Current Graduate Students


Katelynn F photoKatelynn Frei, CTEC Education Coordinator
MS Candidate Conservation Biology

I have always been interested in small to medium sized mammals both in tropical and desert areas. This interest started during my undergraduate studies at Angelo State University in west-central Texas. I worked with using remote-infrared camera traps to take mammalian surveys and to study habitat preferences between hog-nosed skunks and nine-banded armadillos. During the summer of 2012, I went on a trip to Costa Rica and Panama and used the camera traps for a continued survey on diurnal and nocturnal mammals. Since then, I have been interested in the distribution, habitat preferences, density, and conservation of nocturnal mammals. The skills that I am currently obtaining now and that I have learned in my undergraduate will help me provide further knowledge for conserving land for the mammals that have cryptic lifestyles.

My proposed master’s thesis will be to use remote infrared camera traps to assess the distribution, density, and diversity of nocturnal primates in the Albertine Rift of southeastern Africa.


AlysaHansen-smAlysa Hansen
MS Candidate Conservation Biology

I am interested in human-wildlife conflict, specifically as it occurs in Africa with large carnivores. Across Africa many large carnivore populations are rapidly declining due to their natural habitat being converted into human-dominated landscapes. The large home ranges of these carnivores make it unlikely that populations can be sustained solely within protected areas. Thus, land adjacent to protected areas is critical in conserving carnivore population levels but unfortunately it is in these adjacent lands where humans and carnivores come into conflict. My interest in African carnivores started during my undergraduate studies at Hendrix College in central Arkansas. Under the Odyssey Program at Hendrix College I was able to travel to South Africa to volunteer at the African Dawn Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary serves as a rehabilitation and release center and also has an endangered breeding program. Currently I am interested in human-carnivore conflict in eastern Africa and the effectiveness of deterrents in reducing livestock depredation.

McArd Joseph photo

McArd Joseph Mlotha
PhD Candidate Environmental Studies

My interest includes advanced Geographical Information Science applications for environmental conservation and management. Specifically, I am interested in analyzing tropical ecosystems, Climate change impacts, land use history, land use and land cover change assessment linked to socio-economic analysis, landscape ecology, geo-database management and teaching GIS/remote sensing related courses for natural resources management. Currently am working on vegetation mapping for Nyungwe National Park and analyzing land use/land cover change impacts upon ecosystem services in montane tropical forest of Rwanda focusing on forest carbon assessment and mapping.


RuskAdam Rusk, Former CTEC Research Coordinator MS Candidate Conservation Biology

I have always been interested in large scale conservation and how humans fit in as a piece in the greater scheme. Pairing this with my interest for technology and it’s integration into conservation I have found my niche in geographic information systems, remote sensing, and quantitative analysis. During my undergraduate career I was introduced to advanced analysis and modeling techniques and their play in understanding how organisms interact with the environment. Since then I have looked for more ways to understand large scale phenomena and collect big data to improve our interactions with the environment at a landscape scale. The opportunities I have at Antioch University New England and the skills I am developing for my thesis will allow me to integrate conservation and technology in a way which might inform management and conservation practices at an ever larger spatial extent.

My proposed master’s thesis will be using LiDAR derived three-dimensional forest metrics to model bat species distribution across New England.


NicoleNicole Wengerd
PhD Candidate Environmental Studies

My early academic career focused on my passion for people. My undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Richmond fostered strong community relationships and taught me important lessons about social justice. Following my bachelors, I pursued a Peace Corp’s Master’s International degree in Sociology, with a focus on Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED), from Illinois State University. My master’s research was conducted in conjunction with my Peace Corps service in Gondar, Ethiopia, where I lived for two years. It was in this time that I began to understand how my early passion for social justice was inherently tied to the environment. This curiosity is what motivated me to apply for the Environmental Studies Ph.D program at Antioch University.

 Since entering the program, I have been able to nurture that curiosity into a well-developed research inquiry. In the broadest sense, my research looks at the link between environment and local institutions. More specifically, I am interested in how socio-cultural institutions can be utilized to improve the conservation of biocultural diversity. My current research project is located in the area surrounding the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in south central Tanzania, and is in partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam, connected through the Regional Network of Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift (RNCEAR).

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Christina Wesolek
PhD Candidate Environmental Studies

I am interested in the natural history, conservation efforts and human impact on animal species ; some species of interests are: sea turtles, whales, Lesser Adjutant Storks, birds of prey, moose, elephants, rhinos, and big cats. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Bronx, NY. I received my Master’s degree in Comparative Psychology from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. During my graduate work, I studied comparative hearing in mammal species.

I spent two years working with African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as a Research Scientist. I have also been an Environmental Day Camp Director for Massachusetts Audubon Society, and worked as the Curatorial Assistant for the Bird Department at the Bronx Zoo in NYC. I have traveled and worked with youth programs in both China and Japan. Presently, I am the Director for Alumnae/i Relations, and an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Natural Sciences at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.

After visiting Antioch in 2001, I finally entered the Environmental Studies Ph.D. program at Antioch New England in 2012. I look forward to pursuing research in sea turtle conservation, and how it is impacted by global environmental change, and the connection and involvement with local communities. I am also working with Beth Kaplin as the Assistant Network Coordinator for the Regional Network of Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift (RNCEAR).

William_PhotoApollinaire William, CTEC Program Manager
PhD Candidate Environmental Studies

I am interested in participatory and action research, working with local communities and stakeholders at various levels, through interdisciplinary platform, to address local environmental problems, within a framework of integrated watershed management, using various skills that include GIS and remote sensing, and hydrological modeling tools. I am also interested in empowering young scholars and women to address current environmental challenges through their active engagement in a research process, by providing them with skills and tools needed to make their participation more effective. Climate adaptation and mitigation, food security, biodiversity conservation with focus on primates, birds, and amphibians are at the core of my interests.

My research project is based in the northern province of Rwanda. A region that experiences frequent floods disasters. Food security in the region is at stake in the face climate change, poverty and blooming population in the region. My research taps into local community groups’ and stakeholders’ investigates perspectives with regards to the nature of climate change, approaches to better address the challenge for food security and biodiversity conservation. The research empowers local stakeholders by offering to them low-cost tools and skills needed locally for effective monitoring and analysis of climate change in the region and by engaging them through the whole process of the research.

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