Graduate students

Graduate student AlexÁlex Tuñas Corzón

Environmental Life Sciences PhD Program

I earned a B.S. degree in Biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and a MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London (UK). I am very concerned about sustainability and environmental problems and want to conduct research whose output can be translated into effective conservation action. Currently, I am addressing ecological and environmental policy issues of marine protected areas, focusing on the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Arielle Amrein

Biology and Society MS Program

I’m interested in how the increased interaction between humans and species impacts ecotourism and the behavior of wildlife. Currently, I’m working in Panama researching the coupled human-environmental system focusing on humpback whale behavior and marine wildlife ecotourism. I recently graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and focused my research on methods for improving sustainable business practices.

Chris Barton

Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology PhD Program

Chris is working on his PhD in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (AKA Science and Technology Studies). His research explores the ways that different scientific and professional communities generate and use knowledge, and the impact that this has on their ability to communicate, collaborate, and work together on complex sustainability problems. He has a BS in Sustainability from ASU and an MA in Global Affairs and Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Graduate student Erin Murphy sitting on a rock with climbing gearErin Murphy

Biology and Society PhD Program

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology and my Master’s degree in Geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am interested in the relationship between marine conservation and human wellness. Specifically, I hope to better understand how proper management of marine ecosystems at the local level can help reduce the effects of global stressors and preserve important ocean resources.

Infynity Hill

Biology and Society MS Program

Infynity earned her bachelor’s degree in health sciences from ASU in 2018 and discovered her admiration for biodiversity during her undergraduate. Infynity joined the Conservation Innovation lab in 2019 and is pursuing her master’s in Biology & Society. She is interested in human interactions and perceptions with nature. Specifically, she wants to understand the life cycle of plastic and the implications of anthropogenic contaminates on environmental and consequently, human health.

Graduate Student Kate WeissKate Weiss

Environmental Life Sciences PhD Program

Kate Weiss is a PhD student working with Dr. Beckett Sterner of ASU and Dr. Jan Schipper of the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo. Her work seeks to understand urbanization’s impact on mammal communities, species interactions, and human-wildlife conflict. Specifically, she focuses on how cities influence coyote distributions, biology, and interactions with other middle-sized carnivores, especially pets. By understanding how and why coyotes occupy urban spaces, she hopes her work will inform urban wildlife management that supports the needs of people while also considering the unique ecological benefits coyotes provide urban systems.

Katie Surrey-Bergman

Biology and Society PhD Program

My interest is the intersection between animal behavior and conservation. Specifically my goal is to use data and knowledge collected about particular species’ behaviors to identify areas of potential human-wildlife conflict, and ultimately to craft more efficient and less-invasive policies that best protect the interests of both groups. 

My background includes an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, work in wildlife rehabilitation, domestic animal care and behavior, and landscape ecology.

Graduate student Kesha CummingsKesha Cummings

Biology and Society MS Program

I am interested in wildlife, conservation, and the relationship between wildlife and human populations. Of particular interest to me are marine animals such as cetaceans, sea turtles, and corals and the local human communities that surround these significant groups.  My aim is to conduct research that provides better clarification and understanding of how human presence affects local species dynamics. Along these lines I would like to study how this information can be applied to fine-tune conservation actions and the policies that dictate them.

Graduate student Kyle Strongin

Sustainability PhD Program
I am interested in the effects current fishing practices and invasive species have on the marine food web. Currently, I am focusing on the Gulf of Mexico, but would like to better understand how these pressures are affecting various marine food webs on a global scale. I am combining this research with marine conservation efforts, specifically IUCN Red Listing and the current conservation status of marine fishes.
I am a native New Mexican who fell in love with the ocean at an early age. I earned a B.S. in Marine Biology, a B.S. in Biomedical Science, and an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. My career path was not a straight one due to my husbands military career. I taught various college science courses while we traveled around the country eventually landing at Arizona State University. Now I am able to pursue my Ph.D. in a more permanent situation. I have 2 little boys that I love dearly and hope to use my work to teach them the importance of our ecosystems.

Graduate student Miranda BernardMiranda Bernard

Environmental Life Sciences PhD Program

I am interested in the intersection of marine science and policy. My motivation stems from a general disconnect between people and their surrounding environments. Oceans are a complicated ecological system tied heavily to anthropogenic impacts that can change them irreversibly. I aim to better understand the impacts humans have on marine systems and determine means to conserve biodiversity.

Olivia Davis

Biology and Society PhD Program

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology at The College of New Jersey.  I am interested in the intersection between conservation science and policy, and aim to address how we can improve the preservation of biodiversity and endangered species by bridging the gap between scientists and decision-makers. As organisms continue to face threats caused by humans, such as through climate change, pollution, and habitat degradation, I hope to better understand how we can use science to save species and encourage people, from politicians to average citizens, to take action in order to protect wildlife on a policy level.

PhD student Sarah GerenSarah Geren 

Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes PhD Program

Sarah earned her B.S. degree in Conservation Biology and M.Sc. in Biology and Society in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. During her master’s she also worked at ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes. Both her undergraduate and master’s thesis studied the environmental and health impacts of dietary protein choices made by consumers.

Current research interests are broadly centered on environmental policy and societal perceptions of environmental issues. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. 

Graduate student Ute Brady

Ute Brady

School of Human Evolution and Social Change PhD Program

Ute is interested in the interaction of global institutions and local socio-ecological systems (SES), in particular with regard to the effects of sustainable/subsistence use exceptions on endangered species’ protections and socio-economic conditions. She also studies small-scale fisheries, environmental ethics and environmental justice, and institutional diversity and polycentricity in governance.