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Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York. (c) C. van Rees 2016

Throughout my career as a student of ecological science, and more recently as an ecologist, I have become increasingly aware both of the magnitude and extent of human impacts on natural systems, and the tragedy of the biological phenomena being lost, but also of the capacity for society to, in the right circumstances, protect our natural resources and benefit from them sustainably. I have a personal love for natural areas and the ecosystems that they support and a fierce desire to see them protected, not only for their own good but for societal good as well, given the myriad invaluable services that intact ecosystems can provide. Taking inspiration from my personal conservation idols (former President Theodore Roosevelt and Sierra Club founder John Muir chief among them), I have a made a personal commitment to devoting my professional career to the conservation, protection, and restoration of biodiversity.

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Lecturing on Biodiversity conservation at Vietnam National University of Sciences, Hanoi, Vietnam (c) Mae Humiston, 2012

As a scientist, my goal is to conduct sound ecological research that provides quantitative evidence to address key knowledge gaps around important conservation issues. I focus my work on fundamental ecological concepts with applications to contemporary conservation questions, and have undergone interdisciplinary training to allow collaboration across fields for better addressing complex environmental problems. However, my interests as a professional  extend beyond being a broker of information.

I am a firm believer in the power of local communities to make meaningful contribution to conservation efforts and to protect the ecological systems on which they rely. In order to extend my impact as a conservation professional, I seek opportunities to take outreach and leadership roles where I conduct my work, with the goal of educating and empowering people to take action on in their communities. Throughout my graduate tenure, I have engaged in science communication and outreach, volunteered in local conservation projects, and collaborated with non-profit groups to promote conservation education, awareness, and local involvement.

In the future, I hope to increase the impact of my work by cultivating leadership skills and helping to form the sort of large scale, transboundary and interdisciplinary collaborations necessary to solve the major conservation problems of our time.