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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.

Tara Teel - President, Psychology Representative

Dr. Tara Teel is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. Her research and outreach have primarily been directed at improving conservation planning and decision-making through an understanding of human thought and behavior and through building social science capacity among conservation professionals. Examples of recent research pursuits include an examination of values toward wildlife in the United States for the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), serving on an investigator team to explore wildlife values globally, and a study of visitor and resident perceptions of sea turtle conservation strategies in Ogasawara, Japan. Capacity building efforts include coordination of a WAFWA-sponsored certification program providing social science training to wildlife agency employees in North America, provision of social science training to conservation practitioners as part of the Fifth Brazilian Congress on Protected Areas in 2007, and development of an SSWG-sponsored social science short course for the SCB annual meetings in South Africa (2007) and Tennessee (2008). Dr. Teel teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of natural resources tourism, theory in human dimensions of natural resources, and survey research methods and statistical analysis. She received her Ph.D. in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, with emphasis in social psychology, from Colorado State University and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Utah State University.

Daniel Miller – Political Science Representative & SSWG Secretary

Daniel C. Miller is a doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.  His research focuses on how governance and politics shape conservation and development outcomes in the context of global climate change, with an emphasis on the role of external funding agencies.  His primary geographic areas of interest include West Africa and Southeast Asia.  Before beginning his PhD studies, Dan served for five years as Program Associate for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  His work at MacArthur centered on grantmaking around the themes of the social context of conservation and adapting conservation in the face of climate change.  Prior to that, he worked as a rural community development advisor for Yayasan Dian Tama, a local NGO, in Indonesian Borneo.  Dan earned his Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

David Hoffman - Education Committee Chair, Anthropology Representative

David M. Hoffman is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University. He teaches cultural anthropology courses for both undergraduates and graduate students in MSU's applied anthropology program. David has conducted ethnographic research in Costa Rica, the state of Quintana Roo , Mexico and in Iceland . His current research is focused on local, contextual analyses of human migration to park and protected area edges in Costa Rica. His dissertation research focused on the relationship of local attitudes and behaviours to the co-management of a marine protected area in Quintana Roo , Mexico. David was first trained in Cultural Anthropology (M.A., 2000, University of Colorado), and has a further specialization in maritime cultures and peoples, coastal conservation, sustainable development and community-based resource management (Interdisciplinary Certificate in Development Studies, 2005; Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Colorado, 2006). Before coming to Mississippi State University, he was an assistant professor for two years at the University for Peace in Costa Rica, where he taught in the Dual Master's Programme in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development shared with American University in Washington D.C.

Robin Roth - Membership Committee Chair, Geography Representative

Robin Roth is an Associate Professor of Geography at York University in Toronto, Canada where she has served as undergraduate program director and the editor of the York Center of Asian Studies Working Paper Series. Most of her research has focused on the conservation of inhabited landscapes and conservation conflict in Northern Thailand with her most recent project aimed at understanding the factors influencing different livelihood decisions of farmers living inside national parks and measuring the associated social and ecological outcomes. Dr. Roth has a strong interest in indigenous knowledge and mapping and is currently developing research on the production and circulation of different kinds of knowledge in conservation governance. Dr. Roth holds a BA hons in Geography from University of Victoria, Canada and a PhD in Geography from Clark University, USA.

Meredith L. Gore, Conservation Commitee Chair, At-Large Representative

Meredith Gore is an Assistant 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.

Ashwini Chhatre - Policy Committee Chair, At-Large Representative

Ashwini Chhatre is primarily interested in the role of institutions in mediating human-environment interactions at scales ranging from the individual to global. His training and research reaches across the disciplines – economics, political science, anthropology, geography, conservation biology, landscape ecology – and is located in the emerging field of sustainability science. Ongoing research projects include 1) Long-term impact of redistributive land reforms on environment, development, and democracy, 2) Role of forest commons in simultaneously producing livelihoods, sequestering carbon, and conserving biodiversity in mixed-use landscapes, 3) The conceptualization of democracy as the emergent property of complex adaptive networks of public, civic, and market institutions, and 4) role of access of vulnerable groups to local institutions and cross-scale articulation between institutions in facilitating self-organized adaptation to climate variability and change. Chhatre is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Douglas A. Clark - At-Large Representative

Douglas A. Clark holds the Centennial Chair in Human Dimensions of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan's School of Environment and Sustainability, where he is an Assistant Professor. He is also a Research Affiliate with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative in Jackson, Wyoming. Prior to his academic career he spent 11 years as a Canadian national park warden, serving in six different parks and twice receiving Parks Canada's Award of Excellence. His research program focuses on improving management practice and policy for wildlife and ecosystems, with a geographic focus on the circumpolar north that is now rapidly expanding regionally and internationally. His professional goal is to help others improve their ability to comprehensively tackle the multiple dimensions of conservation problems, particularly the human dimensions.

Thomas Heberlein - Sociology Representative

Thomas Heberlein is a Professor Emeritus at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US and also works in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden. He has just published a book with Oxford University Press titled ‘Navigating Environmental Attitudes’ and has a long standing interest in the improved integration of natural and social sciences.

Aurelie Delisle - Economics Representative

With two Masters degrees, one in conservation biology and the other in economics and a PhD in Environmental Science and Economics, Aurelie joins the board with a clear interest in strengthening the application of economics to conservation science and practice. Her PhD research at James Cook University in Australia is on the economics of indigenous hunting systems, looking at the complex interaction between socio-economic context, value systems, livelihoods, migration and natural resource management. She currently works for CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Australia.

Crista Johnson - At-Large Student Representative

Crista Johnson is a PhD student in Geography at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US. As a primatologist she has conducted extensive fieldwork in Indonesia, Kenya and South Africa.  Her Master of Arts degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University focused on the peace-building potential of primate conservation initiatives in conflict zones of Central Africa.  For her doctoral work, she wishes to explore the intricacies of wildlife conservation in socially stratified societies with a particular focus on identity, race and social justice. As our newly-elected student representative, she is interested in supporting SSWG student members to pursue and strengthen interdisciplinary links between social and conservation studies at their own institutions.