Dr. Ashley Dayer

Assistant Professor

Dr. Dayer is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. She teaches an undergraduate/graduate level course in Human Dimensions of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and is a Global Change Center affiliated faculty member. Her research program focuses on social science applied to wildlife, particularly bird, conservation {more info}.

Ashley Gramza

National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator

Originally hailing from NW Ohio, Gramza is a conservation social scientist who is interested in understanding why and how people make decisions that affect wildlife and natural resources. Ashley has a unique blend of experience in both wildlife biology and social science. She holds a B.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S. in human dimensions of natural resources from Colorado State University. Gramza is currently finishing her Ph.D. in wildlife biology at Colorado State, where she studied the human and biological factors related to interactions between outdoor domestic cats and wildlife {more info}.

Bennett Grooms

Ph.D. Student

Bennett Grooms is a Ph.D student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation working in Dr. Ashley Dayer’s human dimensions lab. He started Fall of 2017 and is researching the human dimensions of wildlife viewers with the VDGIF to construct a Wildlife Recreation Management Plan for the state of Virginia. Specifically, he is interested in how differing outdoor recreation groups view and interact with the agency, including how the behaviors and attitudes of those groups influence their participation in conservation and wildlife viewing programs {more info}.

Becca O'Brien

PH.D. Candidate

Becca joined the Dayer lab in the summer of 2018 as a PhD student studying the social and ecological aspects of hellbender conservation. Her interest in research began as an undergraduate at Colorado College where she studied environmental science and completed two independent research projects. The first looked at niche partitioning between native and invasive bee species in rural Paraguay, while the second addressed the population dynamics of ants and aphids in desert yucca communities {more info}.





Carolyn Comber

M.S. Student

Carolyn is a Masters student working in the Dayer Lab in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. Carolyn attended Ithaca College where she earned a B.S. in Biology with magna cum laude honors in 2014. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Carolyn began working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex {more info}.

Seth Lutter

M.S. Student

Seth is a Masters student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. He joined the Dayer lab in the fall of 2016 to study the human dimensions of early successional habitat conservation on private lands {more info}.

Lara Mengak

M.S. Student

Lara joined the Dayer lab in the Fall of 2016. Her research interests include human-wildlife interactions and coexistence, conservation behavior decision-making, integrating social and ecological data, and more generally, bird conservation {more info}.

Mary Sketch

M.S. Student

Mary joined the Dayer lab in December 2016. Born and raised in North Carolina, she recently moved back East from California where she was working at the intersection of rural community development and watershed management in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Mary graduated from Brown University in Environmental Studies (2015) with a focus in natural resource law and policy. Her academic interests center on the human dimensions of land conservation, particularly in the American West {more info}.



Connor Rosenblatt

Human Dimensions Technician

Connor Rosenblatt was a Human Dimensions Technician in the Dayer Lab in 2018.  He worked on a research project examining the coupled human-natural system of birdfeeding. He is now a Masters student in Environmental Science at The Ohio State University.


    Ali McClung

    Undergraduate Research Assistant

    Ali McClung was an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Dayer Lab in 2017-2018. While at Virginia Tech she double-majored in Wildlife Conservation and Forest Resource Management. Ali is now the state’s Nuisance Bear Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Her human dimensions skills come in handy when talking to landowners about nuisance bears.