I am a current first year Ph.D. student and NSF fellow under Dr. Patricia C. Wright in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences (IDPAS) at Stony Brook University. Originally from Houston, Texas, I received my B.A. in Anthropology and Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013.
I am a primate behavioral ecologist and conservationist invested in primate conservation, particularly as it relates to the interface between primate and human land use. This involves exploring, for example, fragmentation, edge effects, and matrix use of primates in anthropogenic landscapes. As primates and humans increasingly and inevitably come into closer contact, how will primates respond to the need for change, and how may we best mediate any potential primate-human conflict? These and related research questions are relevant not only for an understanding of primate adaptability but, most importantly, for their ability to place primates within their present context: anthropogenic environments. Many primate groups may no longer be viewed as living in pristine habitats, and an understanding of how human influence affects both primate behavior and sustainability is a necessity.
I firmly believe conservation education and development lie at the helm of conservation efforts and am a forever-advocate of incorporating true conservation planning into any biological research project. I am interested in facilitating a love of nature across all ages and in developing culturally-relevant curricula and education programs in primate range countries.
I am thrilled to be collaborating with Centre ValBio, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, Daniella Rabino and Emma Browne on a radio education program sponsored by SOS (Save Our Species). The project, begun February 2016, aims to bring educational lemur- and conservation-based radio programming to the villages surrounding Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar. The radio programs will be paired with educational content aimed at connecting schoolchildren to lemurs in a personal, rather than purely scientific, manner. To read about the project, click here!
My interest in animals began before I knew what the words for animals were and a deep love of primates in particular was fostered soon afterward.
As an undergraduate, I served as research assistant to my professor, Dr. Rebecca Lewis, at her field site in southwestern Madagascar where I conducted ecological plot surveys, behavioral observations, and routine captures of Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi). I later returned to field work as a volunteer for Dr. Anna Nekaris' Little Fireface Project, a long-term behavioral research project of Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus) in an agroforest mosaic in Cipaganti, West Java, Indonesia that incorporates conservation education initiatives and animal market surveys alongside behavioral follows. In the interim between these two projects, I became a Wilderness Explorer at Disney's Animal Kingdom where my role was to engage park guests with animals, nature, and conservation as a Conservation Education Presenter.
Additionally, I am a professional member of both the International Primatological Society (IPS) and Association of American Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) at whose conferences I have given poster presentations. A study of global surveys I conducted alongside Dr. Mariah Hopkins at UT Austin of primate conservation education programs has been published in the American Journal of Primatology. Digital copies of both the publication and my posters may be found here.
Please explore my CV for greater detail.
When not in the lab, hobbies include crafting, swing dance, theater, adjusting to East Coast weather, and wondering where my hobbies went once grad school started.
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Header Image: Fields outside of the village of Cipaganti, West Java, Indonesia
Side Images (top to bottom): A rare primate-less moment in the field, Cipaganti, West Java, Indonesia; Agroforest in Cipaganti, West Java, Indonesia (the home of loris in an anthropogenic environment); Girls hard at work on a conservation education lesson in West Java, Indonesia; Verreaux's sifaka from Dr. Lewis' field site in Madagascar; Meeting up with fellow Wilderness Explorers (Brian, Sarah, and Rachel) at Disney's Animal Kingdom