Who We Are


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Dr. Edward R. Carr is the director of HURDL, and a professor and Director of the International Development, Community, and Environment Department at Clark University. Ed has worked for USAID in both policy and program positions, consulted for the World Bank,and served as a lead author and review editor for global assessments such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the IPCC. More information on Ed and his work can be found here.

email: edcarr at clarku.edu

 Research Scientist:

Photo on 9-6-16 at 2.46 PM #2Dr. Sheila Navalia Onzere is a research scientist with HURDL. She has a PhD in sociology and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her research interests focus on livelihoods, gender, food systems, forestry, climate change, and development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). She has considerable experience working on international development issues in SSA. She received a fellowship from the Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (LEAP) to carry out fieldwork for her dissertation research while attached to The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) . While writing her dissertation, she worked as the program coordinator for the Master in Sustainable Development Program at the University of Florida. She has also worked as a gender specialist for the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi (ILRI). In 2014 she was one of the 20 early career scientists from around the world who were invited to attend the global Future Earth Food Systems conference. Since joining HURDL in late 2014, Onzere has worked on various projects which aim to understand agricultural livelihoods and vulnerability to climate change and variability in the Sahel, as well as, projects that focus gender and forest based livelihoods in Malawi and Liberia.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: Mali Climate Change and Adaptation Activity (USAID); Barriers to Women’s Engagement in Local Forest Governance and Implications for Conservation Outcomes in Liberia (WRI); Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters  (DfID)

Previous HURDL Project Responsibilities: Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD) project (USAID)

sonzere at clarku.edu

Graduate Students:


Daniel Abrahams is a doctoral student at the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina.  His research focuses on environmental issues as they relate to disasters, conflict, and international development.  Prior to joining HURDL he received his masters in public policy from Johns Hopkins University; there he researched environmental sustainability in post-disaster settings. While at Johns Hopkins, Daniel also worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where he conducted research on market-based strategies to curtail illegal logging. Daniel has also lived in Kenya, where he worked with Kenyan fishermen to research, develop, and implement alternative income projects that mitigated the impacts of unsustainable fishing and provided new sources of income for the fishermen. Prior to pursuing a career focused on the environment, Daniel worked in executive search, recruiting senior-level personnel for Big 4 accounting firms and education reform organizations. He received his undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut where he was a member of their Division I baseball team.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: Anticipatory Humanitarian Assistance Research and Pilot (Red Cross Climate Centre) [completed]

email: abrahad at email.sc.edu


Manali Baruah is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography. Her research interests are natural resource governance and access, rural participation and representation and community based conservation. She currently holds a College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, which supports her dissertation examining rural representation in forest resource decentralization programs in Ghana. She is also part of the Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI), a 3-year research and training program focusing on environmental governance in Africa implemented by the Council for the Development of Social Sciences Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). She also has four years of experience working in field based conservation and livelihood projects in India. She teaches introductory courses in geography.

HURDL Project Responsibilities: None (writing dissertation)

email: baruah at email.sc.edu

IMG_0300.jpgJanae Davis is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. Her work focuses on fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in the environmental movement. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Geography from University of South Carolina. Her Master’s thesis examined the ways in which wilderness legislation alienated local African Americans from Congaree National Park in Hopkins, South Carolina. Janae has worked with Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) on applied research to integrate climate information into decision making around water, health and coastal management. She has been awarded fellowships with the U.S. National Park Service, American Rivers and the National Wildlife Federation where she designed and conducted research, provided recommendations and assisted the planning and implementation of efforts to engage frontline communities. Her current research seeks to understand how inequity is reproduced in African conservation-development institutions and how it might affect the outcomes of integrated conservation and development projects.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: Mali Climate Change Adaptation Activity (USAID); Barriers to Women’s Engagement in Local Forest Governance and Implications for Conservation Outcomes in Liberia (WRI)

email: jadavis at clarku.edu


Tshibangu ‘Tshitshi’ Kalala is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. He received his postgraduate diploma in Agronomy and Environmental Sciences from the Evangelical University of Africa in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2010, Tshitshi was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Graduate Fellowship through the University of Florida to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development Practice, which he completed in 2012. Tshitshi’s research is centered around the impact of climate change on farming communities in the sub-Saharan region of West Africa. While living in DRC, Tshitshi gained more than six years of experience in program management, community development, social work, and peace building and reconciliation, working with both local and international agencies (including the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization and World Food Program) in the design, implementation and coordination sustainable agricultural programs and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: Mali Climate Change Adaptation Activity (USAID); BRACED (DfID);

Previous HURDL Project Responsibilities: Mali Agrometeorological Advisory Program Assessment (USAID); Kaffrine Climate Services Program Design and Assessment Support (CCAFS/USAID)

email: kalala at email.sc.edu

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Kwame Owusu-Daaku, originally from Kumasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana, is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. He holds a Presidential Fellowship from the University of South Carolina. He has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa and a Bachelors in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has taught high school human geography and lived and worked among communities in the northern part of the Ghana’s Volta region. His current research interests focus on climate change adaptation and its impact on rural and urban poor livelihoods.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: None (writing dissertation)

Previous HURDL Project Responsibilities: Gender and Adaptation Programming and Assessment (USAID); Mali Agrometeorological Advisory Program Assessment (USAID)

email: kwame at email.sc.edu

Helen PicHelen Rosko is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston and a Master’s of Science degree in Geography from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Helen was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa (2010 – 2012), where she served as a Water and Sanitation volunteer. During her Peace Corps service she helped educate and implement various sanitation formations as well as the construction of over 50 latrines in a small rural village. Helen’s Master’s research examined
the role of commercial moonshine as tool for both place-making and alternative tourism in East Tennessee. Her current research interests bring her back to sub-Saharan Africa and specifically Mali to investigate intersections of livelihood decision-making,
gender and climate-change adaptation with a focus on rural agriculture.

Current HURDL Project Responsibilities: BRACED (DfID)

email: hrosko at clarku.edu


Robert GrBobeeley earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina in 2016, and is now an assistant professor of Arabic at Middlebury College. His research interests focus on spatially delimited conservation projects, environmental governance, and the rule of law.

Mary Thompson-Hall earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina in 2013, and is now a Program Specialist with the International START Secretariat. Her dissertation research focused on intersections of conservation and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining START, Mary worked with World Bank and African Development Bank experts on participatory adaptation fieldwork for the Zambian Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), co-authored a USAID commissioned report on gender and climate change adaptation as part of her work with HURDL, and held a post-doctoral position with the Basque Center for Climate Change.

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