Mary E. Mendoza

Division of Home and Community Life/Division of Work and Industry

Mary E. Mendoza is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California-Davis who focuses on environmental and borderlands history.


While at the Smithsonian, Mary is researching for her dissertation which examines the relationship between border fences and the natural environment along the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the course of the twentieth century,the U.S.-Mexico border transformed from a “line in the sand” to a place of increasing physical presence. The twentieth century brought customs stations and fences to channel bodies through a federally regulated space. Over time, fences and check points transformed into walls, buildings, and a network of roads built to control the movement of dynamic nature: people, animals, and pathogens. Mary's dissertation explores this change over time.