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Tori Hymel

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •   Planning, Governance, and Globalization 

Research Interests: Human-wildlife conflict; conservation social science, anti-poaching; cross-cultural research

Advisor: Dr. Todd Schenk


Tori is a Ph.D. student in the Planning, Governance, and Globalization program at Virginia Tech. Originally from Maryland, she was a born animal-lover and knew from a young age she wanted a career working to help them in some way, eventually settling on wildlife conservation. While a psychology undergraduate student at Colgate University, she had an opportunity to travel to South Africa and get hands on experience with animal behavior research and animal husbandry. This experience also sparked a passion for considering and collaborating with local community members when doing conservation work.

Tori continued studying conservation social science in her master’s degree in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University. Her final capstone project involved working with Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone to create an anti-bushmeat campaign. But, with the onset of COVID, the sanctuary went on lockdown and Tori ended up splitting time between developing an interview guide for assessing wildlife value orientations and helping care for the orphaned baby chimpanzees. Moving forward from this work, she plans to keep in mind that completing the projects planned is far less important than prioritizing what communities and conservation organizations actually need.