After receiving my BS in Evolution and Ecology from UC Davis, I became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. While there I had the opportunity to work with amazing people on issues related to agriculture, conservation, and environmental education. This experience sparked my interest in the social-ecological dynamics of natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, especially in community-based conservation. After returning to the US, I went back to school and received my MS in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. I then worked at the National Zoo in Washington, DC coordinating a science outreach program for underserved audiences and working with youth on environmental monitoring projects in Rock Creek Park. I was able to work in a number of communities as well as aspiring future scientists and conservation practitioners.
Considering that my Peace Corps experience helped develop my academic interests, I’m very excited that my research will take me back to Panama. I will be working in a watershed area in central Panama looking at: agricultural systems and sustainable development practices of farming groups; environmental perceptions; and environmental policies associated with watershed and protected area management. I look forward to collaborating with other Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS) students working in the area.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of the ABS program as I have the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research to inform biodiversity conservation. I also enjoy interacting with other ABS students and being inspired by the interesting work they do to bridge the natural and social sciences as they address the challenges of biodiversity conservation.