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Tori Hymel

Ph.D. candidate, Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG)

Tori is a Ph.D. student in the Planning, Governance, and Globalization program at Virginia Tech. Originally from Maryland, she was a born animal-lover and knew from a young age she wanted a career working to help them in some way, eventually settling on wildlife conservation. While a psychology undergraduate student at Colgate University, she had an opportunity to travel to South Africa and get hands on experience with animal behavior research and animal husbandry. This experience also sparked a passion for considering and collaborating with local community members when doing conservation work.

Tori continued studying conservation social science in her master’s degree in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University. Her final capstone project involved working with Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone to create an anti-bushmeat campaign. She designed and conducted interviews assessing local individuals’ wildlife value orientations. Tori is currently working on an NSF-funded project with Dr. Todd Schenk assessing how prepared stakeholders in the Southeast feel to deal with climate change and shifts in species’ habitats.