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How to fall in love with Ecology: a chat with Dr. Carol Garzon Lopez, Assistant Professor at Campus Fryslân

Date:09 November 2023
Dr. Carol Garzon Lopez at the 70th anniversary of Zernike's Nobel Prize. Carol assisted in displaying microscope images in the library of a town. The person beside her is Zernike's grandson.
Dr. Carol Garzon Lopez at the 70th anniversary of Zernike's Nobel Prize. Carol assisted in displaying microscope images in the library of a town. The person beside her is Zernike's grandson.

Are you asking yourself who your teachers would be, should you choose to study Global Responsibility and Leadership at Campus Fryslân? Wonder no more! In this blog post, we introduce you to Dr. Carol Garzon Lopez, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Hi Carol! Thanks for agreeing to this chat. What is your academic background and where did you acquire your expertise?
I obtained a BSc in Ecology in Colombia, a MSc in Evolutionary Biology, at the University of Groningen, and my PhD in Tropical Ecology, always at the University of Groningen.

What specific subjects do you teach and what are they about?
I teach Earth Systems, Ecosystem Processes, and a course titled ‘The Birds and the Bees,’ focusing on knowledge infrastructures. In Earth Systems, we cover the basics of the Earth, exploring its functioning, dynamics, and their connections to society. In Ecosystem Processes, we integrate ecology and society, examining the ecosystem services provided by the biosphere and contemplating how ecological knowledge interacts with us. Lastly, ‘The Birds and the Bees’ delves into the entire knowledge infrastructure, spanning from data collection and analysis to publishing research and utilising knowledge for decision-making. In essence, we analyse how knowledge is applied and consider whose voices and evidence might be overlooked.

What inspired your involvement in the field of Ecology?
I have been passionate about the natural world since my childhood. As a little girl growing up in Bogota, I was the type who would stare and observe things to understand how they work. Despite living in the city, I had plenty of opportunities to regularly visit the countryside and connect with the nature surrounding me.

In your opinion, what sets our programme apart and makes it particularly appealing to students?
In my view, our distinctive feature lies in the fact that, upon completing their bachelor’s, our students are prepared to speak the language of sustainability holistically. They learn how to navigate the language of social, economic, and ecological governance and are well equipped to become leaders and change-makers in any field they will choose to contribute to!