University of Calgary

Gabriela Alonso Yanez

  • Assistant Professor


Dr. Alonso-Yanez completed her doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Implementation in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Previous to beginning her doctoral studies in Canada, Dr. Alonso was Assistant Professor at the University of Morelos in Mexico where she taught and conducted research in the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Psychology.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Learning and education in the context of sustainability and global change are the focus of my work. Specifically, my research focuses on understanding the factors and conditions that influence how teams produce integrated, action-oriented socioecological knowledge in a rapidly changing world. I currently teach undergraduate and graduate courses in design thinking and project-based learning, interdisciplinary research, and formative assessment. Over the last 10 years, I have participated in several collaborative research projects with multiple aims, including: to build researchers’ and organizations’ capacity for collaboration; to engage stakeholders in co-designing and co-producing solutions-oriented knowledge; and to aid teams to develop networks of mutual learning.

Current Projects:

  • 2016 - 2017 Teamwork for Effective Research Action in the Americas (Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research).
  • 2016 - 2018 - Pathways for Convergence and Cross-Sector Collaboration. This project focuses specifically on the role of grey literature in processes of knowledge integration and mutual learning in interdisciplinary collaborations and includes research partners from Canada, Uruguay, and Chile. 
  • 2015 - 2017 - Applying Social Network Analysis Techniques to Team-based Concept Study and STEM Professional Learning. This Research Collaboration Grant enables a team of researchers from Werklund and Mexico’s- Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN), to apply Social Network Analysis techniques to study collaboration and interactions within team-based concept study and STEM professional learning.


PhD Curriculum Theory and Implementation
Simon Fraser University

MEd Environmental Education
Instituto de Investigaciones Ecologicas, Malaga, Spain

BSc Psychlogy (Honours)
Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos

Professional & Community Affiliations

Over the years, Dr. Alonso has been involved with a number of different organizations that work on sustainable development and education in Latin America, such as the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation for whom Gabriela recently completed a project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. More recently, her research has been funded by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) which focuses on improving the dynamics of scientific research teams to effectively produce science for policy.


Alonso-Yanez, G. (2018). Exploring Curriculum for Science Education: Lessons from a Mexican Biosphere Reserve. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development (11) 2, 89-101.

Alonso-Yanez, G., Brown, B., Friesen, S. & Jacobsen, Michele. (2016). Innovative Methods to Study School System Dynamics. In M. Takeuchi, A.P. Preciado Babb, & J. Lock. IDEAS 2016: Designing for Innovation Selected Proceedings. Paper presented at IDEAS 2016: Designing for Innovation, Calgary, Canada (pg. 12-21). Calgary, Canada: Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.

Alonso-Yanez, G. Thumlert, K & de Castell S. (2016). Re-mapping Integrative Conservation: (Dis)Coordinate Participation in a Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. Conservation and Society, 14(2), 13-20.

Alonso-Yanez, G. & Davidsen, C. (2014). Conservation science policies versus scientific practice: Evidence from a Mexican biosphere reserve. Human Ecology Review, 20 (2), 3-29.

Alonso-Yanez, G. & Dhakal, S. P. (2009). Community partnership for ecotourism based on an environmental education program for sustainable development in Sierra de Huautla, México. Utopía y Praxis Latinoamericana, 14 (44), 117-124.


2016- 2017 Professional Development Seminar (PDS) on Transdisciplinary Approaches to Integrating Policy and Science for Sustainability.

2016- Innovation Exchange - 

Dorado, O. & Alonso-Yanez, G. (2004, 2011). Loteria de la Selva Baja (education resource).

Alonso-Yanez, G., Mata, A. & Arias, D. (2004, 2006). Dry forest (education resource).

Alonso, G. (2006). Our stories: Lessons learned. Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.


  • Lurralde Fundación: “Territorial Governance: a transdisciplinary approach towards environmental sustainability and human welfare in the Atacama Desert”. (Research Associate-Active)
  • Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research: “Exploring Professional Development: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Integrating Policy and Science for Sustainability.” (PI-2017).
  • Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research TISG-“Strengthening Teamwork to Confront Socio-Ecological Challenges: Generating New Knowledge for Effective Action in the Americas.” (Co-PI- 2014-2016).
  • Vice Provost University International Grants Committee (UIGC): “Capacity Building for Global Collaboration in the Americas.” (PI-2017). 
  • International Research Collaboration Seed Grant (University of Calgary): “Pathways for Convergence and Cross-Sector Collaboration: Towards a Research Program for Actionable Socio-Environmental Science”. (PI-Active)
  • Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund - Promoting environmental education in Southern Mesoamerica Hotspot (Archipiélago Bocas del Toro)

Student Supervision

Chandra Lebenhagen - Curriculum and Learning (EdD) - Chandra explores questions about inclusive settings, learning and the experiences of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Harrison Campbell - Curriculum and Learning (MEd) - Harrison's research focuses on understadnig student experiences of multiliteracies through dramatization, embodied literacy, and visual literacy.

Ana Watson - Department of Geography (PhD) -  Ana's study explores the ways in which the social constructions of environmental concerns and power relationships influence land use decision making and natural gas extraction in Camisea, Peru through the analysis of key historical discourses, social learning and environmental politics.

Danilo Borja - Department of Geography (PhD) - Danilo explores the roles of informal social networks and social learning in shaping political arguments and land use policies in Yasuni, Ecuador.


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