Mar Mancha

Degree program: 
Environmental Life Sciences
Saltillo, Mexico
PhD candidate

What are you researching?

I study the socioeconomic aspects of marine reserves for conservation of marine resources.

Who is your hero and why?

My hero is the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, because she painted what she truly felt and she never yielded to the social conventions of her time.

What was your biggest challenge as a new graduate student?

My biggest challenge was trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to focus my research on. I had a general idea of the things I was interested in exploring, but landing on a real good research question for how to explore those issues was the hardest.

Who or what inspires you, and why?

Who inspires me? The NGO that I collaborate with (Comunidad y Biodiversidad) in Mexico and all the people who work with it. They do beautiful work in helping the local fishing communities of Mexico achieve sustainable fishing and conservation of marine resources.

What is the most important thing you learned during your first year as a graduate student?

The most important thing I learned was that life isn't all about work — not even in academia. And, I learned that to stay healthy I had to allow myself to have time for creativity, artistic expression and enjoying life.