Who I Am

Extracurricular: 2023 Yale Environmental Fellow

Masters Major: Wildlife Biology

A Bit About Me

I am a first generation college student from Gary, Indiana. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice before serving eight and a half years as an active duty United States Marine Corps Officer. My time in the military taught me that a meaningful life is more so characterized by how much you give rather than by how much you take. Consequently, I knew from the beginning of my military career that I wanted to give back to humanity by promoting peace, longevity, and equity for all living things. I was thus excited when I was accepted into the Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department at Colorado State University (CSU). Today I aim to employ the lessons in responsibility and leadership gained from my military career towards my new career as wildlife biologist to help solve conservation issues. As a Black man and first generation college student born and raised in Gary, Indiana, I would like to serve society by conducting scientific research and mentoring future generations of scientists of color and other underrepresented students. I believe earning a graduate degree from CSU will provide the knowledge I need to advance my passion for biodiversity and ecological wellness.

What I Hope To Do

Funds from this scholarship will be used to cover travel expenses for my summer field work, which is necessary for me to increase my familiarity with the animal vocalization patterns that are present in the acoustic data that I will be analyzing for my master’s research. The budget includes round-trip airfare from Denver to Johannesburg and two weeks of budget lodging at rest camps in Kruger National Park (KNP). Understanding the influence of fear on ecological soundscapes holds significance for conservation efforts. Fear responses can result in adverse ecological consequences, such as population reductions, disruptions in ecological interactions, and habitat modifications. Conservation strategies frequently focus on mitigating human disturbance in vulnerable habitats and minimizing stress on wildlife. As acoustic monitoring becomes more accessible for ecosystem surveillance, soundscape monitoring may emerge as a valuable tool for assessing the effects of fear, particularly fear of humans, on ecosystem well-being. This approach could prove particularly beneficial in conservation areas reliant on tourism, notably in South Africa, where conservation significantly contributes to the local economy.

My Personal Thanks

First and foremost, I would like to thank my late parents for birthing me and nurturing me up to their respective passings. I would also like to thank Dr. Sara Bombaci for her mentorship and  kindness, as she has supported my growth into this field. Thank you to the Africa Center and all donors for valuing the future of scientific study by creating this opportunity for students like myself. Thank you as well to CSU for being an excellent institution of higher learning. Lastly, I would like to give thanks to everyone I have been blessed to call a friend or colleague.