Jeremiah Asaka conducts research in Kenya

Jeremiah Asaka, Coasts and Communities fellow from Cohort 2014, is conducting his field work in the northern rangelands of Kenya in summer 2016. Here, he is preparing to hold a focus group discussion with a group of Samburu warriors under an acacia tree.

Acacia tree

In Kenya, he is hosted by the University of Nairobi ( under the supervision of Prof. Alice Oluoko-Odingo of the Institution’s Geography and Environmental Studies Department ( She also serves as an external member of Jeremiah’s dissertation committee. Prof. Tim Shaw is the chair of the dissertation committee, which includes Prof. Jane Parpart and Prof. Heidi Gengenbach as members.

Jeremiah’s fieldwork in Kenya is funded by UMass Boston’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship ( fellowship. University of Nairobi is a partner institution of the IGERT program. Jeremiah’s fieldwork in Kenya is primarily for local level data collection. Afterwards, he will embark on global level data collection as he is interested in understanding the human security implications of transformations in conservation governance for conservation area communities.


Debra Butler participates in SESYNC

On Sep 28-30, 2015, Debra Butler participated in the Proposal Writing Workshop at SESYNC in Annapolis, MD. SESYNC, the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) supports interdisciplinary, data-driven, team science collaborations that interface human and ecological systems.

The Center, funded by the National Science Foundation at the University of Maryland,  services  projects from inception through every stage of collaboration –team processes,  meeting planning and facilitation, travel and logistical support, cyber infrastructure resources and results dissemination.

This 2015 cohort included social and environmental scientists from the United States and Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil. Three of the participants were in IGERT programs.

“Self-selected” teams of 5-7 researchers are encouraged to submit proposals in early January 2016, for funding in late spring. Debra’s team includes PhD researchers in management, anthropology, public health, forest restoration ecology, food security, and spatial geography.

Jeremiah Asaka Invited to South Africa Workshop

IGERT Fellow, Jeremiah Asaka’14 has received an invitation to participate in a workshop on Urban Biodiversity and Social Processes co-hosted by the NSF-funded UrBioNet Research Coordination Network ( ) and the North-West University at Potschefstroom, South Africa. The Workshop will be held January 25-30, 2016 in South Africa. All travel costs are covered. The workshop aims are three-fold: network building, development of new research, and quantitative analyses of existing databases.