, municipality, region) providing a new perspective on the importance of indigenous urban networks in strengthening political organization, increasing sustainable livelihood options and influencing natural resource management.

The selection committee was particularly impressed with the extensive fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon undertaken by Thaissa, which highlighted both challenges and opportunities in mixed-use high biodiversity areas. The committee was also impressed with the strong interdisciplinarity of the work and found it to be particularly timely and relevant, and was not only of high-quality scholarship but also addressed the needs of local stakeholders.

Thaissa is currently working as a Research Scientist at Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a major socio-environmental NGO in Brazil. Specifically, she is working on an intercultural research project related to participatory climate and environment monitoring by indigenous researchers.  She brings her scholar-practitioner skills and years of professional experience working with local communities to her new position.

The Selection Committee was composed of TCD faculty Dr. Eben Broadbent (School for Forest Resources and Conservation) and Dr. John Blake (Wildlife Ecology and Conservation) and Richard Wallace (TCD Alumnus, California State University).

The TCD program at the Center for Latin American Studies congratulates Dr. Sobreiro on her selection as the 2017 recipient of the Marianne Schmink Outstanding Dissertation Award!