Bárbara López-González | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Bárbara López-González

Portrait of Bárbara López-González U of Guelph Graduate Student

PhD Geography + International Development Studies*

Advice for Prospective Grad Students..

Never give up. Things can get hard and can get busy but never impossible. Take a break if you need to, use the resources available if you need them, and lean on your professors and peers if you need to, but never give up. If there is something I have learned in Guelph it is that a friendly hand always appears to help you continue. The important thing is to stay and not to give up on your goals.


PhD, Political Science with International Development Studies

Why I Chose Guelph… 

I choose U of G because it offered me the opportunity to keep my home department, Political Science, but also pursue studies on my main interest, Development Studies, without selecting one above the other. The collaboration program allows me to open my range of opportunities and possibilities of research.

About my path… 

I came to Canada from Puerto Rico, where I completed my Baccalaureate studies in Political Science and Latin America and the Caribbean Studies. I was looking for universities in Canada to carry out my graduate studies, and in an online search, I found U of G. After visiting it, I decided on U of G among the universities where I was admitted because it allowed me to complete the collaborative program between Political Science and International Development. Although when I arrived, I had no one and English was my second language, I have not regretted my decision, I have felt accompanied, and I think that I have grown a lot in the process. Little by little, I have been achieving one goal after another and I feel ready to complete one of my biggest targets, my doctoral degree, which will allow me to not only complete my studies and professional career, but also will give me new knowledge to contribute to my country's development.

About the work I am doing here at Guelph… 

During my master's in Political Science and IDEV, I was looking at the intersection between political institutions, legal mobilization, and environmental protection in Latin America. I had the opportunity to spend a Summer in Ecuador, where I conducted elite interviews and completed a data collection process that allows me to write my MRP. Now I'm looking forward to starting my Ph.D. in Geography and IDEV and research on topics related to political ecology, environmental governance, and islands sustainability using the knowledge and skills that I acquired in my MA as a base.

How can my research Improve Life?

The topic that I was exploring in my MRP, related to new environmental protection policies, is relatively new, and there are many information gaps regarding its relevance and implementation process by the government but also for relevant non-state actors. My MRP contributes to filling some of those information gaps and to laying the groundwork for future comparative studies.

About my advisor... 

The relationship with my supervisor has been excellent. He has provided me with opportunities to grow as a researcher visiting a new country for field research. He has also provided valuable feedback to improve my project and my writing skills. I'm very grateful.

The best part about Guelph… 

The food is delicious. I have discovered things that I have never tried and that are very rich and nutritious. Food is definitely one of the things I like most about U of G.