AUNE’s CTEC Awards $5400 in Travel Grants for Students to Attend Workshops, Conferences

The AUNE Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) in the Department
of Environmental Studies has issued travel grants totaling $5400 to six student. The grants are issued to defray the cost for students to attend training workshops related to their capstone research projects, or to present their research at a professional conference. The funds are drawn from the CTEC endowment.

As a tuition-driven institution, AUNE students are ultimately responsible for funding themselves through student loans, work, and other resources. The travel fund is designated to support student travel to/from a field site, and/or with participation in a professional conference or training workshop. The small awards (between $500-$2000) are dispersed on a competitive basis and are intended to encourage and support student involvement from the Center in regional, national, and international conferences and symposia.

The travel awards were granted to:

1) Kayla Cranston, PhD candidate  – to attend  the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) 53rd conference entitled “Tropical Ecology and Society: Reconciling Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and Conservation” on June 19-23, 2016, in Montpellier, France, and present her dissertation research.  Two AUNE alumni, Kelly Biedenweg and Nicole Gross-Camp organized a symposium for the ATBC which was accepted, and invited Kayla to present her dissertation research findings at this symposium.  The title of the symposium is “A Brave New World: Integrating Well-being and Justice in Conservation,”  and the title of Kayla’s presentation is “The Psychology of Human Well-being as a Predictor of Long-term Capacity for Conservation. ”

​ 2) Ayshah Kassamali-Fox, MSc candidate – to attend the 2015 Society for Marine Mammalogy 21st Biennial Conference in San Francisco, California, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel, December 13-18.  She’s presenting an oral report on her thesis research which involves evaluating the effects of dolphin watching boats on bottlenose dolphins in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and using Markov chains to model the impacts of tourism on a genetically distinct community.  She is also attending a pre-conference workshop for the Network of Marine Mammal Specialists of Central America and the Caribbean (RIEMMCA), on Saturday, December 11, and giving an oral presentation on the Markov chain analysis of dolphin behavior in Bocas del Toro.

3) Lynn Kimmel, MSc candidate – to attend “Pathways Kenya 2016: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fisheries and Wildlife Management,” sponsored by Colorado State University. The conference will be held at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, from January 10-13.  The sessions concentrate on issues that arise as people and wildlife struggle to coexist in a sustainable manner in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Her oral presentation is  entitled “Conservation  Conflict Transformation in Action: Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflict Affecting the Endangered Grevy’s Zebra in Kenya.” This is also the proposed title for her Master’s thesis, which integrates the fields of Conservation Biology and Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding to address issues of human-wildlife and social conflict.

4)  Erasme Uyizeye, PhD student – to participate in the African Freshwater Entomology Workshop (AFRESH) in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, February 1-7, 2016. The training involves identifying and applying dragonflies and other freshwater insects in environmental monitoring, and his dissertation research will explore using dragonflies as indicators of environmental change in Rwanda.  The workshop is organized in conjunction with researchers of Stellenbosch University and Rhodes University in South Africa.

5) Phillip Dugger, PhD candidate – to train in the lab of Dr. Matthias Schleuning of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt (Main), Germany, studying network analysis techniques.  The outcome will be a collaboration with Dr. Norbert Cordeiro of the Chicago Field Museum and Dr. Schleuning on a network analysis project to analyze a large database on African fig (species of the genus Ficus) and their interactions with animal species (seed dispersers, pollinators, seed predators, and herbivores) resulting in a publication. The network analysis techniques will be applied to his dissertation research, and both Drs. Cordeiro and Schleuning are working with Phillip on his dissertation committee.

6) Luke Dolby, PhD student – to attend the NASFAM GIS Workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi, March 16-18, 2016.  Luke’s research is focused on how new, affordable smart phone services can connect smallholder farmers and increase conservation agriculture.  GIS mapping is vital in measuring the progress of the adoption of the new practice.  This workshop will bring together the key players (AirTel, EMAPSite and NASFAM) to build the online network with GIS mapping tools to enable Luke to collect his data.  The workshop will allow Luke to explore the integration between App (with GIS component) and NASFAM Facebook pages including privacy issues and benefits to NASFAM members through publishing of public data (including conservation agriculture information).

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