Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight Dr. Avecita del Carmen Chicchon

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Center for Latin American Studies is shining a spotlight on Tropical Conservation and Development alumna, Dr. Avecita del Carmen Chicchón.

Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight Dr. Avecita del Carmen Chicchon

October 1, 2018

Dr. Chicchón graduated from the University of Florida where she participated in the interdisciplinary Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program from the Center for Latin American Studies. In December 2017, as recognition for her outstanding achievements, Dr. Chicchón was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Florida.

Dr. Chicchón earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Florida. Her career encompasses over 25 years of innovative work in natural resource use, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, where she has guided the design of major conservation initiatives. Currently, Dr. Chicchón leads the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Andes Amazon Initiative. Below is our interview with Dr. Chichón.

Avecita and Gustavo 2
Dr. Chicchón, center left, during the UF Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony.
Can you tell us about your current position and how it relates to Latin America?

I am the Director of the Andes Amazon Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Our initiative focuses on consolidating protected areas and indigenous lands across the Amazon for biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and securing ecological processes to mitigate climate change. Currently, we work in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.

What aspect of your career have you enjoyed the most?

What I have enjoyed the most is developing partnerships to conserve nature that have resulted in new protected areas, and to provide alternatives for sustainable development for local peoples across Latin America.

How did the TCD program and the Center help you prepare for your career?

The Center helped me prepare for my career in two fundamental ways. One was learning the basic and critical tools of conservation with an interdisciplinary perspective, and the second was by helping me develop a network across Latin America that only a place like Florida can provide. I have traveled across Latin America in different capacities and I have always found a UF graduate in a key position that has helped facilitate my work.

What would you most encourage students to take away from their experience at the Center for Latin American Studies?

Students at the moment are facing a rapidly changing world. I think it is important to be curious, keep an open mind, learn all the tools the University of Florida provides, and apply them to their work. They need to focus on the goal of their career. It won’t be easy, but it is very important to do the work and adapt even though they will find obstacles along the way.

To learn more about our alumni, head over to the Alumni News and Notes page!

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