Mariela Fernandez

In Funded Scholars




Assistant Professor
Clemson University

Professional Bio

Dr. Mariela Fernandez’s personal research agenda focuses on the lack of access to parks and recreation resources (e.g., community centers) in Latino communities. Other research activities have included projects focused on the programmatic aspects limiting Latino participation at a recreation center, the development of life skills in Latino youth, and the cultural competence youth leaders need in order to address challenges arising from an increasingly diverse society. She further collaborates with STEM faculty to improve STEM education in youth programs used by Latino middle- and high-school students. Mariela’s dissertation focused on how the nonprofit sector can be mobilized to increase access to open green space in an urban Latino community, and her future work will focus on the health and well-being of Latinos in rural communities.

Project Name

Examining the health status of rural Latino families and the community, family, and individual factors that impact their health outcomes

Project Description

The research study will explore the health status of Latinos in rural communities. Project aims are to examine: (1) the health status of rural Latino families, and (2) the community, family, and individual factors that promote and constrain positive health outcomes in rural Latino families. The researcher will conduct a systematic review of the literature using a meta-narrative review technique which will include the stages of planning, searching, mapping, appraisal, synthesis, and recommendations.

Research Interests

Dr. Mariela Fernandez’s research interests center on the power inequalities in society and their impact on access to parks and recreation resources in Latino communities, which may further influence Latinos’ health and well-being. Dr. Fernandez is also interested in participatory action research and best practices in empowering the Latino population. Finally, Dr. Fernandez is interested in the role of cross-section partnerships in addressing challenges facing Latino communities.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2016
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

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