Virginia Tech® home

Dr. Bennett Grooms

PHD FELLOW ALUMNI   |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni June 2021, Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Advisor: Dr. Ashley Dayer

Google Scholar  •


Bennett Grooms was a Ph.D student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation working in Dr. Ashley Dayer’s human dimensions lab. He started at Virginia Tech in Fall of 2017 and completed his dissertation in 2021, which focused on understanding how social concepts, such as identity, motivations, and perceptions, influence the conservation behaviors of wildlife recreationists. His research culminated in the creation of a 10-year wildlife recreation management plan for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to better engage and serve wildlife viewers and other recreationists and their wildlife pursuits.

Bennett earned his B.S. in Wildlife Sciences with minors in Captive Wild Animal Management and Biology from the University of Missouri in 2014, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. During his undergraduate training, he worked with captive wildlife husbandry and carnivore behavior in South Africa and served as a carnivore keeper and trainer at several zoos. After becoming interested in field research, Bennett went on to earn his M.S. at Arkansas Tech University (2016) under the advisement of Dr. Rachael Urbanek. Here, Bennett studied citizen science and the effects of recreationists on avian, mesocarnivore, and woody vegetation communities in state parks.  

Bennett now works as an Assistant Professor at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH, teaching in their Biology and Earth Science Department. Specifically, he will teach in their zoo and conservation science program, and work with students to explore animal behavior, husbandry, and health. Since graduating, Bennett has also been working to publish his dissertation research in several journals, and continues to pursue opportunities in interdisciplinary conservation work and effective science communication. 

Last updated September 2022.