Society for Conservation Biology

A global community of conservation professionals

  • Member Login
  • Contact
Forgot Password?
Join Contribute Jobs
working-groups image

SSWG Board Member Biographies

Below is information about the Social Science Working Group Board Members. This information was provided by the Board for use on this web page. For additional information please contact the Board Member or the Communications Chair.

Meredith L. Gore, President

Meredith Gore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University (MSU). Her current research interests focus on public perceptions of wildlife and environmental risk, human-wildlife interactions, community-based natural resource management, conservation criminology, and program evaluation. Members of the Gore lab are currently working researching public perceptions of risk related to human-wildlife interactions in Caprivi, Namibia; risk information seeking and processing regarding wildlife disease in the Midwest; risk and conservation messaging about diving with white sharks; sourcing Hawksbill turtle products using mDNA extraction techniques; and the conservation ethics of post-recovery wolf management in Michigan. Dr. Gore is a member of MSU's Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP) and serves as core faculty with the Center for Advanced International Development (CASID) and the Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen). Dr Gore is member of the Conservation Ethics Group. In addition to leading an annual study abroad program to Madagascar to explore biodiversity conservation and livelihood preservation, she teaches courses on methods and research in human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife conservation; conservation criminology (online); and gender, justice and the environment. Dr. Gore received her PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University, a MA in Environment and Resource Policy from The George Washington University, and a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University.

Shonil Anil Bhagwat - At-Large Representative

Shonil is an environmental geographer with a particular interest in environment and development. His work engages critically with discussions on a variety of key environmental concerns: agriculture and food security, biodiversity conservation, climate change, ecosystem services, and sustainability. It addresses the perceived grand challenges in environment and development within the context of the growing discussion on the Anthropocene, the age of humans. He has over 20 years of experience in conservation in developing countries and the challenges posed by the need to reconcile conservation with human development in these settings. His interest in conservation and development engages closely with cultural and spiritual values of conservation, and one of his foci is on sacred spaces such as sacred natural sites and sacred forest groves that form a meeting point between culture and nature. He has written widely about the culture-conservation-development nexus and his work has been published in leading conservation journals. Shonil recently co-authored a book titled ‘Conservation and Development,’ which was published by Routledge in 2016.

Kate Christen - Board of Governors Liaison

Kate Christen is an environmental historian whose research focuses on the intersecting histories of conservation science and natural resources development and management.  As Graduate and Professional Training Manager at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), she co-develops and implements a suite of training programs and courses in conservation science and related human dimensions topics.  Kate’s scholarly research, professional service, and her work at SCBI and SMSC are informed by her convictions regarding the essential connections among conservation biology and conservation humanities/social sciences.

Ashley Dayer - At-Large Representative

Ashley Dayer is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Dayer's research program focuses on understanding people’s and organizations’ conservation behavior, especially related to private lands habitat conservation, human-wildlife conflict, endangered species management, citizen science, and conservation funding. As part of this research, she explores the role that policy tools, communications, and educational interventions can play in influencing behavior. Dr. Dayer is also an Affiliate Faculty Member in the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech. In relation to global change, she is particularly interested in landowners’ willingness to take action to minimize the impacts of sea level rise on wildlife habitat and the implementation gap between climate adaptation science and resource managers’ decision-making. Dr. Dayer is actively engaged with the wildlife conservation community. She serves as the Co-Chair of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s Human Dimensions Subcommittee and as a member of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s Human Dimensions Working Group, among other roles. Her Lab is also the home to the National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator — a partner – sponsored position to serve the bird conservation community in meaningful integration of social science.

Rebecca Garvoille - At-Large Representative, Secretary

Dr. Rebecca Garvoille is Conservation Social Scientist in Denver Zoo’s Department of Conservation and Research. Dr. Garvoille uses social science theories, methods and approaches to maximize the effectiveness of Denver Zoo’s ecosystem-based conservation programs across the globe. She leads research, programmatic and fundraising initiatives to create culturally appropriate and socially responsive conservation strategies in Mongolia’s Gobi steppe, Botswana’s Central Kalahari region and the Southern Rockies. Trained as an environmental anthropologist, Dr. Garvoille specializes in survey, interview and participatory research focused on the human dimensions of bison recovery and ecological restoration across large landscapes. Currently, one of her foci is examining the connections between urban publics, conservation bison herds and grassland stewardship along Colorado’s Front Range to advance integrative bison conservation, and encourage greater public support for continental-scale bison recovery and grassland restoration across North America. She received her doctorate in 2013 from Florida International University, where she studied the socio-cultural dimensions of Everglades restoration with support from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Garvoille has over eight years of experience working on wildlife management and ecological recovery issues in the Florida Everglades, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the mountain-plains interface of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Prior to joining Denver Zoo, Rebecca was a post-doctoral researcher at Yellowstone National Park where she collaborated with park managers to design and implement Yellowstone’s first systematic social science strategy, and co-founded a project to study co-existence between Yellowstone gateway communities and the Park’s big three charismatic wildlife species. Dr. Garvoille is also trained as an Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation Coach, and leads the development of Denver Zoo’s conservation plans.

