Samantha Helle

Wildlife Biology

Human-tiger conflict is one of the most urgent issues facing tiger conservation today. Gendered divisions of labor place men and women who depend on forests where tigers live for subsistence at different risks for a tiger attack.  Sam received her B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and her M.S. in Natural Resource Sciences and Management from the University of Minnesota and has worked in Nepal for the past five years with local communities and NGOs on human-tiger conflict issues. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison. Her work connects the traditionally separated disciplines of biological conservation, gender studies, and political ecology to holistically address and mitigate human-tiger conflicts.

Tracy Fehr

Sociology

Tracy is a Sociology PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder and holds a Master’s in International Studies. Her research areas include gender, human rights, development, and transitional justice in Nepal. As a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellow, Tracy will examine how Nepal’s ongoing transitional justice process operates as a site through which gendered social memory is shaped and contested in the post-conflict society. Tracy’s previous research in Nepal has explored the unintended local consequences of post-earthquake development, and the intersectional experiences of widows during and after the 2015 earthquakes. Prior to academia, Tracy worked at the Enough Project in Washington D.C. on international human rights policy and advocacy issues, and in Kathmandu, Nepal as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Crisis Management Studies.

Miguel Sawaya

Religious Studies

I am a PhD student in religious studies at the University of Virginia. I received a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from UCLA and a master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from Naropa University. My dissertation project centers on the life and work of Tselé Natsok Rangdrol, a seventeenth-century Buddhist luminary from southeastern Tibet. More specifically, the project focuses on this author’s collected advice, exploring the picture of religious and contemplative life that emerges from such interpersonal exchanges. As a Fulbright-Hays fellow in Nepal, I will be based at the Kathmandu University Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, where I will collaborate with Buddhist scholars to translate and analyze materials for his dissertation.