Steffanie Munguia is a second year PhD student in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, pursuing a doctoral degree in Earth System Science with a concentration in Natural Resource Science and Management.

Her dissertation research focuses on evaluating the implementation of the Ramsar Convention, an international environmental agreement for the conservation of wetlands, in coastal wetlands of the Caribbean. Born in Puerto Rico to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, Steffanie has actively pursued opportunities to work in the region, including earning a Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy with a concentration in Spanish. She credits her interest in protected areas to her parents, who would strap her into a baby sling when she was only a few months old to visit El Yunque National Forest. After moving to Florida, they kept up this passion for the outdoors with almost weekly camping excursions to local national and state parks.

Steffanie has also dedicated much of her time to service to various environmental nonprofits, where she primarily provides education and outreach programming for youth and minorities, voices often excluded from conservation conversations. Over the past 13 years, she has dedicated her efforts to increasing youth and minority engagement in Audubon, co-coordinating the state’s Conservation Leadership Initiative for several years. She currently holds a seat on the National Audubon Society Board of Directors as Pan-Flyway Regional Director, and continues to support local conservation efforts through her Miami-Dade County network.

Through this work, she has witnessed first hand both the importance and challenge of building equity, diversity and inclusion in conservation and environmental non-profits. As a member of the NPCA Next Generation Advisory Council, Steffanie hopes to give a voice to these marginalized communities in our national parks by working to make these parks a space for all people to connect with the heritage of the land on which we all depend.