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Kirsten Hodgson

Kirsten Hodgson graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Davis in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate, Kirsten worked in an evolutionary genetics lab, where she completed a thesis that examined the genetic basis of variation in signaling compounds that influence mating behavior of female orchid bees. She also conducted an independent research project exploring strategies for communicating climate science to the public. She found that environmental science is most effectively communicated when learners are able to connect with issues personally and when they begin learning at a young age. These findings inspired Kirsten to accept a position after graduation in the Water Education department of Sonoma Water, a water utility serving Sonoma County, California. There, she led classroom and field programs to teach children about climate change, water and energy conservation, and riparian ecosystems. After a severe wildfire occurred near her home in 2017, Kirsten became interested in forest management and fire ecology. She is particularly concerned with the impacts of climate change on post-disturbance ecological resilience and recovery of forest ecosystems. At the Bren School, Kirsten is specializing in Conservation Planning. In the future, she hopes to utilize strategic communication skills to develop management plans that gain public support and protect vulnerable ecosystems as they are increasingly impacted by climate change.

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