PLACA Summer Research Grant

Student Recipients 2010

Ana Stewart

Anna Maria Stewart

Department of Ecology

Anna Maria Stewart is a Ph. D. candidate in Ecology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) student at Syracuse University.  Anna is broadly interested in the application of ecological research to issues of human development in the tropics.  For her doctoral research, she is studying the influence of socioeconomic and climatic factors on vulnerability to dengue fever in Ecuador. Her M.P.A. is focused on international development and conflict resolution. With support from PLACA, she will live in Guayaquil, Ecuador, this summer to conduct interviews with public health policymakers and begin developing a GIS database of historical dengue fever cases. 


William Werner

William Werner

of Anthropology

Bill is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University. Prior to coming to Syracuse, he completed a BA in anthropology at New College of Florida, participated in archaeological research in Florida, Arizona, Yucatán (Mexico) and Petén (Guatemala), and held a Fulbright Fellowship to study the history of Latin American archaeology in Berlin, Germany. Stemming from these previous research experiences, his dissertation project is an historical anthropological investigation of a nineteenth-century German colony in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Summer 2010 PLACA support enabled him to pursue archival work in the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City and to conduct a preliminary survey at the site of the former colony. As a result, he has compiled a roster of the German residents at the colony and has developed a methodology for deploying archaeological investigations to elucidate their interactions with the indigenous population, a topic that is absent from the archives.


Juan Alvarez

Juan C. Álvarez-Yépiz

of Environmental
Forest Biology

Juan C. Álvarez-Yépiz is a doctoral student and Fulbright Fellow at SUNY-ESF.  He obtained a MS degree from the Technological Institute of Sonora studying land-use history effects on tropical dry forest at the Sierra de Alamos-Rio Cuchujaqui Biosphere Reserve in northwestern Mexico. Later, he worked as a conservation manager in the Reserve implementing biodiversity monitoring programs where he developed his interest in cycads, specifically Dioon sonorense, one of the most threatened and understudied cycads worldwide. His current research aims to understand basic aspects of the ecology and conservation of this ancient plant species, which will allow him to propose effective conservation measures. He will use the PLACA award to travel to his study sites in Mexico and to analyze the stable isotope composition of leaf samples. This information will be useful to investigate water use efficiency and nitrogen sources for the cycad D. sonorense and other co-occurring plant species. The overall results of this project will increase our understanding of the possible mechanisms that explain D. sonorense survival and mortality and its ability to coexist with more modern plant competitors.