The ocean was a constant in my childhood. My parents taught me to admire its beauty and generosity, and to respect its power. As I’ve grown, so has my understanding of the vital role oceans play in human well-being, and of the challenges endangering its health and threatening the livelihoods of the millions who depend on it. I am excited to work with Ocean Doctor to, as we say in Spanish, “contribuir con mi granito de arena” (contribute my grain of sand ) to the conservation of marine resources, the restoration of ocean health, and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods. Being able to do so in such a unique place as Cuba is just the cherry on top!”
Gabriela started pursuing her interest in sustainable development and environmental conservation in 2013, after receiving a research grant to explore Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT initiative—a conservation alternative to oil extraction in the Andean nation’s exceptionally biodiverse Yasuní National Park. Since, she has partaken in various development projects in several other Latin American countries. Gabriela spent the summer of 2015 in Costa Rica, assisting a national initiative to conserve marine resources and diversify livelihood opportunities for low-income fishing communities in overexploited areas. She also supported the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education’s agroforestry project to convert degraded lands into cacao-based agroforests to conserve biodiversity and enhance rural livelihoods.
Gabriela holds a Master’s in Sustainable Development Practice with a Certificate in Tropical Conservation and Development from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL), and a B.A. in Economics and International Studies from DePaul University (Chicago, IL). She was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador; loves to salsa dance, and is fluent in Spanish, English, and French.