Communication and Outreach

Interview with Conservation International

Bears Ears National Monument is at risk of being reduced. Image:

In December 2017, President Trump downsized Bears Ears National Monument by 85% – the largest reduction to protected areas in US history. Image:

As President Trump considered Secretary Zinke’s recommendations to shrink or weaken U.S. National Monuments, I sat down with Sopie Bertazzo at Conservation International to discuss the potential consequences of these decisions. Rolling back regulations on National Monuments could leave a damaging legacy on the landscape for generations. Read the interview here.

*Update, December 4, 2017: President Trump announced his decision to downsize two National Monuments – Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante – by more than 2 million acres. This event marks the largest rollback of land protections in US history. Human Nature covered the latest on the damage that this could do for protected areas in the US and around the world.


Interview with Graduate Women in Science

GWIS logo

I gave an interview for Graduate Women in Science as a recipient of the 2017 Adele Lewis Grant Fellowship. Read more about my research project and advice for #WomeninSTEM here.


Communications at #ICCB2017

ICCB 2017

I served as the Chair of the Communications Committee for the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2017 held in Cartagena, Colombia. I led and implemented the communications strategy with a global team, which included social media, engagement with journalists, photography, and videography. You can catch up with the discussions from the conference by browsing #ICCB2017 on twitter and reviewing the conference twitter, facebook, and instagram pages. A fantastic team of local students took photos and videos; view their work here.


Congressional Visits Day

Congressional Visits Day with Senator Van Hollen, AIBS staff, and participants from Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

Congressional Visits Day with Senator Van Hollen, AIBS staff, and participants from Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland. From L-R: Ashley Kennedy (University of Delaware), Sarah Thibault-Sennett (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences), Julie Palakovich Carr (AIBS), Senator Van Hollen, me, and Andrew Battles (University of Rhode Island).

As part of the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition and in partnership with the American Institute for Biological Sciences (AIBS), I participated in the AIBS 2017 Congressional Visits Day. Along with a team of graduate students from Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island, I advocated for continued and amplified support for the National Science Foundation. The key to success of the meetings was to share one’s personal story in science and connect it to the staffer or member’s district and interests.


Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit

Speaking at the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit!

Speaking at the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit on Earth Day!

I gave a “lightning talk” at the Earth Optimism Summit! This inspirational conference encouraged the amplification of success stories in conservation, in lieu of the traditional and unproductive doom-and-gloom narratives. My talk focused on the fact that although protected areas are imperfect and sometimes impermanent conservation solutions, there are many other tools in the conservation toolbox. These include indigenous lands, payments for ecosystem services, and others. We do need more rigorous research, however, to understand how these interventions perform on the ground to ensure that they live up to their conservation and sustainable development promises.


3 Minute Thesis Competition

Chelsie and I with our 3MT awards

Chelsie and I with our 3MT awards

I won second overall in the final round of George Mason University’s 3MT (3 Minute Thesis) competition! My talk entitled Questioning assumptions about protected area permanence was one of about 50 entrants into the competition. I’m so proud of my colleague Chelsie Romulo who took first place!


Media coverage of research

yosemite image

Yosemite National Park. Image source:

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in August 2016, colleagues and I published a paper highlighting the dynamic history of Yosemite National Park. This work sheds new light on past reductions in the park’s size and their legacy for habitat fragmentation. To bring this research to a broader audience, I worked with Conservation International to prepare a press release and was interviewed by a reporter from VICE; the paper was also covered by Mongabay and National Parks Traveler.


Social Media Task Force at IUCN World Conservation Congress

IUCN World Conservation Congress Opening Ceremony

Traditional Hawaiian dance at IUCN World Conservation Congress Opening Ceremony

I served on the Social Media Task Force via Cornell’s Atkinson Center at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. Through this task force, I covered notable presentations and discussions at the Congress on twitter. See @IUCNteam and #IUCNCongress to catch up on Congress highlights!


Article on Paris climate change agreement published in New Security Beat



In October 2015, I published a piece on the Woodrow Wilson Center’s New Security Beat blog. The article, “Managing Expectations for the Paris Climate Conference and Beyond,” provides details about the Paris agreement negotiations and cautions that it will be necessary to keep up the momentum in the long term to achieve key climate targets.


“Nothing in science has any value to society if it is not communicated.” – Anne Roe, 1952