Kirstie Ruppert

… is a Senior Research Coordinator on the Community Engagement team at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. She conducts social research to understand the human dimensions of conservation issues and to evaluate conservation learning programs. Her current work, designed as her Ph.D. project in Human Dimensions of Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Maine, is based in the conservancies of northern Kenya. There, she works in partnership with pastoralist communities and conservation organizations to promote coexistence between people and wildlife, including reticulated giraffe, leopards, and elephants. During her time at SDZG, she has served as the AIP program coordinator and now facilitates AIP courses in socio-ecological research methods and conservation education, as well as the Hawaii Earth Expeditions course. Kirstie earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from UCLA and subsequently worked as a SDZG Research Fellow to measure the long-term outcomes of a professional development program for teachers. She then completed her M.A. in Zoology through the Global Field Program, traveling on Earth Expeditions to Baja, Guyana, and Kenya, where she centered her work around the intersection of participatory research and conservation photography.