2018 Incoming Grad Series: Fernanda Montero

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Thursday, September 20, 2018 9:00 AM

The 2018 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

Grad school marks the next chapter in Fernanda Montero's adventure. She is coming to UCSB from Mexico City, where she worked with the Mexican ​government and United Nations to channel more financial resources for nature conservation. She is very excited to ​come to UCSB to continue her work "financing nature" in the Bren School for Environmental Science and Management.

Read on to learn more about ​​Fernanda's childhood and some of her fun facts! 


Fernanda was born in Mexico and comes from a family with very strong and independent female role models. She lived in Indiana during elementary school while her mother was getting her Ph.D. at Notre Dame University, where she was exposed to a multicultural environment. During junior high, she lived in her mother’s small hometown in Mexico, which gave her a sense of the Mexican rural reality. When she was fifteen, she moved to Mexico City and has lived there since. These experiences have given her an overview of the gaps between developed and developing countries, conservative and liberal societies, and the difference ​in opportunities that each one provides.

Fernanda ​began working in environmental financing six years ago, when she accepted a position at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit in Mexico. This experience taught her the importance of financing, economic policies, and international financing in solving environmental problems.


Fernanda chose the Bren School at UCSB because of its interdisciplinary core coursework and because the students are guided to develop their own curricula based on their environmental issue of interest. ​She is also excited for the hands-on, real-world nature of the program, and drawn to the emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism that UCSB strives toward​.



Fernanda would like to further explore financing for nature. She explains, "We must work towards a development model where the people and the planet thrive, and currently our planet has too many pressures because of our economic model." Fernanda has worked in the Mexican government and United Nations to channel more financial resources for nature conservation and sustainability. During her master’s, she will focus specifically on financing, eco-entrepreneurship, and impact investment in ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries in Latin America.



Fernanda loves to bellydance! She also enjoys visiting protected areas in Mexico and in any part of the world ​when she has the chance. She considers watching animals in their natural habitats a privilege. Last year, Fernanda went gorilla trekking in Uganda and whale watching in Baja California, Mexico. She believes Park Rangers from any part of the world are superheroes and loves meeting them.

Fernanda also has a 78 pound Weimaraner named Zula! Despite her size, they have traveled together all over Mexico by car, bike, and plane.

Welcome, ​Fernanda!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Trevor Auldridge, an incoming Ph.D. student in Sociology who recently spent two years as a City Year AmeriCorps Member in the Bay Area.