The WCS Graduate Scholarship Program is dedicated to building leadership capacity for wildlife conservation on a global scale by providing support to young conservation professionals to obtain master's degrees or PhDs at top-flight international academic institutions. These are the most recent recipients of the 2015 awards.
NEREYDA FALCONI LOPEZ, PERU
Nereyda is a recipient of a WCS Christensen Conservation Leaders Scholarship. Nereyda has worked on forest fragmentation effects on wildlife ranging from primates to sloths, including with the Peruvian government and more recently with WCS in the northern Peruvian Amazon. Nereyda has begun her PhD program in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is focusing her doctoral research in land-use change implications in the distribution of spectacled bears to provide information that can be directly applied to the reduction of current threats to spectacled bear habitat in Peru.
Sinomar is also a recipient of a WCS Christensen Conservation Leaders Scholarship. Sinomar served for five years as Coordinator of Research and Monitoring for Amazonas State's Protected Area System and more recently as Director of Protected Areas for the Municipality of Manaus. He has worked collaboratively with WCS Brazil since 2012 to strengthen protected area planning processes and to implement specific projects in protected areas. Sinomar has enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Ecology PhD Program at the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. His doctoral research will focus on policy and wildlife trade, particularly on improving municipal-scale management by understanding what factors influence the capacity of municipal governments to implement effective resource management programs.
Moses is a recipient of a WCS Beinecke African Conservation Scholarship. Moses has been the REDD+ Senior Project Officer for the WCS Uganda Program on a project being implemented in the Murchison - Semliki landscape in the Albertine Rift. The project aims to reduce forest loss and degradation by incentivizing private forest owners to conserve the forests on their private land. Before joining WCS, Moses worked on various community conservation and development projects focusing on strengthening community participation in the management and conservation of forests in Uganda. Moses has enrolled in a Masters Program in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida.
LOUIS RUGERINYANGE, RWANDA
Louis is a recipient of a WCS Beinecke African Conservation Scholarship with support from The Sperry Fund. Louis has been the Chief Park Warden of Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda, and under his leadership Nyungwe has seen major developments in tourism and other sectors. Louis has enrolled in a Masters Program in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, where he is focusing his studies on conservation governance and policy. Because Rwanda is at a stage in which large-scale development pressures are being weighed against conservation values, and new policies are in the balance, this degree will be crucial in providing Louis with a stronger voice in conservation governance and policy.
MANOON PLIOSUNGNEON, THAILAND
Manoon is a recipient of the WCS C.V Starr Tiger Conservation Fellowship. Manoon was previously the Field Project Manager in charge of the WCS conservation project for the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex landscape (KKFC). He has enrolled in a PhD Program in the Department of Forest and Environmental Biology in the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse. For his PhD thesis research he will look at population responses of key wildlife species, e.g., tiger, elephant and primates, to different management schemes and intensity, focusing in the KKFC and Tenasserim range.
George is a recipient of the WCS Harry Schwarz Conservation Scholarship with support from The Tellus Educational Foundation. George is enrolled in a PhD Program at Penn State University. His PhD topic involves using population genetics to identify potential historical connectivity between elephant populations in northern Tanzania, and then comparing this with an assessment of potentially still-viable corridors. George's project will be used to help enact landscape-scale conservation aimed at preserving connectivity between the highly threatened elephant populations in northern Tanzania and those in southern Kenya, where complementary studies are taking place.