Rachel McShane, MS

Rachel Zapf, M.S. StudentEmail Rachel

Research Interests

I have always been fascinated by the complex behavioral repertoire and cognitive capabilities of primates. I had originally set out to study old world monkeys and apes in the context of human evolutionary history, as an Anthropologist. Though I continue to find questions of cognitive capacity and social complexity in primate communities fascinating, I have developed an even deeper personal commitment to the preservation of these amazing animals. Thus, I shifted my focus to understanding primates as part of a broader ecological framework. I am also interested in working with indigenous peoples to create land management plans that are economically feasible yet still afford the greatest possible level of protection to the inhabitants of neighboring forests. My academic focus was on human wildlife conflict, specifically, crop raiding primates around Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda. Conservation efforts in protected areas are unlikely to be successful if local stakeholders are unsupportive or antagonistic towards those efforts. It is essential to understand the relationship between local peoples and endangered primates that may cause conflicts; it is also essential that those involved with park management are informed of specific threats farmers face.

Relevant Experience

St. Charles Community College
Adjunct Professor
Fall 2008;Present

Professional Environmental Engineers, Inc.
Environmental Scientist/Junior Engineer
Fall 2006;Present

NH Army National Guard
Pollution Prevention Intern
Concord, NH
Fall;Spring 2005 and 2006

Earthwatch Institute
Education Department Intern
Maynard, MA
Summer 2005

Center for Biodiversity and Conservation of the American Museum of Natural History
Reviewer for Conservation Biology Teaching Modules
Keene, NH
Spring 2003

Banfield the Pet Hospital
Assistant Veterinary Nurse
Brentwood, MO
Summer 2002

Balinese Macaque Project
Student Researcher (Macaque behavioral ecology)
Bali, Indonesia
Summer 2001

St. Louis Zoo
Research Department and Jungle of the Apes Intern
St. Louis, MO
Summer 2000

Humane Society
Missouri’s Large Animal Rehabilitation Center
Volunteer (caretaker)
Union, MO
Summer 1999

Humane Society of Missouri
Volunteer (pet adoptions counselor)
Macklind Animal Shelter, St. Louis, MO
Summer 1999


Antioch University New England
MS 2008

Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA
Bachelor of Arts, May 2002
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Biology
Cumulative GPA: 3.677
Major GPA: 3.888
Cum Laude
Honors in Major
Academic Distinction
Claire-Sherwood Scholar


  • Pittsburgh Zoo Conservation Fund  $1850 toward thesis research (2007 awardee)
  • American Society of Primatologists  $1500 toward thesis research (2006 awardee)
  • Primate Conservation, Inc.  $1000 toward thesis research (2006 awardee)
  • Antioch University New England Scholarship 2005
  • Semi-Finalist for Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Conservation Fund 2006

Travel/Language Experience

Bali, Indonesia
Five weeks using basic Bahasa Indonesian
Summer 2001

Tijuana, Mexico
Helped build a four-room house for a poor family in association with Amor Ministries
Spring 2000

American Sign Language
Eight week course at Meremac Community College
Summer 2000

St. Louis – Toulouse French Exchange Program
Spring 1997

Four Years of French Language Study
Kirkwood High School

Leadership/Technology/Publication Skills

Community Learning Center Coordinator
Kirkwood R-7 School District

Technology Specialist
Kirkwood R-7 School District

President of FACE – Feminists Advocating Change and Empowerment
Whitman College

Layout Editor and Poetry Selection Editor
Blue Moon, Whitman’s art and literary magazine

The Source, a Whitman publication distributed to all incoming freshman
Spring 1999

National Youth Leadership Conference
Served as caucus leader for my mock-caucus group
Washington D.C.
Fall 1997

Infographics Editor
The Call, Kirkwood’s High School newspaper