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Dusti Becker

Dr. Dusti Becker: Dusti grew up in North Carolina, Thailand, and Michigan and has worked as a teacher and conservation biologist for the past three decades. She has a B.S.in Secondary Science Education from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Environmental Science from Yale, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from U. Alberta in Canada. After college, she joined the US Peace Corps and was placed in Kenya as a secondary science teacher (1977-80). Teaching at a rural school on the Laikipia Plateau, she witnessed the challenges of population growth for wildlife preservation in Kenya. This led her to study the human dimensions of wildlife management for a Master’s degree at Yale. While at Yale, she also studied mother-infant behavior of the endangered Grevy’s zebra in Kenya, and after completing her degree, Dusti taught wildlife ecology in Kenya for the School for Field Studies. In 1987 she returned to Canada to do a Ph.D. and embarked on a career combining field research and university teaching. She became an assistant professor at Indiana University where she collaborated with Elinor Ostrom (Nobel Laureate in Economics 2009) focusing on community-based conservation. Now, Dusti and her husband, Tony Povilitis direct a non-profit organization, Life Net Nature, focusing on wildlife conservation. They have recently started a project in Kenya, working to empower Maasai youth in wildlife conservation on the western edge of the famed Masai Mara.