Jenny Anne Glikman - At-Large Representative

Jenny Anne Glikman is a social scientist within the Conservation Education Division of the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research (ICR) where her primary role is to develop human dimensions research in Community-Based Conservation Programs worldwide. Dr. Glikman also serves as an instructor in the Advanced Inquiry Program, a master’s program offered through Miami University, Ohio. She two Master's of Science degrees: the first in Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare from Edinburgh University (UK), and the second in Conservation of Biodiversity at La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). She earned a Ph.D. in Human Dimensions of Wildlife from Memorial University (Canada).  Before joining the ICR, Dr. Glikman worked as a professor and researcher in the Human Ecology department at the Cinvestav-Merida University (Mexico).

Kathy Halvorsen - Sociology Representative

Kathy Halvorsen is a Professor of Natural Resource Policy at Michigan Technological University.  She holds a joint appointment to the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and to the Environmental and Energy Policy Graduate Program in the Social Sciences Department.  Her research focuses on policy issues related to biodiversity and to climate change.  Specifically, she has current projects focused on Mexico's payment for hydrologic services program and its impacts on forests and landowners in the cloud forests of Veracruz funded by the National Science Foundation's Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program. She also leads a large research team of social, natural, and engineering scientists and students from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, and the USA.  This team is studying the socioecological impacts of bioenergy development, including impacts on biodiversity and carbon sequestration.  The goal is to recommend policy changes that can better protect human and ecological communities while maximizing the ability of bioenergy projects to help mitigate climate change.  This project has funding from the National Science Foundation's Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program, USAID's PEER program, and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) Coordinated Research Network (CRN3) program.

Christie Lam - Anthropology Representative

Christie Lam is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology in Osaka University, Japan. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Adelaide in Australia and her research focuses on the social and cultural aspects of park-people conflicts in South Asia, specifically Nepal. Dr. Lam’s current projects focus on the welfare impacts of conservation-induced displacement and on the cultural values of land.

Daniel C. Miller – Political Science Representative, Vice President

Daniel C. Miller is Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Dan’s research and teaching focus on international environmental politics and policy.  He is especially interested in understanding the conservation and development impacts of international aid in tropical countries and the political factors that shape those impacts.  He works in a variety of settings around the world, but has a strong geographic interest in Africa and on forests more generally.  Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois, Dan was Senior Forestry Specialist at the Program on Forests at the World Bank.  Before that he was Program Associate for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Rural Community Development Advisor for Yayasan Dian Tama, a local NGO in West Kalimanatan, Indonesia. Dan holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan and undergraduate and Master's degrees in Political Science from the University of Illinois.

Jessica Musengezi- Economics Representative

Jessica is a governance economist with the Human Dimensions Program at the Nature Conservancy. Her work involves developing and piloting approaches to integrate human-wellbeing considerations into planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of conservation projects.  Currently Jessica leads a project to design a devolved social monitoring system to track the impacts of conservation on the indigenous peoples living within the community conservancies of northern Kenya.  Prior to joining the Nature Conservancy, Jessica was an Economics of Ecosystems fellow with Defenders of Wildlife working on on valuing grassland ecosystem services, and developing payments for ecosystem services accessible to ranchers.  Jessica has also conducted research natural resource and development issues in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and the USA on topics including sustainable wildlife use, smallholder agriculture, community-based natural resource management and fisheries management. Jessica was born and raised in Zimbabwe where she developed a love for nature and a deep appreciation for the intricate relationship between people and nature. She holds a PhD and MSc in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida, and a BSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Zimbabwe.

Chris Sandbrook - At-Large Representative

Chris Sandbrook is a political ecologist with diverse research interests around a central theme of biodiversity conservation and its relationship with society. He works as a Lecturer in Conservation Leadership for UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the University of Cambridge. His current research activities can be divided into three areas: (i) investigating trade-offs between ecosystem services at the landscape scale in developing countries, (ii) investigating the role of values and evidence in shaping the decisions of conservationists and their organizations, and (iii) investigating the social and political implications of new technologies for conservation. Chris writes a blog at

Rina Hauptfeld - At-Large Student Representative

Rina Hauptfeld is a doctoral student of interdisciplinary ecology at Colorado State University, with broad interests in social-ecological systems and the influence of collaborative research on conservation outcomes, especially in locally managed systems. As a Fulbright Fellow, her current research investigates the role that participatory biophysical monitoring has on ecological, management, and community outcomes in small coral marine protected areas in the central Philippines. Rina currently serves as a Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellow and works with the Center for Protected Area Management at CSU in cooperation with the National Park Service. Prior to returning to doctoral studies, Rina worked in the U.S., Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and the wider Caribbean, primarily on issues of protected area management, including climate change adaptation planning with EcoAdapt and Fundación Natura, and as a NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Fellow, where she worked with partners to protect the federally listed coral species, and founded a non-profit to facilitate local co-management of the marine reserve. Rina began her career in conservation as a backcountry ranger with the US National Park Service, but developed a love for the marine system at her family's home in Croatia as a child. She holds a Master’s from University of Washington where she investigated the role of a non-native aquaculture oyster in de-coupling resilience of the social-ecological system, and has BS in Environment & Development from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.