The Selection Committee is proud to announce Sonia Delphin-Perez of SNRE as the 2021 finalist and 45th Awardee of the William G. McGinnies Graduate Scholarship in Arid Lands Studies. The William G. McGinnies Graduate Scholarship in Arid Lands Studies is given each year to a student(s) in honor of the founder of the Office of Arid Lands Studies, Dr. W.G. McGinnies. The intent of the McGinnies Graduate Scholarship is to provide additional support to graduate students whose dissertation research concerns physical and biological processes in the world's arid and semiarid lands. The graduate scholarship carries with it a stipend, the opportunity to give an invited public presentation, and a luncheon with the awards committee.
Sonia Delphin-Perez is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Sonia is originally from Paraguay, where there are many challenges to balance nature conservation, human wellbeing, and economic development. Paraguay has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world due to livestock, and therefore more sustainable development is needed. Sonia worked in Paraguay for many years before returning to graduate school. With her research, Sonia aims to develop a participatory land use planning model to allocate different land uses in the territory in a more sustainable way considering environmental, social, economic, and institutional factors in the Chaco region of Paraguay. Her work promises to make a very important scholarly contribution to the literature on land-use planning as well as governance of natural resources in the context of the Global South. Her project contributes to the protection and conservation of one of the most biodiverse, threatened, and fragile ecosystems in the world.