Graduate Students

Allison Collins watching primates in PeruAllison Collins

M.W.S. Student, Wildlife Science

B.S. 2014, Texas A&M University, Psychology


I am broadly interested in endangered species ecology, animal behavior, and conservation biology. I recently completed a full field season in Peru on my research project “Brown titi monkey (Callicebus brunneus) home range use, feeding ecology, and activity budget in disturbed versus undisturbed rainforest in southeastern Peruvian Amazon”.

jessJessica Gilbert

Ph.D. Student

B.S. 2008, University of Rhode Island, Biological Sciences


I am interested in assessing the effectiveness of protected areas systems in achieving conservation objectives. My current research focuses on the interactions between human activity and biodiversity conservation in a high altitude biosphere reserve. I am particularly interested in understanding how traditional livestock grazing systems affect the distribution of medium and large mammals in the tropical Andes.  I am a trainee in the NSF-IGERT Applied Biodiversity Sciences Program, a Texas A&M Merit Fellow , and the recipient of an InterAmerican Development Foundation Fellowship and a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship.

IMG_2671Alaya Keane

M.S. Student

B.S. 2018, Texas A&M University – College Station


With the goal of conservation in mind, I would like to pursue topics that combine animal behavior and human interactions to address current issues in threatened and endangered species ecology. I have recently worked on avian behavior and conservation projects and will complete my B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in Spring of 2018. From here I will move into the Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring Lab to pursue a Master’s in Fall of 2018.

Shelby Web PicShelby McCay

M.W.S. Student

B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University – 2015


I am currently one of the New World Program Coordinators for the IUCN SSC Small Mammal Specialist Group and a certified IUCN Red List Trainer based at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. I earned my B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in May 2015 from Texas A&M and am currently pursuing a Master of Natural Resource Development. Broadly, I am interested in conservation biology, threatened and endangered species, and natural resource policy. My true passion lies in conserving and educating the public about small mammals and other uncharismatic species. My master’s work focuses on how IUCN Red List data is used in the development and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and how National Red Lists assist in conservation planning and actions in New World countries.

Adriana MendezAdriana Méndez-Jiménez

M.S. Student (Co-advisor with Dr. Leslie Cizmas, Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health)

M.S. Geography, Texas A&M University – College Station – 2012

B.S. Marine Biology, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano – Bogotá, Colombia – 2002


I am interested in human-environment interactions, environmental education, and in the One Health Initiative which links human, animal and environmental health. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, from the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in my native country, Colombia. I have worked as a middle and high school science teacher in Colombia and in the USA.  I have also worked as a field scientist in the Colombian Amazon and in southern Mozambique. In 2012, I earned a M.S. at Texas A&M University in the department of Geography, where I worked with fish spawning aggregations in Belize. I am currently researching how cyanobacterial algal blooms impact public health in Brazil, I study how wealth and urbanization impact regulation enforcement and exposure to cyanotoxins.

IMG_1411Jaileen Riviera

M.S. Student

B.A. 2016, Universidad de Puerto Rico -Humacao


I am a second year graduate student pursuing a Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Master degree. I hold a BS. degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Puerto Rico – Humacao. I am primarily interested in tropical ecology, conservation biology, and endangered species ecology. I have been doing research related to the Leptonycteris nivalis and agave pollination corridor in northern Mexico.

IMG_3410Nicolette (Nikki) Roach

PhD student

B.S. 2010, University of California – Davis, Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Biology                          

M.S. 2015, Clemson University, Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Email:, Website:

I aim to address urgent conservation issues as they relate to biodiversity and conservation planning.  I obtained my MS from Clemson University in May 2015, where I studied the effects of sea level rise on marsh bird vulnerability. My primary research interests focus on the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances (climate change, land-use change) on wildlife communities, landscape ecology, and human-wildlife interactions. My dissertation research is an evaluation of the interacting effects of land-use and climate change on threatened amphibians in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. I also have a strong interest in science policy and communications and videography. I am always looking to collaborate via research, communications, or film. Feel free to contact me or follow me on twitter @niksroach!

22384043_10209533427480703_1614230273458400196_oJordan Rogan

Ph.D. Student

B.A. 2014, Wheaton College (Mass.), Environmental Science


I am a student in the Applied Biodiversity Sciences (ABS) Doctoral program. My research is focused on the use of habitat thresholds and species-specific functional traits to determine the resilience of mid-large mammals to land cover change in fragmented landscapes. My study site is in the tropical montane forest region of Monteverde, Costa Rica. I am broadly interested in conservation biology, community-based conservation planning, human-wildlife dimensions, social-ecological systems and landscape ecology. I am also currently a mentor for the Applied Biodiversity Sciences (ABS) Conservation Scholars undergraduate research and internship program.

Nikki TaiebNicole (Nikki) Taieb

M.W.S. Student, Distance Education

B.S. 2013, Delaware Valley College, Biology (Zoology)


I am a zookeeper whose passion extends to protecting the wild relatives of the animals I care for. For 15 years, I have worked with a variety of animals at farms, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and zoos. In 2014, I had the opportunity to study white-faced capuchin monkey behavior in Costa Rica, and I hope to conduct more field research in the future.

I am particularly interested in wildlife conservation, animal behavior, and tropical ecology. As a fluent Spanish-speaker with a strong interest in tropical animals, I would like to focus my work in Latin America. My goal is to work with communities to promote conservation, as well as form partnerships with zoological institutions. In addition, I would like to become involved with IUCN Red List assessments, which tie in closely to the Species Survival Plan that is in effect at accredited zoos. Through my studies I hope to have a positive impact on the conservation of threatened species, both in zoos and in the wild.


Ph.D. Student

B.S. and M.S., Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru                                 


I am a native of Peru, and my broader interests are in the conservation and management of biodiversity in the Neotropics. I am currently studying aspects of the behavior and ecology of macaws in Peru. My dissertation focus is on scarlet macaw reproductive ecology, particularly to determine ecological factors affecting reproduction. I am active in the Applied Biodiversity Sciences doctoral program and am the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

me_caveLilianna Wolf

M.S. Student

B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University – 2016


I am interested in conservation ecology and landscape ecology of Central American and Texan bat populations. Specifically, I hope to study the potential effects of White-nose syndrome (WNS) on cave bat populations in Texas and Mexico, and the potential implications of WNS development in Central American ecosystems. I earned my B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University in 2016. I have been a research assistant at the Natural Resources Institute since 2017, where I work on a project studying cave bats in Texas prior to the arrival of WNS.

University Grand Challenge Project – Building Climate Resilience: Seeking Sustainable Solutions for Water, Agriculture and Biodiversity in Arid Regions.

Aurora VargasAurora Vargas

Program Coordinator:Grand Challenges

Ph.D Student, Agricultural Economics

B.S. 2015, Louisiana State University, Animal, Dairy and Poultry Sciences


I am a PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Economics with an Animal Science BS from LSU. My current research focuses on water scarcity and mechanisms for allocating water efficiently for environmental, agricultural and industrial sustainability. Other projects include the evolution of water property rights, advocacy of water markets and hydraulic fracturing forecasts for the Food Water Energy Nexus.