Marla Torrado

Affiliated Graduate Students

Marla Torrado’s research and academic interests fall within the broad spectrum of human-environment interactions, specifically in struggles that make visible environmental and social injustices. As an undergraduate student she completed a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico, analyzing the hydrologic impacts of development plans in a small watershed of Río Guaynabo. Even though the research was quantitative in nature, she was able to work closely with a community that would be adversely affected by the projects. This interaction at the local level made her realize the importance of combining environmental studies with community engagement. As a result, she completed a Master’s in the field of Geography analyzing the social and environmental impacts that could follow the construction of a national road in southern Guyana area that was home to the Makushi indigenous communities. She was able to conduct not only quantitative analyses of the impacts to the local environment but also interviews with indigenous leaders, providing a broad and complex picture of the implications of such massive state-led development projects. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Community and Regional Planning Program in the School of Architecture at UT, and her research examines the relationship between state planning initiatives and the local responses to those plans. Her work is based in Argentina, where she studies the impacts of the expansion of genetically modified (GM) soybean as a nation-wide planning initiative that, while important as a source of revenue for the state, has also provoked large mobilizations at the local level due to the negative impacts the production process has on rural communities. More specifically, she studies the role of a women's group organizing against commercial development of GM soybean production in the province of Córdoba.