PitE Club

Building Environmental Awareness and Relationships

Erin O’Brien

Erin O’Brien (ekobrien@umich.edu)
Conservation Ecology, M.S. Candidate 2014
bearerinobrien

Research Interests: Environmental Conservation; Human-Nature Relationships; Protected Areas; Pastoralism; Human-Wildlife Conflict; Power Relations; Political Ecology; Politics of Faith; Identity; Nature and Ontology; Indigenous Knowledge; East Africa   

A native Michiganian, I graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2010 with a major in Health Sciences and a concentration in Environmental Science. Working for a year for a pharmaceutical company after graduating, I couldn’t wait to go back to school and joined a human-elephant conflict project in Tanzania as a field assistant to gain research experience and shift away from veterinary medicine (my prior focus during my undergraduate career). This project in Tanzania peeked my interest in the intersection between human livelihoods and wildlife conservation efforts which informs my thesis research and proposed doctoral studies. 
 
This last summer I spend studying livestock grazing in the Mediterranean for my M.S. thesis work. Really this meant hanging out on a Greek island (Naxos) tagging lizards and conducting bird counts to access how livestock grazing influences vertebrate populations. I also did a fair share of snorkeling, eating, and basking in the sun! I’d be happy to talk to anyone about research, graduate school, goats, you name it! 

 
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