Yves Gakunde, MS '12

Conservation Biology

Students Who Inspire Us

Each AUNE department annually chooses a graduating student who has been an inspiration to a faculty member. We featured these students in the 2011-12 AUNE Annual Report and share their comments and the comments of the faculty members with you here.

Yves Gakunde:

One of the motors of my life is to dream high, work hard, be positive no matter the circumstances, and believe that I can achieve something!

I was born in Rwanda and joined AUNE in August 2010, after spending two years working for the Conservation Biology Education Project at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), funded by the MacArthur Foundation. In 2006, as an undergraduate student in the NUR Biology Department, I worked on a senior thesis research under the supervision of Beth Kaplin from AUNE and Dr. Elias Bizuru from the NUR.

When I came to AUNE for a master’s degree program, I was impressed by every community member I met. Through the Sustainable Development and Climate Change program, I took interesting classes that empowered me with skills needed in my home country and other developing countries. Albeit the program and life were challenging, I enjoyed my time within the AUNE community. I learned not only from my professors and classmates but from everyone I had a chance to talk to.

One of the motors of my life is to dream high, work hard, be positive no matter the circumstances, and believe that I can achieve something!


Beth Kaplin, core faculty, Department of Environmental Studies:

Yves… is committed to returning to Rwanda to help his country develop capacity for natural resources conservation.

Yves Gakunde came to AUNE as a foreign student and learned English only a few years ago. Yet he has done an exemplary job of putting together his internship in Rwanda, studying payments for ecosystem services, and then doing his capstone here in the United States on a group project. He also took a lot of initiative, volunteering with the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation and the Student Alliance, and singing in River Valley singers. He also became involved in the Clinton Global Initiative University, which was a great honor as well.

Yves wants to earn a PhD now that he has had a taste of master of science work, and he is committed to returning to Rwanda to help his country develop capacity for natural resources conservation.

Yves! is committed to returning to Rwanda to help his country develop capacity for natural resources conservation.

-February 2013