Above photo courtesy of current CONS student Liz Shotman. 

Krista Heiner; PPCN (2013 MS/MPP Candidate)

Current Status: Krista is currently working on completing her scholarly paper. Her paper is focused on analyzing the problems and successes with local natural resources management agreements in Mali and Senegal. It follows the research she has done as a Fulbright Fellow (see below). These agreements are supposed to empower citizens at the local level to design rules for natural resource management that are locally legitimate and enforceable. The thought is that promoting this type of decentralized management will allow for the rational use of resources, improve local democratic decision making, and contribute to poverty alleviation. However, in practice this is not always the case.

Recent Conservation Experience: Krista was on a Fulbright Fellowship during the 2011-2012 school years where she studied local natural resource management agreements in Mali and Senegal. She worked with Professor Moussa Djiré at the Groupe d’Etude et Recherche en Sociologie et Droit Appliqué (GERSDA) at the University of Bamako and Dr. Papa Faye at the Initiative Prospective Agricole Rurale (IPAR) in Dakar, Senegal. Krista conducted informal and semi-structured interviews in rural villages, met with representatives of the local and national governments, and collaborated with researchers in both Bamako and Dakar.

Also while in the CONS program Krista has had internships with the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) at the USAID mission in Kinshasa, DRC (summer 2011) where she researched and drafted the performance management plan for the third phase of the CARPE program, and the Office of West African Affairs at the USAID office in Washington, DC (summer 2010) where among other activities she helped draft briefing materials for the African Union Summit.

Pre-CONS Experience: Krista graduated from Davidson College in 2006 with a major in biology. She studied abroad for a semester in Tanzania, and this is when she really became interested in the complex relationship between the protecting the environment and promoting development in a developing country context.

After college Krista became a Peace Corps volunteer, stationed in Senegal from 2006-2008. She worked with several villages around Djoudj National Park (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to help promote ecotourism. She also worked with local business owners to improve basic business management skills, eco-guides to improve their tour guide services, and women’s groups to develop new products to sell at their artisanal shop. In addition to her Peace Corps experience, Krista has also had several field biology positions including studying sage brush song birds in Grand Teton National Park and noxious weeds near Glacier National Park.

Krista's Take on the CONS Program: "The flexibility and interdisciplinary nature of the CONS program was a huge asset for me! I was able to take classes in anthropology, economics, public policy, ecology, and geography to really be able to understand an issue from diverse view points. The flexibility of the program allowed me to really tailor the classes I took to my particular interests even as they changed and evolved.

Kristin Abt; CONS (2012 MS Candidate)

Current Status: Kristin is currently working with the Orangutan Health Project as a Project Assistant in Timbang Lawan, North Sumatra. The project (www.orangutan-health.org) studies the effects of parasites on orangutan health, collecting behavioral, phenological, and fecal data from a number of research sites in Indonesia, including Sumatra and Kalimantan. Based near Bukit Lawang, it also compares semi-wild populations regularly in contact with tourists versus wild individuals. In the future, she hopes to continue to work internationally supporting conservation efforts and to collaborate with captive animal programs in zoos and rehabilitation centers to increase their capacity for wildlife research and education.

In addition to frequently running away to other countries to work with and study primates, Kristin de-stresses by doing yoga and has two cats (who are currently living with their grandparents!).

Recent Conservation Experience: From August of this year until present, Kristin is working with the Orangutan Health Project. Prior to this position, she was interning with Orangutan Foundation International during the summer of 2011 as an Environmental Enrichment Fellow to enhance the quality of care given to the rehabilitant orangutans.

Pre-CONS Background: Kristin graduated from Loyola University Maryland, Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa, with a BS in Biology and Psychology in 2010. She also obtained a Goldwater Honorable Mention and two Datatel Scholar awards. Prior to the CONS program, she worked as a primate keeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore for five years and interned at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park conducting captive primate research. She has also studied primatology in Costa Rica and Malaysia.

Kristin's Take on the CONS Program: "The CONS program has been fantastic for providing me with graduate level coursework to support my field and captive animal experiences. The program and the people in it have challenged and inspired me to devote my career to advancing conservation. It provides its students with the flexibility to structure the program in a way that supports their interests while also forcing you to step out of your comfort zone to try courses in new disciplines."