Where I Come From
Dr. Douglas Rivero (pictured building oyster domes with Tampa Bay Watch) was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the US in 1980 during the contentious Mariel boatlift. His parents sought economic prosperity and the pursuit of the American Dream. However, like many immigrants in the US, his family struggled for a long time trying to make ends meet. Nonetheless, from an early age, Douglas’ father pressed education as a high priority. From history and civil rights to the environment, Douglas was instilled with a love or learning that carries on until this day.
Further, thanks to financial support from the State of Florida (Bright Futures) and the federal government, Dr. Rivero was able to attend and graduate from Florida International University (FIU) with a BA in Environmental Science. Douglas also supplemented his education with real-world experience at AmeriCorps Florida State Parks. Known as the “domestic” Peace Corps, Douglas’ service included providing food to the homeless, disaster assistance, prescribed burns, planting trees, building ADA ramps and much more. While initially pursuing a Masters in Environmental Science, Douglas’ experience at AmeriCorps opened up his eyes regarding the social and economic structures that facilitate environmental degradation, especially as it relates to minority populations. As a result, Dr. Rivero decided that it was time to supplement his environmental education and switched directions to pursue a MA and Ph.D. in Political Science. Currently, Dr. Rivero serves as Faculty Coach of SPC’s award-winning Model UN team. He is also a lead faculty member within SPC’s Center for Community Engagement & Civic Learning. Community engagement projects that he is a part of include the Florida Dream Center and Tampa Bay Watch. Dr. Rivero is also a graduate of Leadership SPC.
Nonetheless, despite his successful career as a college professor, which gives him an amazing platform to help transform the lives of underprivileged students, a void remains. Dr. Rivero feels a burning desire to put his environmental science education and his experience on a variety of environmental projects towards helping to advance environmental sustainability and environmental justice in the Tampa Bay area. Climate change and environmental degradation, especially in marginalized areas, is simply out of control. Therefore, Douglas is committed to finding creative and bold solutions so that future generations can enjoy our wonderful state.
Douglas lives in Tampa, FL with his amazing wife, Vanessa Castrogiovanni. They met in South Florida and have been together for 13 years. Together, they enjoy gardening, bird watching, nature and traveling.