Austin Peay alum realizes lifelong dream working with elephants, locals in Kenya
(Posted Aug. 13, 2019)
Austin Peay graduate Lynn Von Hagen’s work with elephants in the Kenyan bush is the culmination of a dream for her.
“I have loved elephants and wildlife as long as I can remember,” Von Hagen, 46, of Nashville, said. “I always wanted to make an impact through conservation of the natural world, while also helping people.”
She’s doing her Ph.D. work as a Presidential Research Fellow at Auburn University, studying human-elephant conflict and elephant movement and behavior in Kenya.
Von Hagen also is working on developing community workshops to increase livelihood stability and reduce human-elephant conflict. The current project she’s working on is Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya.
Von Hagen came back to school at Austin Peay as a nontraditional student to pursue a lifelong goal of being a conservation biologist and graduated in 2015 with a degree in zoology.
She returned to school after a 20-year break from education.
“APSU is special to me because I felt like the daunting task of being a returning student was assuaged by the kindness of both the teachers and my fellow students,” she added. “I received a lot of support during my time at APSU and made lifelong friends and colleagues.”
UniqueScientists.com recently profiled Von Hagen, and she talks about being a woman in STEM and the additional challenges of working “in the remote Kenyan bush, daily driv(ing) out into the field in less than desirable conditions, track elephants, engage with local native communities, and do a whole bunch of other stuff that women ‘aren’t supposed to do.’”
TO LEARN MORE
- You can read the UniqueScientist.com interview with Von Hagen at https://uniquescientists.com/2019/07/29/unique-scientist-lynn-von-hagen.
- You can learn more about Von Hagen’s current project in Kenya at facebook.com/ElesKenya and at https://earthwatch.org/Expeditions/Elephants-and-Sustainable-Agriculture-in-Kenya.
- To learn more about APSU’s Department of Biology, go to apsu.edu/biology.
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