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SFS Alumna Irizarry to Accept Forum Award

The School For Field Studies (SFS) Alumna Alyssa Irizarry Awarded The Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award for Muralism Research in Mexico

Salem, Massachusetts - April 7, 2011 - The Forum on Education Abroad will award Alyssa Irizarry, a spring 2009 alumna of The School for Field Studies (SFS) environmental study abroad program in Baja California Sur, Mexico, one of two 2010 Undergraduate Research Awards at the Seventh Annual Forum Conference in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, April 8, 2011.

Irizarry's research, conducted during the SFS semester abroad program Conserving Marine Resources and Coastal Ecosystems in Baja California Sur, Mexico, was judged by Forum-member faculty to be among the highest quality academic research of undergraduates studying abroad.

Irizarry, a 2010 graduate of Tufts University who double-majored in environmental studies and art history, found evidence that sea turtle murals in Baja California Sur, Mexico have positive effects on community pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors.

"Alyssa's work helped to highlight the importance of public art in raising awareness of endangered sea turtles and marine mammals. Her work is a tribute to conservation efforts by local communities on the Baja Peninsula and all over Mexico to preserve these amazing organisms," said Dr. Gustavo Hinojosa, director of The SFS Center for Coastal Studies.

"We are so proud of Alyssa and this research, which has far-reaching implications for environmental conservation education in Mexico and beyond," said SFS President Bonnie R. Clendenning.

In addition to this award, Irizarry's research will be featured in The Open Ocean, a permanent exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, which opens in July 2011. Her research also earned her The School for Field Studies bi-annual Distinguished Student Researcher Award for academic excellence and for reinforcing the mission of the marine animal conservation movement in Mexico.

Irizarry will be presenting her research at the Forum Conference Lunch Plenary, held at Boston's Park Plaza and Towers Hotel on Friday April 8th at 12:00 PM, co-sponsored by The School for Field Studies, which is a host institution of the 2011 Forum Conference.

Contact: Leslie Granese, The School for Field Studies, M: 978.304.6963,

About The School for Field Studies (

The School for Field Studies (SFS), the nation's oldest and largest environmental study abroad program for college undergraduates, has combined hands-on environmental studies with scientific research to develop sustainable solutions to critical environmental problems. SFS students work with local communities to discover practical ways to manage their natural resources. In the process, SFS students undergo a transformational experience that helps them advance their careers as skilled professionals and to become globally aware citizens.

About SFS Five Year Research Plan and Directed Research Projects

SFS Centers have developed long-term research plans to help identify, address, and resolve critical environmental problems, providing information to assist local, regional and national agencies in resource management decision-making. The purpose of these research plans is to respond to the resource conservation and management needs of the local community, provide a roadmap for the academic and research components of our field programs, and fulfill SFS research requirements and collaborate with other academic and scientific institutions. Directed Research topics are defined by the 5YRP and build on previous research, addressing an environmental problem relevant to the local community.