I am a Research Scientist in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. I serve as the National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator, a position funded by partners of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) to increase capacity within the bird conservation community to understand and address the human dimensions of bird and habitat conservation. I work with colleagues across the country to conduct and translate social science research in order to shape the management of shared landscapes for both birds and people. My current projects focus on informing the design of programs and policies that support enduring forest and grassland conservation on private lands and helping state wildlife agencies meaningfully engage diverse constituencies in the governance of public trust resources.
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, I completed a Ph.D. in Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, where I was an NSF IGERT (National Science Foundation, Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) fellow in Genetic Engineering and Society. I developed an interest in the complex and dynamic processes at the intersection of human and environmental systems as an undergraduate at Mercer University, where I completed bachelor’s degrees in biology and sociology. I then took a scenic route to grad school at NC State, traveling first through doctoral work in marine science and conservation, a master’s degree in environmental public health, a job performing amphibian micro-dissections in a physiology lab, and a brief stint as a middle school science teacher.
Drawing on these various experiences and my eclectic interests, I try to bring an integrated and long-term perspective to questions at the nexus of emerging technologies and the governance of natural resources, especially biodiversity.