Ph.D. Candidate, Forest Ecology
University of California, Berkeley
BA - Environmental Studies, Eckerd College, 2005
MS - Technical Communication, North Carolina State University, 2004
Ben is currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley in the department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. His research is in forest ecology; specifically, he studies the carbon allocation of vegetative reproducing trees to roots, as trees balance evolutionary trade-offs of growth and reproduction and persistence after disturbances. So far, his work has been primarily in California, in coastal redwood and quaking aspen ecosystems, funded by the National Science Foundation and Save the Redwoods League. In the near future, Ben hopes to explicitly apply his research to REDD projects (the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation that is part of international climate change policy). Ben sees forests as a key point of intersection for climate change, conservation, human rights and development. Before enrolling in the PhD program at Berkeley, Ben served as a Peace Corps agroforestry volunteer in Paraguay..
"Eckerd College prepared me for this field both academically and professionally. Eckerd gives undergraduates the rare opportunity to work closely with excellent faculty in a way that is not possible at public research institutions - I received funds from the Ford Scholar's program and the East Asian Studies program to design my own summer research program with a faculty member, where I studied small mammals in forest fragments in Thailand. Teaching assistantships are another rare opportunity at other institutions that are readily available at Eckerd and were so important to prepare me for my work in academia. All these opportunities prepared me for work and future studies. The other half of the experience was the friendly, relaxed social atmosphere at Eckerd, which gave me memories with good friends I'll always take with me."