MAF welcomes Multicultural Faculty Fellow, Dr. Melva Treviño-Peña!


The Department of Marine Affairs welcomes our new Multicultural Faculty Fellow, Dr. Melva Treviño-Peña! These URI fellowships are intended to enrich multiculturalism in the University and the educational experience of all students, especially by bringing multicultural perspectives to the curriculum and/or department, college, and university.

Dr. Treviño-Peña is a human geographer whose broad research interests concern the relationships between people’s livelihoods and the environment. A central focus of her research is to identify how power asymmetries – such as unequal access to resources – are produced in natural spaces, and the implications of this on the physical and discursive (re)construction of nature, and on the groups whose livelihoods are tied to natural resources.

Treviño-Peña earned her PhD in geography from Oregon State University. Funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF), Treviño-Peña conducted fieldwork in coastal Ecuador. For her doctoral research, she explored the people-mangrove relations of a community who has relied on mangrove resources to subsist for multiple generations. Her research analyzed the sociocultural and local economic impacts of the transformation of mangrove spaces, specifically those resulting from industrial shrimp aquaculture and state-led conservation initiatives. She plans to continue to build on this work at URI, but also on expand her research scope to exploring people-environment relations in other regions, including Northeastern coastal communities.

Treviño-Peña is originally from a small border town along the Mexico-Texas border. Over the last 20 years she has lived in the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. She looks forward to exploring her new home – the Northeast – with her husband Patrick and their three-legged dog Laika.