About Stacy

I am a Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. I began working in Africa in 1994 after several years of teaching in Baltimore City School District, joining the Peace Corps as a teacher trainer in the town of Otjiwarongo, Namibia. During my Peace Corps tenure I founded the Earthwise Environmental Club for primary and secondary students, and worked extensively with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) on issues related to cheetah conservation and local farmers in the Namibian drylands. Following Peace Corps, I received both my MSc (Rangeland Ecosystem Science, 2000) and PhD (Ecology, 2010) at Colorado State University studying the impacts of conservation policy and ecology on Maasai pastoralists, and studying impacts of cultivation for both Maasai pastoral livelihoods and wildlife movement at multiple scales in Northern Tanzania. I have current and pending research projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, and the US related to local people, water governance, undergraduate research experience in Kenya, traditional ecological use and knowledge, environmental governance, participatory mapping, landscape ecology, education, citizen science and the development of tools for mobile devices to collect social and ecological research data. I am currently a Research Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL), faculty affiliate of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS), advising faculty of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE), a faculty lead of The Africa Center, faculty affiliate of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA), Sustainability Fellow with the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES), and a member of the water faculty of the Colorado Water Institute.

Website CV


  • Some of my specializations are in interdisciplinary approaches to research, participatory research methods, science education, systems thinking, and situation assessment. I work with a very diverse team of scientists in the social and ecological sciences who practice in the drylands of East Africa and beyond. These diverse influences have strongly shaped my specialization in looking at entire systems - taking a broad systems approach to social-ecological research related to conservation and livelihoods in East African dryland systems, as well as other systems around the world. My interest is in investigating complex, applied, social-ecological questions that have real implications on the ground for both people and ecosystems using a combination of ecological and social science methods to perform integrated and community-based collaborative research.


MSc, Rangeland Ecosystem Science - Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO, 2010

PhD, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology - Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO, 2000

BSc, Elementary and Kindergarten Education - Penn State University
State College, PA, 1990

Graduate & Advisor Program

Dr. James E. Ellis
MSc, Rangeland Ecosystem Science, Colorado Stare University (2000)

Dr. Michael Coughenour
PhD, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University (2010)

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • NSF Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation - Scientific Software Integration (SI2:SSI), 2015
  • NSF International Research Experience for Students, 2014


  • Wilderness First Aid by , 2016
  • Wilderness First Responder by , 2002

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