Stronza lab

Meet the students

Here are some of the wonderful students I have advised at Texas A&M. We’ve learned so much together! See my C.V. for a list of projects and publications. Additional graduate students whose committees I have chaired include: Katherine Dennis (PhD., 2016, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences), Moses Masake (M.S., 2018, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M, Ecoexist Fellow), and Patricia Mokotedi (PhD in progress, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences). Students I have co-mentored as Ecoexist Fellows at other universities include: Rocio Pozo (PhD, 2017, Zoology, University of Oxford, with Prof. Tim Coulson), and Susanne Vogel (PhD, 2018, Zoology, University of Oxford, with Prof. Tim Coulson), Albertina Mogotsi (PhD, 2020, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources), Anastacia Makati (M.S., in progress, University of Cape Town).

Otshabile Bahetoleng
PhD Student, Ecology and Conservation Biology

Otshabile Bahetoleng is a PhD student in the project “Understanding and Supporting Human-Wildlife Coexistence in Ghanzi Wildlife Management Areas.” For her doctoral research work she is interested in understanding communal coping mechanisms among groups of cattle syndicates who practice livestock rearing in the western Kalahari region of Botswana. She is taking an ethnographic approach to understanding how cooperation, between wildlife authorities, local residents and conservation agencies, can be the root of coexistence. Her work will contribute to the ways that international conservation agencies work with the grain to build upon the existing level of farmer-carnivore coexistence in Botswana. Otshabile completed her Master’s degree in Environment & in 2017 at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her BSc was in Ecology, at the University of East Anglia, UK.

Amir Poudel
PhD Student, Ecology and Conservation Biology

Amir is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist with experience in wildlife conservation, human-wildlife conflict and co-existence, indigenous knowledge system, climate change adaptation, livelihood improvement, and rural development. He earned his B.S in Environmental Science from Kathmandu University in 2003 and M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2008. He has worked in consulting and non-profit sectors in Nepal for over 15 years. He is also an adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University since 2009 teaching climate change adaptation, Sustainable Community Development, and an on-site field course in Nepal. His work in Nepal with many agencies made him interested in the areas of human-wildlife conflict and coexistence. Under the supervision of Dr. Stronza, he is studying human-macaque interactions in the mid-hills ofNepal. He aims to learn the deep coexistence strategies and entanglements between the Nomadic Raute community and monkeys. He is also examining human-macaque interactions in relation to the two major socio-ecological shifts in the mid-hills - namely community forestry development and rural to urban human migration.

Joseph E. Mbaiwa, PhD
Professor of Tourism Studies
Okavango Research Institute
University of Botswana

Joseph earned his PhD in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M. He is Director of the Okavango Research Institute University of Botswana and a Professor of Tourism Studies. He is widely published in tourism development, community-based natural resource management, rural livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. He serves on the editorial board of South African Geographical Journal, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, and the Journal of Ecotourism, among others. Dr. Mbaiwa was a taskforce member appointed by Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, and Tourism to prepare a proposal dossier that resulted in the Okavango Delta being listed as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dr. Erin Buchholtz
Assistant Unit Leader
US Geological Survey-South Carolina Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit Clemson, SC

Erin earned her BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Texas A&M University (co-advised by Lee Fitzgerald & Amanda Stronza). She completed her doctoral research on elephant landscape use and human-elephant interactions in the western Okavango Panhandle of Botswana as part of the TAMU Applied Biodiversity Science Program and the Ecoexist Project. Her research continues to focus on landscape ecology and connectivity, and she has applied this to a variety of conservation and management issues, including wildlife populations and movement, invasive species proliferation, and wildfire spread.

Dr. Michael Petriello
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Center for Science and Society
Columbia University

Mike is an interdisciplinary conservation social scientist with a diverse background in wildlife sciences, forestry, and environmental anthropology. He received his B.S. in biology and M.S. in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University from his work with Amanda and the Applied Biodiversity Science program. His experiences with farmers (campesinos) in Latin America drove him to pursue a career dedicated to understanding the roles, representation, and contributions of underrepresented cultures to conservation. This focus motivates all of his work ranging from campesino hunting cultures and empowerment to knowledge co-production.

Dr. Naho Maruyama 
Professor, Regional and Tourism Policy 
Takasaki City University of Economics, Japan
IG: @maruyamazemi.tcue

Naho’s research interest includes tourism and ethnic minorities, residents` perception to ethnic tourism, and World Heritage Site and tourism. Her current research focuses on residents` attitudes towards tourism in Korean and Brazilian neighborhoods throughout Japan. Her work has appeared in Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Management, and International Journal of Tourism Research.

Dr. Carter Hunt
Associate Professor
Recreation, Park, & Tourism Management, and Anthropology
Latin American Studies Program
Penn State University

Carter’s research interests focus on biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development, and nature-based tourism. He explores these themes through the lenses of environmental anthropology, the anthropology of tourism, and conservation psychology.

Dr. Lauren Redmore
Research Social Scientist
Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Lauren Redmore is a conservation social scientist who works at the intersection of natural resource management and rural development, including in the context of forestry, freshwater fisheries, and wildlife. Lauren obtained her Ph.D. in May 2020 from Texas A&M in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, with a certificate from the Applied Biodiversity Sciences program. For her dissertation as a Fulbright student researcher, an Ecoexist Fellow and a student of Dr. Stronza, Lauren examined drivers and consequences of human-elephant interactions. Prior to starting her Ph.D., Lauren spent six years working in Francophone Cameroon, including three years as a Peace Corps agroforestry volunteer and three years managing wildlife conservation projects. Lauren holds her MS in Forest Resources from Oregon State University where she studied women’s experiences in forest ownership and management. Lauren currently works at the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment in Taylorsville, California, where she works on forestry and rural development projects in the Sierra Nevada.

Dr. Kristin Hurst
Assistant Professor Geography and Environmental Resources

Kristin is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Behavior and Sustainability in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on understanding how social-psychological factors influence engagement with environmental issues. Kristin received her Master’s degree from Texas A&M in 2013, where she was affiliated with the Applied Biodiversity Science program. For her thesis, she took an qualitative approach to study perceptions of water scarcity in rural Mexico. She went on to earn a Ph.D. from the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech in 2019.

Dr. Nick Jacobsen
Applied Biodiversity Science Program
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Doctoral Program

Nick is a conservation social scientist who focuses his teaching and research on understanding human-environment interactions. Nick completed his B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Rice University, and he received his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University from the Applied Biodiversity Science program. His dissertation research investigated human-lion conflict in the Okavango Delta Region of Botswana, and was more specifically on how national and international policies shaped local people’s interactions with and attitudes toward large predators. Before graduate school Nick participated in field-based research projects in California, Peru, South Africa, and Ethiopia, all focusing on mammalian carnivore ecology and conservation. In his free time, Nick enjoys camping and hiking, travel, and basketball (mostly watching these days).

Dr. Fernanda Pegas

Fernanda completed her PhD in 2009 in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences. She completed her MS in Forest Social Sciences at Oregon State University and her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Hawai'i Pacific University. She conducted 12 months of field research in her home country of Brazil, studying the effects of ecotourism as a strategy to create conservation incentives and economic support for local communities. She has published numerous articles from her dissertation, Sea Turtle Conservation and Community Participation in Brazil. She lives in Australia with her family.