Victoria Ramenzoni’s academic pursuits have taken her around the world to study and conduct research. The Ph.D. student in environmental anthropology wants to use her education to make an impact on socio-environmental issues.
Liceo Scientifico Italiano Cristoforo Colombo
Ph.D. in environmental anthropology
B.A. in anthropology, Universidad de Buenos Aires
University highlights, achievements and awards:
During my first year of studies at UGA, I was awarded a scholarship to participate in the 2008 Summer School in Methods in Bolivia from the National Science Foundation. Being in the Amazonian Bolivian region for two months set my determination to work among small-scale communities in improving living conditions and opportunities. In 2009, we received multiple awards to carry out preliminary dissertation research in Indonesia, including the Dean’s Award from the Graduate School and The Lemelson Fellowship from the Society of Psychological Anthropology (American Anthropology Association).
In 2010, I received a scholarship from the Max Planck Institute to attend its summer school in Berlin on bounded rationality. Also that year, I was awarded a fellowship with the Georgia Oceans and Health Initiative from the Oceans and Human Health division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency to conduct further research and training. As a GOHI/NOAA Fellow, I had the opportunity to closely interact with scientists, government representatives and policymakers from EPA, WHO and the IPCC.
Afterward, I joined NOAA as an intern for the Northwest Pacific Fisheries Center where I worked in the development of socio-ecological indicators to measure coastal communities’ resilience dealing with climate change. In March 2011, we received support from the Society for Psychological Anthropology, the Graduate School and the department of anthropology at UGA to present at the biennial meetings of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. In addition, we received a National Science Foundation Doctoral Improvement Dissertation Grant to conduct field research for a year-and-a-half in Indonesia.
In the summer of 2012, I received a scholarship from the Global Diversity Foundation and the Rachel Carson Institute to attend the Global Environments Summer Academy at the Ludwig Maximilian Universitat in Munich, Germany. Also in the summer of 2012, I received a scholarship to attend the Conflicts over Commons Summer School Series: Fisheries, in Istanbul, Turkey.
Recently, I was awarded the Prof. Elinor Ostrom International Fellowship on Practice and Policy on Commons from The International Association for the Study of the Commons and the Foundation for Ecological Security to attend their global meeting in Tokyo, Japan. I also received an award from the Office of the Vice President for Research to present my findings at the York Centre Asian Research Conference in Toronto, Canada.
Family Ties to UGA:
I do not have any family members who attended UGA, and I am proud to be the first.
I chose to attend UGA because...
I am a very curious person. Since I was a little girl, I was very passionate about studying the evolution of human behavior and cognitive skills. However, in Argentina there are very limited possibilities to carry out research of that sort. My passion for this quest led me to study the howler monkey’s behavior in Corrientes during a graduate seminar, to model decision-making behavior among agriculturalists in Argentina, to pursue a degree in cognitive sciences and to conduct research in experimental psychology and probabilities, among others. It is only when I found (associate professor of anthropology) Bram Tucker’s work that all these pieces fell into place. After interviewing at other U.S. universities, I decided to get in touch with Dr. Tucker at UGA. It only took six more months and I was here in Athens. I owe Dr. Tucker for putting his faith in me, and I can genuinely say that none of these awards would have happened without his awesome leadership and encouragement.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
I love to walk around and explore North Campus, especially Old College. My favorite spot is Toombs Oak. I find that story amazing and moving. I also like to sit in the Founders Memorial Garden on quiet summer afternoons.
When I have free time, I like...
I love taking pictures. I am not very good at it, but I can spend hours and hours outside. I like to find beauty in the most common things that we often overlook or take for granted. It is indeed being able to see that singularity that makes my days different. I also love watching old movies, like “Rearview Mirror” or “The Great Escape.” I also like strolling downtown, walking around and reading my iPad under a nice canopy while squirrels are playing in the background.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… spend the night in a tiny boat fishing in the middle of the Savu Bay while hearing the splashing of whales all around. Or maybe riding through mudslides and rocks on my motorcycle to visit an old ritual house in the middle of nowhere.
My favorite place to study is...
… probably the third floor in the science library. One of the things that will always surprise me about UGA is the enormous collection of books and journals, and the whole library system. I can spend hours and hours looking for awesome books, to the point that I am surrounded by them in my office and at home.
My favorite professor is...
All the experiences, classes and long nights have led me to appreciate and form intimate relationships with the anthropology department faculty and staff. Bram Tucker has been a wonderful source of support and inspiration. I would not be here without his unwavering faith in my potential. I owe a lot as well to Susan Tanner, Pete Brosius and Ted Gragson. They are the core of my doctoral committee and have been instrumental in making me a better anthropologist. The department of marine sciences has also been a fantastic ambiance for me, especially under the sponsorship of Patricia Yager. Erin Lipp from environmental health sciences also has been crucial in my professional and personal development.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Rodolfo Walsh, an Argentine journalist killed during the military junta in 1977. Coming from Argentina, I am very politically aware of the significance of democracy and civil rights. My family and friends suffered extensively from state terrorism. For this reason, I believe that nothing is more important than equal opportunities and freedom of expression, and that having a democratic and fair government is worth the fight. Walsh is to me the image of a hero, a person who, going through great personal sacrifices, was still able to put his own insecurities and weaknesses aside to denounce oppression and murder.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… create a switch that would allow the rich to become the poor and vice versa. I believe that many of the problems we have in terms of poverty and environmental degradation could be solved if more empathy and common grounds were found between people. Wealth distribution is an ethical problem to me, and I am committed as an anthropologist to help others realize that poverty is not a choice.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
… have my own TV channel and production company and travel the world documenting what people have to say about the world we are living in. I would love to hear other voices and suggestions on how we can solve many of the problems we are dealing with. And I firmly believe that we need to build more cultural and societal bridges to create better options for the future.
After graduation, I plan to...
My scholarship at UGA has been grounded in the conviction that we need to work harder in forging an integration between social and fishery sciences, and between local perspectives and policy to design adequate strategies that can anticipate and mitigate environmental risks. Therefore, it is my long-term goal to work in a transnational organization, such as the United Nations, in the generation and implementation of coping strategies and intervention policies that can directly enhance the local capabilities and resilience of both fish and fisherman communities. I also hope to develop a career in academia in socio-environmental studies and fishery sciences, specializing in common property law, resource use policy-making and climate change.