Izabela García-Arce (Writing of Witness, 2023), who calls herself a “longtime lover of water,” is now a proud graduate of the University of Montana with a masters of science in environmental studies.
How she did it: by turning her memoir-in-progress into a thesis entitled From the Green Room: Notes on a Saltwater Girlhood in the Borderlands. Equal parts adventure thriller, social criticism and a young woman’s “angsty self-discovery,” she describes her project as a narrative that explores the gender dynamics of Southern California ocean sports, growing up in a Southwest border town, Mexican family lore and first-hand encounters with ocean degradation. Over the next year, she hopes to triple the length of her thesis to complete a book that draws a bridge between William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days and Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. In her UTV masterclass with Liz Rosner, she workshopped two essays and left the program inspired both by the constructive feedback she received and by the friends she made during her three-week stay in Tepoztlán.