Isabella Errigo was awarded a prestigious Fulbright research grant during the summer of 2022. She is currently in Ecuador, building on her master’s program research about the impact of land use on aquatic systems. Her ten-month Fulbright experience, which began in September 2022, is taking place in Ecuador’s Chocó region, where she’s researching how different types of land use in the Amazon affect biodiversity. Errigo is a 2020 BYU Honors graduate in Environmental Science who recently earned a master’s degree in the same discipline.
“Isabella possesses deep research skills and an innate ability to lead through consensus,” said Cory Leonard, an associate director at the Kennedy Center. “She navigates politics and differing perspectives effectively while focusing on getting results. These diplomatic skills will serve her well in helping ensure that her scientific research makes a wider impact.” Leonard first met Errigo through his Model United Nations class and later hired her as his teaching assistant.
In fall 2021, Errigo visited Ecuador for the first time and got a glimpse of what her Fulbright research would entail. “Despite Ecuador’s small size, it has an amazing amount of diversity,” she said. “Not only is it one of the five most biodiverse countries in the world but it is also multiethnic, with a wide variety of spoken languages and many different types of ecosystems.”
During her time in Ecuador, Errigo hopes to be an ambassador for BYU and the United States through her formal research and her involvement in the local community: “I hope I will be able to meet people doing activities that I enjoy (such as rock climbing or exploring new places), and I can continue these relationships throughout my life,” she said. “I also plan to be an ambassador for BYU, Fulbright, and the U.S. through science communication. By communicating my research, I want to convey to people how amazing our planet is while showing them why they should care and what they can do to minimize harm.”