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Women in Conservation – Dr. Chelsie Romulo

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We asked Dr. Chelsie Romulo to share a little bit about her career and her experiences as a woman in conservation.

Chelsie Romulo is a professor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research spans several resource management contexts, but consistently seeks to understand what works and why to explain what contextual characteristics result in impacts and outcomes. She uses mixed methods approaches to integrate quantitative and qualitative data that can be applied to many different management and policy situations and frequently make use of existing data in new contexts. A former SESYNC graduate student pursuit member and Smithsonian-Mason Doctoral Fellow in Conservation, her dissertation research focused on community-based natural resource management in the Peruvian Amazon. Another aspect of her research interests delves into evaluating enabling conditions for payments for ecosystem services programs using big data machine learning models. She is currently PI of an NSF IUSE grant using machine learning techniques as an assessment tool to understand how students learn complex sustainability topics.

Every time I’m asked about inspirational leaders, I always point out Dr. Ellie Sattler from the 1993 Jurassic Park movie. Seeing that movie as a young child was hugely influential because this was the first time I ever saw a woman on the big screen whose main character trait was being a respected scientist and expert (For older audiences, I’d also point out Ripley in the Alien movies as an earlier movie example). I don’t think it had even occurred to me before that point that I could be a scientist or what a scientist could look like. I think it’s so important for young people to be able to see themselves in future careers.  

Thank you so much to Dr. Romulo for sharing with us. You can keep up with her work by following her on Twitter @ChelsieRomulo.

Check out the previous women in conservation we’ve highlighted this month.