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Sarah Juster

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Candidate  •  Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Advisor: Dr. John Munsell

Research Interests: Agroforestry in refugee settings, social dimensions of tree-based interventions, participatory mapping

IGC Fellow

Sarah Juster is a PhD student in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. Her area of doctoral research is the implementation of tree-based interventions in refugee-hosting northwestern Uganda. Sarah is also a 2023-2024 Fulbright Study/Research Award Recipient which will support her ongoing fieldwork in Uganda.

Sarah earned a dual Bachelor and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maine. She is completing a graduate certificate in Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, and a Geospatial Information Technology graduate certificate at Virginia Tech. Her work background includes forest carbon assessments for rural landowners in Maine, coordinating a grassroots scholarship program in rural Tanzania, qualitative research with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, and agricultural experience on cattle ranches and organic vegetable farms across the U.S. and Tanzania. Sarah is passionate about the social and livelihood benefits of agroforestry in rural communities.

In 2022 Sarah spent three months in northwestern Uganda conducting an evaluative study for World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) on their tree planting and extension work with refugees and hosts in the Imvepi and Rhino Camp refugee settlements. Her current doctoral research at Virginia Tech builds on this study by exploring the various models and outcomes of different tree-based interventions in the West Nile region of Uganda. She is excited to join the IGC to connect with students and faculty from a variety of disciplines.