Sierra is an interdisciplinary scholar with a PhD in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy from the University of Oregon. Her interests include conservation, environmental sociology, sustainable communities, environmental justice, global sociology, social inequality, social movements, globalization and development, political ecology, international issues, indigenous issues, gender, race, marine biology, marine resource management, human dimensions in marine conservation, and wildlife policy and law.
Sierra's research broadly focuses on shared root causes of social and environmental problems and their solutions, with an emphasis on decolonial methodologies and philosophies. Her dissertation was a cross-national comparison of Irrawaddy dolphin conservation projects in Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma). Using ethnographic methods, she juxtaposed the two projects in the context of their respective political economic histories and current conservation approaches to show how neoliberal approaches to conservation can result in the reproduction of social inequality, exacerbation of environmental issues, and extension of state power and surveillance. For her postdoctoral project in Political Ecology/Crisis Conservation at WUR, she is examining how environmental organizations are coping, reorganizing, and strategizing with the new government in Brazil.
Previous education: MA in Sociology (University of Oregon, 2017); Graduate Certificate in Marine Resources Management (Oregon State University, 2013); MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (Texas A&M University, 2008); BS in Marine Biology and Zoology with a minor in Women’s Studies (Humboldt State University, 2002).