My research on climate adaptation in Papua New Guinea stems from my belief that enabling communities to define and address their own vulnerability is critical to enhancing their resilience to the rapidly changing climate and other environmental risks. The interdisciplinary nature of the research, which combines biodiversity assessments, geographic information systems (GIS), interviews, and participatory action research, offers me a range of tools and skill sets that will be invaluable in my future career.
My Ph.D. research builds on previous work undertaken while pursuing an MSc. Program in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. My master’s thesis focused on stakeholder engagement in managing protected areas across the Caribbean.The Caribbean faces not only significant environmental threats but also a dearth of highly trained environmental professionals. I believe that the on the ground experience and regional contacts I developed through my master’s research will be highly valuable as I launch my career.
Later, I plan to leverage the considerable knowledge, skills, and experience gained internationally and locally to critically address environmental challenges facing the Caribbean. I aim to work with innovative and reputable organizations such as the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute or Cropper Foundation as a lead researcher or project manager. Once I have developed the appropriate contacts and acquired sufficient financial support, I then plan to establish my own nonprofit organization to spearhead work aimed directly at working at the grassroots level and building local capacity. Its priority will be to address neglected and underfunded issue areas, for example, climate adaptation, agroecology and biosecurity.
By taking a leading role in a civil societal organization, I hope to mobilize individuals and communities to develop environmental solutions that address climate change and other complex environmental problems in the Caribbean.