I am currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences, working in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Lab. As the title of my chosen lab implies, I am interested in the Human aspects of biodiversity conservation; specifically the impacts of decisions made by private landowners in relation to the utilization and management of their property on freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Utilizing a coupled systems approach, my research examines the linkages between human social and ecological systems for the purpose of understanding how Human behavior influences the surrounding environment and the mitigation of its impacts. Understanding Human behavior in relation to the natural environment is an important aspect of fostering sustainable and resilient Human and natural systems.
My dissertation research will utilize a spatially explicit, agent based, model of landowner decisions in Southern California. I am interested in understanding the factors constraining landowners from enrolling in conservation programs and conducting best management practices, as well as the antecedents leading to changing land-uses, varying rates of water consumption and water resource development; including Human value systems, social norms and economics. Ultimately the goal of this work is to better understand how Human decisions impact aquatic wildlife habitats and populations through the provisioning of water resources, and predict how variation in the provisioning of water resources will impact aquatic wildlife habitats and populations in the future.
During my time at Texas A&M, in addition to my own research, I have had the opportunity to participate in research related to Texas fisheries management and Texas anglers, wildfire risk management in Southern California, and public perceptions of feral hogs in the big ticket region of East Texas.
Prior to arriving to Texas A&M and the Applied Biodiversity Science program, I have had a wide range work and educational experiences in both the social and natural sciences. I first received a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, N.Y. After completing my undergraduate degree I continued my education along a slightly different path, receiving a Master’s of Science in Education from Nazareth College of Rochester.
Having worked as both a biologist and naturalist/environmental educator over the past several years, in addition to my diverse educational experiences, has given me a wide perspective on the importance of both Human and natural aspects of biodiversity conservation. Having a strong desire to conduct collaborative, integrative research in biodiversity conservation, I was drawn to the ABS program. I look forward to working with fellow students, ABS faculty, conservation practitioners and citizens alike in trying to solve the pressing issues of biodiversity loss and resource conservation facing our world today.