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Where are they now? Stefania Escobar, EMTM 2017-2019

November, 20 2023
EMTM 2017-2019 Where are they now? EMTM Alumni

EMTM Alumni go in different directions after they graduate. In the blog series "Where are they now?" EMTM Alumni share their career development stories.

Stefania Escobar from generation 2017-2019 shares about her PhD journey after completing the EMTM program.

Where are they now? Stefania Escobar, EMTM 2017-2019

Name: Stefania Escobar
Country: Italy
Bachelor’s degree: Political Science

- Why did you decide to apply for the EMTM program?

The idea to apply for EMTM came up while looking for Erasmus Mundus programs. I was excited about the idea of a Master's degree with a full mobility scheme with a new university and new country every semester. I stumbled upon EMTM which was a program that explored my biggest interests: sustainability, policy and tourism.

- What is your best EMTM memory?

EMTM gifted me with so many incredible memories that it is extremely hard to pick one. We had incredible field trips where we got to see what our role in the industry could be and how the knowledge acquired during classes could be applied to real destinations. 

- Why did you decide to pursue a PhD after EMTM?

I did not start my PhD right away, I wanted to get an understanding of the industry by exploring its flaws, needs and opportunities. After that, the idea of a PhD came up naturally as I was always curios of enquiring further, and I knew I had to dig deeper to gain a full perspective and start building a career with a true impact.

- What is your PhD about and what do you like the most about this journey? What are your main tasks?

My PhD is in Economics and Management and I focus on how tourism systems can become a tool for community development by exploring how urban development strategies combine technologies for the development of smart cities that address and tackle the tourism impact. Many cities suffer from an inadequate management of tourism which turns tourism from being an opportunity for local development to a burden on city resources and infrastructures.

The main tasks that I am currently undertaking include interacting with experts in policy development as well as tourism and urban development and gather their insights on urban challenges and opportunities. I also participate to different events to collect information about different cities and their specific challenges. I develop frameworks and recommendations on how to integrate tourism in cities' strategies based on the knowledge gathered combining my research with experts assessments.

As part of my PhD, I also need to connect with several universities and researchers. Therefore, I spent time in two different universities as a visiting researcher. Last year, I spent some months at the University of Aveiro under the wonderful guide of Professor Carlos Costa where I had the chance to study cases of smart cities in Portugal. This year, I am spending the fall semester at the New York University where I am working on several research projects with Professor Christopher Gaffney.

- What is your career goal?

I would like to keep working on how to make tourism a tool for community development and explore the exciting opportunities that technologies have to offer. I see myself as a researcher which is a very hybrid and dynamic role as it could be pursued at a university level or at a government level. I think my main goal is to build a career where my research becomes a helpful tool for cities to understand the value of tourism for community development and avoid to suffer from it.

Questions answered by Stefania Escobar (Italy), Alumna of EMTM Generation 2017-2019

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