About Us


The Africa Center advances innovative and interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary research that cross-cuts conventional disciplines in an attempt to tackle environmental and sustainability issues. Specifically, The Africa Center members address complex issues of biodiversity, ecosystems, wildlife, livestock and human health well-being, and the interactions that occur between these issues across spatio-temporal scales. The Africa Center members are actively involved in research, education, and collaborative engagement between institutions in Africa and the United States to promote sustainable ecosystems and societies


The Africa Center’s mission is to foster environmental, economic, and social sustainability through teaching, research, and engagement 


Leading change for sustainable African ecosystems and societies 

What We Do

Facilitate a forum for issues of African biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability

Build a network of CSU faculty, students, staff, surrounding community members, and African partners for research, education and engagement

Provide a platform for CSU faculty, students, staff, community members, and Africans to engage with one another on African issues

Link diverse types of knowledge to identify and solve environmental, economic, and social problems

Our Team

Executive Committee

Picture of Kathy Galvin

Director of the Africa Center

Dr. Kathleen Galvin is Professor in Anthropology. She has conducted interdisciplinary social-ecological systems research in the savannas of east Africa for over 30 years. Galvin has addressed issues of land use change, conservation, climate variability, diet and nutrition of Africa pastoralists and, resilience and adaptation strategies throughout the world’s drylands. She works with ecologists, modelers, remote sensing, GIS experts and local communities to understand human-ecological problems and interactions. Her current research focuses on understanding the trade-offs of community-based conservation for people and the environment throughout the African continent. She is also working on a NASA funded grant on household decisions, ecosystem change and atmospheric water recycling in Kenya.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Colorado Nature Conservancy and is a member the Leopold Advisory Board, Leopold Leadership Program, Stanford University. She is currently a lead author on the global assessment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).



Robin Reid is a Professor of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and the Director of the endowed Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. She is also a faculty member the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology and a Senior Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. Robin spent 20 years in east Africa, working for CSU and then the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, where she led research, education and outreach on conservation and pastoral development issues in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. She now leads work on how to make science a catalyst for transformative social action. Robin also works with teams to use collaborative action to make progress on complex problems of society and the environment in the western US, Mongolia and east Africa. She has published widely in interdisciplinary science. Her team won the 2012 Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America and she also published the book, Savannas of Our Birth, in the same year. 



Dr. Paul Evangelista is a research ecologist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL). His research has extended across a broad array of interests including invasive species, forestry, rare and endangered wildlife, ethnobotany, ecosystem services, biological soils, post-fire succession, and climate change. In 1999, Paul traveled with to the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia; a trip that would dramatically influence his life’s path. In 2000, he co-founded a non-profit organization called The Murulle Foundation, with the mission to “maintain the balance between cultural and natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa”. Through the foundation, he has helped facilitate reforestation programs, technical training for natural resource managers, the discovery of new wildlife populations, construction of water-supply system, education in primary schools in rural communities, and many other grass-root initiatives. 




Dr. David Bunn joined the CSU Natural Resources Ecology Lab [NREL] from his position as Director of the Wits Knowledge Hub for Rural Development at Wits Rural Facility, one of the largest and most prestigious rural research bases in Africa.

David Bunn’s research and teaching is strongly interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on spatial theory, political geography, and cultural anthropology. He has worked for many years on the relationship between communities and protected areas in the savanna biome. His long-term research projects in South Africa’s Kruger National Park include reference to the political economy of borders, interactions between Mozambican refugees and lions, and Southern Africa’s wildlife economy. Exploring the intersection of race, ethnicity, and conservation management, he has produced films and studies of early African game rangers.


Dr. VandeWoude completed her BS at California Institute of Technology and her DVM at Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. After a brief stint in Clinical Veterinary Practice she performed a post-doctoral fellowship in Comparative Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her post-doctoral research involved characterization of the viral agent associated with Borna Disease Agent. She joined Colorado State University in 1990 and has served as Clinical Veterinarian, Associate Director and Director of Laboratory Animal Resources, and as a faculty member in the Department of Micro-, Immuno-, and Pathology.  She is currently Professor of Comparative Medicine in DMIP, and serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. VandeWoude’s research interests include biology and pathogenesis of retroviral infections in both domestic and nondomestic felids. Her laboratory studies these viruses in the context of an animal model for HIV/AIDS, and in investigations of Ecology of Infectious Disease and cross-species transmissions in charismatic large felid species such as pumas and bobcats.  Her work also includes searching for new viral agents in domestic and nondomestic felids using targeted genome enrichment and next generation sequencing technology.


Dr. Lynn is a Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and has been working in Africa since 1994.  Dr. Lynn received her first degree in Elementary education from Penn State University which led to several years of teaching in the Baltimore City School District before she joined the Peace Corps as a teacher trainer in the town of Otjiwarongo, Namibia. During her Peace Corps tenure she founded the Earthwise Environmental Club for primary and secondary students, and worked extensively with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). 

Dr. Lynn received both her MSc (Rangeland Ecosystem Science) and PhD (Ecology) at Colorado State University where she studied the impacts of conservation policy and ecology on Maasai pastoralists, as well as the impacts of cultivation for both Maasai pastoral livelihoods and wildlife movement at multiple scales in northern Tanzania. She has current research projects in Kenya, Tanzania and the US related to local people, wildlife conservation, risk perception, traditional ecological knowledge, fire, environmental governance, participatory mapping, landscape ecology, and the development of tools for mobile devices to collect social and ecological research data. 


