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Since 2000, Kathleen has worked on international environment and development policy and programming with a wide range of organizations. She has worked for the Compliance/Advisor Ombudsman of the World Bank Group, investigating project-affected communities’ claims of adverse livelihood impacts and violations of the institution’s social and environmental safeguards; for US Forest Service International Programs, building capacity for sustainable forest management in numerous African nations; and with farmers in the Sudano-Sahelian region of Cameroon on agroforestry, HIV/AIDS education, and women’s empowerment as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Prior to beginning doctoral studies in 2010, she spent two years as an Associate in Research at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where her research focused on the nexus of forest and climate policy and initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD). She continues to work on REDD and advises leading conservation and development organizations on how to improve and evaluate their programs’ social impacts.


Kathleen’s dissertation employs impact evaluation techniques to understand the effectiveness of a cash transfer program in reducing poverty in rural Zambia. She is examining whether the program enables households to cope with weather-related shocks, how heterogeneity in market access affects program success, and effects of the cash transfer on poverty-environment relationships. Kathleen earned her Bachelor’s degree at the College of William & Mary and her Master’s degree at Duke University, where she studied environmental economics and forest ecology and conducted research on the safety net role of non-timber forest products in rural Cameroon. She is the recipient of an EPA STAR Fellowship, a Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship, and a UNC Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship.