USJ kicked off Women’s History Month with a lecture by Beth Kaplin, Ph.D., "Combining Ecological Research and Capacity Building for Conservation in Rwanda," in the Hoffman Auditorium on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. USJ’s Women LEAD in STEAM Committee and the USJ Biology Department sponsored the event, bringing Dr. Kaplin to the University via Skype, as she currently lives full time in Rwanda as a researcher and professor at the College of Science & Technology at University of Rwanda.
The hour-long event included Dr. Kaplin’s description of her research in western Rwanda, a biodiversity hotspot. In addition to sharing her research in forest regeneration dynamics, primate ecology, and protected areas conservation and management, she spoke about her career journey, which could be described as passion driven and at times serendipitous, to the aspiring biologists in the crowd. The complexity of being a biologist and conservationist in a tropical developing country was also a reoccurring theme touched on throughout the duration of the lecture. The event concluded with an active Q&A session.
Dr. Kaplin created the Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift to support conservation in this region (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, and Uganda). She is the Acting Director for the newly forming Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management in Rwanda. She maintains an active research program on forest ecological processes, primate ecology and conservation, protected areas conservation and management, and human-wildlife interactions in tropical forests, especially in Rwanda.
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