Gabriela ‘Gaby’ Alberola is originally from Panama City, Panama, where her passion for environmental and social justice was born. For her undergraduate research at the University of Panama, she conducted a botanical inventory of a forest community in the Parque Nacional Volcán Barú to support efforts to protect the forest from expansive development. This work marked the beginning of a life-long career that leverages science and activism to promote equitable and sustainable environmental management. During her master’s in Watershed Science and Policy at California State University, Monterey Bay, Gaby conducted applied research on the politics of hydropower dams, and worked on topics related to their environmental, social, and human costs. For her master’s in Political Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she focused on how mining and other extractive industries impact communities in the Global South. In addition to her environmental work, Gaby has been an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences.
Gaby is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California at Santa Barbara. Here, she researches solutions to problems that impact environmentally marginalized communities in the Global South. Her research focuses on two distinct yet interconnected areas: how politics affect climate change adaptation processes, and how violence against environmental activists impacts environmental outcomes. In her climate adaptation work, she combines interdisciplinary methods and tools, including remote sensing, geospatial analyses, and interviews to identify drivers of effective adaptation. In her environmental violence research, she investigates the drivers and the consequences of the violence that land defenders endure at the hands of companies and local governments during conflicts over the use of natural resources.
Fellow at a Glance
UC Santa Barbara
Environmental Policy & Law
International Conservation & Development
Natural Resource Management