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}.

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 is a lab technician in the Dayer Lab working on a research project examining the coupled human-natural system of birdfeeding. He obtained a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, along with a minor in Development Sociology. He has previously conducted research on winter habitat use by field birds, Black-throated Blue Warbler demography, and the response of Northeastern forest birds to timber harvest.


Ali McClung

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ali earned a B.S. in wildlife conservation from Virginia Tech and is currently working on a second B.S. degree in forest resource management. Ali has always been fascinated by and passionate about the environment and the creatures that live within it, so it was only natural for her to pursue a career in the field of wildlife conservation. Her main interests include wildlife habitat management, conservation education, and the effects of human activity on habitat health.

Ali’s Interest in human impact on the environment was sparked when she went on a study abroad trip to Panama in the winter of 2015. The experience allowed her to see the extreme difference in values of people living in the city versus those living on farms surrounded by forests and wildlife. It also taught her about the impacts that these values have on the environment. This interest began to grow stronger after Ali took Dr. Dayer’s Human Dimensions of Fish and Wildlife Conservation course. Ali joined the Dayer lab in the fall of 2017 to learn more about human dimensions research and explore options within the field.