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Zoie McMillian

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Advisor : Dr. Willandia Chaves and Dr. Elizabeth Hunter

Research Interests: Conservation social science, illegal wildlife trade, herpetology, conservation biology  •  Lab Website

IGC Fellow

Zoie McMillian is a PhD Student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech co-advised by Dr. Willandia Chaves and Dr. Elizabeth Hunter. Zoie is interested in incorporating ecological methods and human dimensions of wildlife conservation research to inform wildlife management.

Zoie received her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from Virginia Tech in 2020 and her master’s degree in animal sciences from University of Maryland College Park in 2022. The focus of her master’s research was assessing methods to increase animal welfare on commercial farms. While conducting animal science research, Zoie became interested in evaluating animal health and working with stakeholders to create collaborative and transdisciplinary approaches to serve animals. Zoie’s background in animal welfare and behavior has ultimately led her to a specialized research interest in wildlife species and conservation with a One Health approach.

Zoie’s current research at Virginia Tech is centered around identifying potential set points of intervention in the process of illegal collection, trade, and reintroduction of turtles in the United States. She is working to determine the drivers of the illegal turtle consumption to inform policy that sustainably combat trade and support conservation efforts. Zoie also plans to incorporate wildlife health surveillance into her research by surveying eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) populations in Virginia, as disease prevalence plays an important role in informing reintroduction after seizure from illegal trading operations.

Interdisciplinary research is a primary focus of Zoie’s academic goals at Virginia Tech; she aims to tackle challenging conservation problems that directly involve human behavior. She is excited to be a part of the Interfaces of Global Change program because she hopes to gain valuable science communication skills and collaborate with researchers from different fields.