woman smiling

Carol Rizkalla went to the University of Richmond where she pursued a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Political Science. At that time, she was most interested in international environmental issues and sustainable development. After graduating, she went to Duke University for a Master of Environmental Management. This is a professional program, rather than a research program, stressing multidisciplinary coursework over a thesis. Typically, students do an internship between the first and second year, which results in the masters project. She took a 6 month internship at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her supervisor there studies Cotton-top tamarins in Colombia. Carol analyzed some of her supervisor’s data for her masters’ project, relating the diet of cotton-tops to reproductive patterns. Upon graduating from Duke, her boss at Disney offered her a position on an ongoing study of captive elephant behavior and vocalizations. She remained in this position for 2 years before returning to the world of field conservation. Carol then entered a doctoral program at Purdue in ecology. Her dissertation focuses on the dispersal ability of forest rodents in fragmented landscapes, and the implications of future land-use change. She hsan’t finished yet, but has returned to Disney a third time. This time she is there as the wildlife biologist. About one third of Disney property is in conservation easement. They are monitoring the wildlife there, as well as monitoring sea turtles that nest at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. So far, birds and butterflies have been the focus, but Carol hope to expand the program to herps and mammals.