TRAVEL REPORTS - 2017 Graduate Awards for Research & Training

In South Africa's Kalahari Desert, Kendra Smyth habituates a meerkat for an experiment in which she'll be measuring ear thickness.
In South Africa's Kalahari Desert, Kendra Smyth habituates a meerkat for an experiment to measure ear thickness.

Through the Graduate Awards for Research & Training, Duke University Center for International & Global Studies (DUCIGS) provides graduate students working on international research topics with funding for travel to archival and research sites inside and outside the continental United States, for attendance at specialized conferences, or for foreign language and methods training. DUCIGS awards generally range from $500 to $2,500, and applicants are encouraged to seek additional funding sources for longer research periods. Eligible applicants must be enrolled full time in a graduate program or professional school at Duke University during the academic year in which the award is used. In the 2017 competition, thirteen Duke graduate students received DUCIGS travel grants. The number of awards is subject to availability of funds in the next fiscal year.


Dana Mellett BAKER - Sweden  /  PhD - Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
Conference: Oral presentation at the Stockholm Resilience Centre 2017 conference titled, "Connecting state and traditional institutions for conservation and development in Ghana: Challenges and opportunities"
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: August 20 - 23 2017
"Summary: The DUCIGS Graduate Award for Research and Training allowed me to travel to Stockholm to attend a three-day conference at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. I presented a research paper that will be published later this year in a special edition of ... ( BAKER ) "

Caitlyn COOPER - Madagascar / MEM Candidate, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"All species of lemurs have declining populations and face great risk of extinction. They are likely the most endangered mammal group. Knowing I wanted to dedicate my professional career to the protection of this vulnerable group lead me to Duke to study Environmental Management. My biggest goal was to study lemurs in Madagascar for my Master's Project, which I was able to accomplish thanks to the support from alumni donors and ... ( COOPER ) "

Corrie HANNAH - The Netherlands / PhD Candidate, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
Conference:  International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) XVIth Biennial Conference - Practicing the Commons: Self-governance, Cooperation, and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Dates: July 9 - 14, 2017
"IASC is the leading international organization for the interdisciplinary study of the commons and common pool resources (i.e., water, air, fisheries, pastures, knowledge). The conference brings together leading academic scholars, as well as practitioners, to discuss and exchange research about the commons and experiences in managing the  commons. ... My main intention for attending the IASC Biennial Conference was to present a chapter of my dissertation research about ... ( HANNAH ) "

HUANG-Perlija Mountain Range.2017.png
Ryan Huang on top of the Perija mountain range, with Santa Marta in the background

Ryan HUANG - Colombia / PhD - Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment 
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
Conference: 2017 International Congress for Conservation Biology
Talk Title: How do globally changing mangrove fragments impact extinction risk of endemic birds?
Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Dates: July 11- July 28, 2017
"Birds are everywhere. They are probably one of the most commonly seen groups of animals on a day-to-day basis. We see them so often, we kind of forget about them. On any given day, you may see multiple species in the short span of 10 minutes it takes to walk into your office, from cardinals, mockingbirds, and robins in the trees at eye level, to crows, and turkey vultures soaring in the sky above. Maybe it’s the very fact that ... ( HUANG ) "

Emily Levy - Ambroseli National Park, Kenya

Emily LEVY - Kenya  /  PhD - Biology
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"I spent six weeks this summer in Amboseli National Park, Kenya collecting data on wild baboons. The population of baboons just outside the park has been studied for over four decades, and we (a group of PIs and grad students at Duke, Notre Dame, and Princeton) have a wealth of longitudinal data on their demographics, life history, social behavior, and environmental data. I arrived in Amboseli with two main goals: ...  ( LEVY ) "

Amelia MEIER - Gabon  /  PhD - Environmental Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"First, I would like to thank you for your continued support of my project (Mitigating the Effects of Poaching on Forest Elephants: Using Behavior to Inform Management Strategies)! This summer has included many positive advancements as well as some frustrations. In June, I moved to Libreville, Gabon where I will be based for the next year, managing the forest elephant project and analyzing the genetics samples for my thesis. Since last year we have tripled the size of ...  ( MEIER )

Crissi RAINER - Zimbabwe / Master of Science in Global Health Candidate, Duke Global Health Institute
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"While I was thinking about my summer fieldwork in Zimbabwe, I was presented with a unique opportunity. My fieldwork supervisor had a brilliant idea to test the diagnostic validity of the oral fluid HIV test against the standard of care rapid blood test in children. The oral fluid test has already been proven to work in adults; however, I wanted to try. My research team suggested hiring four research assistants instead of hiring two for data collection. Given my budget, I knew it would be impossible. I began to seek out funding opportunities and was lucky enough to find the ... ( RAINER  )

Kendra SMYTH - South Africa / PhD - Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"The mammalian immune system is an elaborate network of cells, tissues, and organs comprising two interacting subsystems, innate and adaptive immunity, that function to protect against infection. Owing to the limitless number and diversity of pathogens an organism may encounter in its lifetime, the repertoire of immune cells and receptors is necessarily immense. In light of this complexity, immunologists have made ... ( SMYTH ) "

Stephanie STEFANSKI - Mexico  /  PhD - Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
Conference: North American Association of Fisheries Economists Forum
Location: La Paz, Baja California, Mexico
Dates: March 20 – 25, 2017
"The North American Association of Fisheries Economists is an international group of government, industry, and academic practitioners in the fields of fisheries management and economics. The Forum meets every two years to facilitate communication between these practitioners and seek policy solutions and useful applications of fisheries economic research to fisheries management and industry. This year, the conference was held in ... ( STEFANSKI ) "