Meet our ELP Fellow
Maria Cordero-Fernández, a 27-year-old Nicaraguan woman, demonstrates a profound commitment to socio-environmental justice. Her journey through a Jesuit school provided her with the foundational elements to develop her passion for combating injustices. During this period, she volunteered in various projects, allowing her to get a closer look at poverty and social inequalities prevalent within her country. At the same time, she discovered her calling for environmental advocacy and organized a student-led environmentalist movement.
Maria’s connection with nature motivated her pursuit of Environmental Engineering in her homeland. She spent a couple of years working as an environmental consultant for private industries. However, the shifting socio-political landscape in Nicaragua in 2018 prompted her realization that she wanted to redirect her professional trajectory towards more socially impactful avenues. She applied for a position as a research assistant at Nitlapan-Nicaragua, where she dedicated two years of service. During this interval, she came to comprehend the intricate nature of social-ecological systems, particularly in historically marginalized rural areas. This experience also facilitated her recognition of the pivotal role of participatory action-research as a catalyst for reflection and transformative change.
In 2021, Maria was awarded with an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to pursue an International Master’s in Rural Development. This experience required her relocation to a different EU country each semester, which not only enriched her academically but also challenged her positively on a personal level. Interacting with fellow international students enabled her to broaden her perspective on shared struggles and emphasized the importance of strengthening connections to address these issues collectively. Recently, she completed her master’s program with outstanding academic achievements. Maria is now looking forward to continuing the next chapter of her professional journey, harnessing her privileges to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society.