Fernández-Giménez Wins Distinguished Service Award and SOGES Resident FellowshipProfessor María Fernández-Giménez has been selected as a School of Global Environmental Sustainability Resident Fellow (‘15) and has won Colorado State University’s Distinguished Service Award for her work to internationalize CSU.
The Distinguished Service Award, given by the Office of International Programs, recognizes Fernández-Giménez’s work both internationally and at CSU’s main campus mentoring international students and creating a welcoming atmosphere at the Warner College of Natural Resources for visiting scholars and international students.
“Maria has been actively engaged internationally for over 20 years now, primarily in Mongolia, and CSU reaps the benefits of her experience on so many levels,” said Jim Cooney, Vice Provost for International Affairs. “Her efforts have not only forged strong research links between CSU and our Mongolian partners, but also developed numerous Education Abroad opportunities for CSU students and Mongolian students wanting to study and conduct research in the U.S.”
Fernández-Giménez’s work in Mongolia focuses on herder communities’ relationships with rangelands. In 2014, the Mongolian government recognized her with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry’s highest honor, when she was named the “Honorable Champion of Agriculture and Food Industry of Mongolia,” a distinction few foreigners have received.
This work has strong linkages to her domestic research program on rangelands on Colorado’s Western Slope, the Learning from the Land Program.
Fernández-Giménez has also been the Chair of the WCNR International Affairs Committee since 2012, helping to track and promote the College’s international activities, expose US students to international experiences, and ensure that visiting international students and scholars are warmly welcomed to the WCNR community and get the most out of their time at CSU.
“Natural resources challenges are planetary challenges,” Fernández-Giménez said. “We need to be sure that our research and education transcends boundaries so that we are working globally to address issues and find solutions to environmental challenges around the world.”
Fernández-Giménez is expanding her research through a recently awarded SOGES Resident Fellowship. She intends to explore how art and ecology intersect by using poetry to analyze her interviews with herders from rangelands around the world.
Through this innovative approach she hopes to reveal new dimensions of herdsmen’s traditional ecological knowledge and improve understanding of the relationships between pastoral cultures and landscapes as they undergo social and environmental changes.
Fernández-Giménez has created a set of poems based on an interview with one herdsman from the Spanish Pyrenees, and gained additional insights into his place in this mountain landscape. “It was completely revealing to me. I gained a depth of understanding that I didn’t have previously about this individual and the place he knows so well.” These connections are personal for Fernández-Giménez, whose father was from Spain and also a poet.
Fernández-Giménez has shared this first set of poems in several classes, seminars and a research conference to test their value as a means of analyzing qualitative data and communicating research results.
She plans to use her fellowship to continue creating poems from her interviews with ranchers and pastoralists in Colorado, Spain and Mongolia; create a network of researchers using poetry, music and art to advance their research; and bring international scholars with similar interests to campus.