What is your previous work experience?

As an undergraduate, I was drawn to food and agriculture systems, especially as they related to community development. Academically and professionally, I focused on work ranging from food security and small-scale organic farming to company-farmer relationships and corporate social responsibility. In a roundabout way, this led to a post-baccalaureate fellowship with an ecology professor from my undergraduate institution on her carbon sequestration project in the Central Plateau region of Haiti.

Inspired by the potential for PES systems and the intersection of conservation and prosperity, I went on to serve as an environmental management volunteer in Peace Corps, Jamaica. Unfortunately, a year into my service I was evacuated in response to COVID-19, and my time in the Peace Corps was cut short. Back in the United States, I chose to complete my two-year commitment to service as the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader of the NC Cooperative Extension’s Wake County Food Security Program, where I am currently employed.

Why did you choose the Nicholas School?

Going into the application process, I knew I wanted to pursue combined MF/MBA degrees, and the Nicholas School stood out for offering a path to both degrees in an integrated, inter-disciplinary approach. Its reputation in the environmental management world as a supportive and rigorous institution, whose work aligned with my background, experience, and what I wanted to pursue, made it the clear choice for me. I have lived in Raleigh and now Durham for a little over a year and have greatly enjoyed my time here. I was overjoyed to learn I would be spending at least the next three years in the area as a Nicholas Student. 

What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?

I’m looking forward to the hands-on, experiential training offered by the Nicholas School’s forestry program. Not coming from a resource-management background, I’m excited to gain tangible skills and first-hand experience in the field. I am also excited for the opportunity to connect with and learn from professors and peers who share interests and passions similar to mine and to expand my understanding of and involvement in conservation work. 

Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?

I intend to explore ways the Nicholas School is engaged in its own community of Durham to find avenues to apply what I’m learning in the classroom to it. In the classroom, I want to focus on carbon sequestration as it relates to climate change mitigation and community success. I am also looking forward to integrating further my focuses in food and agriculture with forest management. 

What plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?

I’m interested in forest conservation, especially as it relates to connecting small-scale shareholders and land managers to opportunities in this field. I would like to explore voluntary carbon markets and timber management as possible avenues for such a community-inclusive management approach.