Announcing the 2022 Alumni Award Winners

Marcela Andrea Márquez García wins Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Francisco X. Santeiro wins Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

Announcing the 2022 Alumni Award Winners

September 21, 2022

Since 2017, the UF Center of Latin American Studies recognizes two alumni whose service, leadership, and accomplishments in their respective fields positively reflect the goals, principles, and philosophy of the Center. The 2022 Outstanding Young Alumni Awardee is Marcela Andrea Márquez García (Tropical Conservation and Development certificate, 2017) and the 2022 Lifetime Achieve Alumni Awardee is Francisco X. Santeiro (Latin American Studies certificate, 1977).

Marcela Andrea Marquez GarciaMarcela Andrea Márquez García

Marcela Andrea Márquez García graduated UF in 2017 with a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology and graduate certificates in Tropical Conservation and Development and Environmental Education and Communication. Since her graduation, she has made major contributions to environmental conservation in her home country of Chile and the advancement of women in conservation across Latin America.

At the request of Chile’s Ministry of Environment, Dr. Márquez co-led multi-stakeholder processes to develop guidelines for an urban wetland law passed in July 2020. Her team developed sustainability criteria for the law while engaging diverse perspectives and stakeholders to ensure validity and acceptance. This achievement put into practice skills in conflict management and multi-stakeholder facilitation emphasized in the Center’s TCD program.

While at UF, Dr. Márquez co-founded the Women in Conservation Network, which she has since stewarded into a significant collaboration of women conservation professionals across Latin America. The network has several thousand members and offers workshops in numerous countries where members are present. Its objective to enhance collaborative networking among professional women, address issues faced by women scientists working in sustainability and environmental sciences, and build a collaborative network to empower and strengthen women’s impact in Latin American conservation. The recognition of Dr. Márquez’s leadership role in the network has led to several high-profile invitations, including the 2020 Gender Summit.

In addition to her leadership in the Women in Conservation Network, Dr. Márquez took lead in developing a key Environmental Education Center in Chile. As a member of the National Environmental Research Center Initiative on Invasive Species, she designed and led participatory processes for development of an Environmental Interpretation Center at Rio Cruces Wetland Center (Universidad Austral de Chile).

Dr. Márquez is also an active member and co-founder of Southern Cone of South America Chapter for Society of Conservation Biology, the leading professional society for conservation science and practice.  The Southern Cone chapter engages in public outreach, capacity building, education, professional networking, and public policy. Dr. Márquez leads workshops and roundtables at regional meetings.

Additionally, Dr. Márquez has designed workshops and survey instruments for the UK Joint Nature Commission to quantify ecosystem services that support sustainable wine production, an important industry for Chilean economy.  She has published six papers in leading international journals since 2016 – Biological Conservation, Fisheries, Environmental Conservation, Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, and Environmental Education Research.

Through her extensive accomplishments and environmental education and leadership in collaborative networks, Dr. Márquez exemplifies the standard of excellence of alumni from the Center for Latin American Studies and Tropical Conservation and Development Program, and is thus awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award for 2022.

Francisco X. SanteiroFrancisco X. Santeiro

Since graduating from the University of Florida in 1977 with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and a certificate in Latin American Studies, Mr. Francisco X. Santeiro has built a successful career as a skilled business leader working in Latin America and the Caribbean and contributed to his communities through advocacy and service.

With master’s degrees in international relations and business administration, Mr. Santeiro worked in international transportation and logistics for over 30 years. Thanks to his background in Latin American Studies, his cultural expertise and linguistic competence in the region provided the opportunity to advance within Latin America and Caribbean divisions at DHL and FedEx. He retired in 2019, finishing his career as Director of Government Affairs for FedEx’s Latin America and Caribbean Division. He is currently providing consulting and management services to CLADEC, the Latin America regional express industry association.

Mr. Santeiro’s career success is in part a result of the global competence skills imparted by area studies. His ability to communicate and negotiate in multicultural government and business environments is a key component to effecting positive results.

In addition to serving in numerous positions of leadership within his industry, Mr. Santeiro has been an active member of multiple boards and councils in his community, such as Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Sustainability, Environment and Energy Committee, United Way of Miami-Dade’s Impact Council for Older Adults & Health Impact Councils, and University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) Citizen Support Board.

Moreover, Mr. Santeiro has maintained an active relationship with the Center’s Latin American Business Environment program over the last 20 years, consistently serving as a guest speaker in classes, attending conferences, and consulting on curriculum. In 2021, he returned to the Center for a three-day event in which he counseled students on careers in international trade and logistics and gave feedback on CVs and job search materials. Mr. Santeiro volunteered his time for public talks, class discussions, and one-on-one meetings with business students for personalized guidance.

Through his exemplary career demonstrating the value of Latin American Studies in business, as well as his longstanding engagement with Center students, Mr. Santeiro exemplifies the standard of excellence of alumni from the Center for Latin American Studies, and is thus awarded the Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award for 2022.

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