Laurie A. Leshin Global Project Center 106C

William San Martín

The Global School
Assistant Professor-Interdisciplinary
Affiliated Department or Office
Community Climate Adaptation MS Program
Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Great Problems Seminars
Ph.D. University of California, Davis (2017)
M.A. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2011)
B.A. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2006)

William San Martín (He/Him/El) is an interdisciplinary scholar of earth-systems sciences and global environmental governance trained in history, international politics & relations, and science & technology studies (STS). His work focuses on international development; Latin America & the Global South; socio-environmental (in)justices; and science, technology & the human environment. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Earth Systems Governance Project.

William is a former Fulbright Scholar (2011-2015); a Visiting Scholar and a Postdoctoral Associate jointly affiliated with the program of Science, Technology, and Society and the History Section at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2016-2018); and a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (2021). 

William's main research focuses on global nitrogen governance with particular attention to issues of expertise, sustainable development policy, and inequalities in the Global South. His research asks questions about the imbalances of knowledge, agencies, and power in the governance of earth-human interactions. He examines the unequal place of expert communities, science-policy interface frameworks, and research and governmental institutions in the governance of biogeochemical processes on earth—as processes linked to lasting issues of (under)development and colonialism.

Born and raised in Chile, William has vast experience in policy-oriented research and building collaborations with international organizations and communities. He received his B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2011) in History from the Universidad Católica de Chile and a Ph.D. in Latin American and World History at the University of California Davis (2017) with a focus on international agricultural development, U.S. - Latin America relations, science diplomacy, and environmental sustainability. William has conducted research in Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States.

Across academic projects and institutional collaborations, William is interested in the multiple forms issues of rights, justice, and democracy take in the formation of global environmental issues.Before focusing his attention on contemporary environmental issues, William worked on questions regarding race equity, slavery, legal systems, and state formation in the 18th and 19th centuries across the North Atlantic and the Americas. Today, he integrates many of the discussions from colonial, postcolonial and development studies, critical race theory, history and sociology of state formation, and the social history of law and policy into his teaching and scholarship. In doing so, he aims to highlight areas that tend to be overlooked in modern scholarly and public environmental governance debates, such as political economy, inequalities, violence, and colonialism. 

William is co-editor, along with Emily O'Gorman, Mark Carey, and Sandra Swart, of the Routledge Handbook of Environmental History (under contract), and author of various peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published in fields including history of science and technology, political ecology, environmental studies, sustainable development, and Latin American studies. He currently curates the collections "Technology and Expertise" and "Histories across Species" for Arcadia, the online, peer-reviewed journal of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

William is a contributing author to the International Nitrogen Assessment (INA), the first global assessment addressing issues at the intersection of nitrogen science, management, and governance. Set for publication in 2022, INA is a major output from the International Nitrogen Management System Project (INMS), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). William is also a Steering Council Member for the North American Chapter of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI). INI is an international program sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) aiming to produce scientific advice to minimize nitrogen’s harmful effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production. 

At WPI,  he is an affiliated faculty with the MS Community Climate Adaptation, the International & Global Studies, and the Great Problems Seminar Programs, and a Steering Committee Member of WPI's Latin American & Caribbean Studies Initiative. He has served as a faculty advisor for Interactive Qualifying Projects working with local organizations at the intersection of sustainable development, environmental conservation, and climate resilience at WPI's Costa Rica - Monteverde Project Center

Laurie A. Leshin Global Project Center 106C
Professional Highlights & Honors
Research Fellow
Earth Systems Governance Project
Carson Fellow
Rachel Carson Center for Environment & Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, German Ministry of Education & Research
Co-PI Project: Enhancing STEM Curriculum with Latin American and Caribbean Studies
U.S. Department of Education. International Studies and Foreign Language Program
EHCA Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental History

WPI-sponsored travel is all travel by WPI students, faculty, and staff that is part of academic, scholarly, or business work in which the traveler is representing WPI, that is funded, in whole or in part by WPI funds (regardless of purpose) or by a grant, foundation, company, or other university. Such travel may include, but is not limited to travel for: teaching, research, academic study, attendance at a conference, official global project programs, internships, volunteer or work programs and other experiential learning, field studies, performances, athletic contests, or trips abroad in connection with a WPI-recognized student organization, academic or administrative unit.

Start Expanded
Global Lab Fellowship Program
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Global Lab.
Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship for Excellence Award
University of California, Davis, Division of Social Sciences.
Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Dissertation Improvement Grant
University of California, Davis, Institute for the Social Sciences (ISS)
Doctoral Scholarship

Deans, Department Heads, and Division Heads are responsible for ensuring that students, faculty and staff are aware of and adhere to process below and have reviewed the domestic travel considerations below.

WPI-sponsored domestic travel (travel within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii) is permitted for all students, faculty, and staff provided:

  1. The traveler completes a spend authorization in Workday, if WPI-sponsored travel expenses are expected to exceed $1,000.
  2. The traveler follows all applicable state, territorial, and local requirements  for their destination before and during travel.
  3. The traveler follows the MA Travel Advisory and WPI’s onboard testing process outlined below upon return to Massachusetts and WPI, or the applicable state, territorial, and local requirements for the state to which they are returning (if not Massachusetts).
    • WPI’s onboarding process:

      • If you are fully vaccinated and have entered your vaccination information into Workday or Medicat, you may simply come back to campus and get tested the day you return. You do not need work from home while awaiting results.
      • If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to complete onboard testing before you return to campus which involves scheduling two testing appointments, four days apart, immediately following your return. After the first test, go home until you receive a negative test result. When you have received that negative test result, you may resume activities on campus while waiting for the second test result.
Start Expanded
Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 1: No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

No Poverty Goal

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 2: Zero Hunger - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Zero Hunger Goal

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Clean Water and Sanitation Goal

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Affordable and Clean Energy Goal

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Decent Work and Economic Growth Goal

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries

Reduced Inequalities Goal

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Responsible Consumption and Production Goal

SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG 13: Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate Action Goal

SDG 14: Life Below Water

SDG 14: Life Below Water - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Life Below Water Goal

SDG 15: Life on Land

SDG 15: Life on Land - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Life on Land Goal

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Goal

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Partnerships for the Goals