I traveled to Madagascar the first time when I was 16 years old and have returned another 7 times since then. I began by assisting on a carnivore research program focusing on the behavior, density and distribution of Malagasy carnivores (especially the fosa, Cryptoprocta ferox). Throughout my undergraduate years, I would spend my summers in Madagascar, conducting carnivore research, creating environmental education programs, and ultimately creating the first bushmeat research program in Madagascar. Beginning in the summer of 2004 and through collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society, I initiated a bushmeat research program in the Makira Forest in northeastern Madagascar. This forest is the largest remaining tract of rainforest in Madagascar, and a very important source of globally important biodiversity. I was able to assimilate myself into Malagasyculture through my fluency in Malagasy, especially the Betsimisaraka dialect, and this has provided me with a unique ability to conduct this type of research that bridges the fields of ecology, conservation, sociology and public health.
I graduated from Harvard College in 2005 with a degree in Environmental Conservation. Following graduation, I spent over a year continuing with my bushmeat research. This research has been instrumental in assessing the conservation status of mammal populations and for policy makers to develop conservation initiatives. I have traveled widely and have conducted research in Panama and Ghana as well. My primary interests are wildlife ecology, conservation biology, human nutrition, and zoonotic disease transfer. I see my work following a path of investigations of the interconnectivity between bushmeat harvesting, sustainability, conservation policy, food security, and the burden of disease. Currently, I am a joint PhD student in Justin Brashares lab (Ecosystem Sciences) as well as Claire Kremen’s lab (Organisms and Environment).
From 2009-2010, I will be concurrently enrolled as a Masters student
in the School of Public Health to get an MPH in Epidemiology.