Dr. Owiny is a Laboratory Animal Veterinarian with the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources. He is a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. He served as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University; a Postdoctoral Associate and Research Associate at Cornell Univeristy; Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University; and later Training and Compliance Administrator at Johns Hopkins University.  He is currently an Adhoc Specialist for AAALAC.

His research interests are in reproductive and fetal physiology and Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Owiny is also interested in Business Processes and how to make them more efficient and more effective. He is active in several Laboratory Animal organizations, and serves as a reviewer for a number of Journals in that field. His other interest is in Public Health.


Gabriel Senay is a Research Physical Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science (USGS EROS) Center. Senay is co-located with the North Central Climate Science Center in Fort Collins, Colorado and is a faculty affiliate with the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University; he also maintains an adjunct professor position with South Dakota State University where he has taught a graduate course “remote sensing of water resources.”  

He conducts applied research on water use and availability assessment and drought monitoring using satellite-derived data and hydrologic modeling. His research contributes to the development and dissemination of a suite of drought early warning products through the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) for Africa, Central America, and parts of Asia . Similarly, through the USGS Water Census program, he works on the estimation and mapping of landscape water use dynamics and trends for the United States. He is a licensed professional engineer in Civil Engineering (Water Resources) and obtained a B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from Alemaya University in Ethiopia, M.Sc. in Hydrology from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH




Professor Sue van den Heever received her B.S. in Mathematics and her M.S. in Physical Geography from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg, South Africa. She worked as a research associate at WITS focusing on topics such as ENSO, southern African drought and tropical-temperature troughs before coming to Colorado State University to obtain her Ph.D. Sue then spent two years as a postdoctoral student and several years as a research scientist at Colorado State University before joining the faculty in the fall of 2008.


Doctoral Candidate

Bethlehem is a third year Ph.D. candidate in the department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She has worked for the school of Wildlife and Ecotourism in Hawassa University, Ethiopia for five years as a graduate teaching and research assistant and as a lecturer. Bethlehem has collaborated with national parks and other protected areas, government and non-government organizations and community groups in Southern Ethiopia on training and capacity building, conflict management and consultancy works in the establishment and monitoring of community-based and other conservation initiatives. Her dissertation work focuses on examining the social and environmental effects of a community based controlled hunting program in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia.



Tomas Pickering

Tomas is a PhD candidate in Ecology at CSU advised by professors Robin Reid and Kathleen Galvin. Broadly, he wants to learn and conduct collaborative and community-based scientific research to produce evidence-based conservation and development for greater well-being. Tomas has particular interests in how to strengthen pastoral social-ecological systems in their adaptive capacity to reach their conservation goals and help them face disturbances from social and environmental risk factors. For his dissertation, he studies drought impacts on Samburu pastoralism in northern Kenya through social and ecological study methods. Tomas has greatly enjoyed the culture, wildlife, and learning he has experienced in Africa (among other continents). He has completed cumulatively about 12 months of dissertation research and life in Kenya and previously spent two years in Malawi in the Peace Corps doing natural resource management, agriculture, and public health projects.

Sarah Walker

Spending most of her childhood exploring the fields and forests of rural Ontario, Sarah has gained a deep appreciation for nature as backdrop for positive social change. Sarah has a B.Sc. in Psychology from Queen’s University, a M.Sc. in Conservation Leadership from Colorado State University and is currently a PhD student in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at CSU. Her research focuses on the intersection between pastoralism, gender and livelihoods, and how conservation organizations in Northern Kenya can better support the climate change resilience of communities and landscapes.

Sarah has held a variety of leadership positions, but most recently was the Executive Director of Come Alive Outside, a non-for-profit that works to inspire collaborative community systems that enable people to live healthier lives outside. Sarah can be found moving back and forth between Fort Collins, Colorado; Samburu, Kenya; and  Prince Edward County, Ontario.


Maryam Aida Tidjani

 My name is Maryam Aida Tidjani and I am an international student  from Cameroon. I study Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado with interests in both urban ecology and sustainability, and how the two overlap.I was inspired to pursue this path due to my own first-hand exposure to the damage of climate change. Growing up in Cameroon, Central Africa, I was able to witness these changes in my community and wanted to learn more about this on global scale, inspiring me to pursue ways to combat climate change. 

When I started at CSU, I was interested in becoming an engineer, focusing on renewable energy technology, determined to create the next breakthrough technology that would solve our energy demand issues without depleting the environment. During my sophomore year, my team and I designed a mechanical energy powered lamp that could be used in remote areas where access to a power source is restricted. After learning more about the climate crisis and how it is affecting people, I realized my passion was not in the engineering field. So I changed my major to Ecosystem Science and Sustainability so as to work more closely with communities and educate the public on our impact on the planet. During my study abroad trip to Europe, I studied the energy transition systems of France, Belgium and Denmark. I analyzed their social structure as well as the technology they were using then I arranged a proposed plan of action for transitioning to renewable energy sources in Colorado.