Field of Interest: Other
Placement Organization: Village Focus International Laos
Placement Location: Vientiane, Laos
About ElspethElspeth Collard is a senior at the University of Richmond from Alexandria, Virginia. She is an Environmental Health major, a course of study she created through the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies program. The major examines the intersection of environmental studies and public health with a particular focus on populations disproportionately impacted by issues in these fields. She is a student researcher on the University of Richmond’s NASA SERVIR-Amazonia applied sciences team. She previously spatially analyzed the socioenvironmental impacts of road proposals across a region in the southwestern Amazon. She now studies the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities in these areas. She plans to further investigate how air quality, worsened by agricultural and deforestation fires, could be exacerbating the effects of COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions on Indigenous peoples. In the fall of 2021, she traveled abroad to Kenya through the School for Field Studies program to learn more about wildlife ecology, natural resource management, and the ‘human dimension of conservation.’ She did anthropological research under Dr. Richard Kiaka, conducting field interviews with local Indigenous peoples, politicians, and NGO representatives. Through her thematic analysis of the interviews, she wrote the research thesis “The Viability of Community-Based Tourism in Conservancies of the Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem.” At the University of Richmond, she is also the outreach coordinator and a summer camp counselor for Kesem, a year-round program that supports children whose loved ones have been affected by cancer. She is also the Vice President of SEEDS (Students Engaging in and Enacting a Dialogue on Service), a student-run organization that plans three different service-learning trips for students over spring break. The trips involve talking with local stakeholders about their efforts to address issues such as environmental racism, food deserts, and sea level rise as well as intentional, informed service related to those issues. She is also an ambassador for the University of Richmond’s A&S NEXT conference in which Arts & Sciences students complete leadership workshops, network with alumni, and work collaboratively to propose fact-based, realistic solutions for some of Richmond’s most pressing issues. Lastly, she volunteers in Henrico County (outside of the City of Richmond) as an EMT for Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad, responding to 911 calls. She is training to be a squad leader, the lead care provider for patients and the supervisor of their crew.
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