Becca Brunner

2015 Hellman Graduate Awardee

Environmental Science Policy and Management
UC Berkeley

Becca Brunner is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM) whose passion for conservation derives from an insatiable curiosity and adoration of the natural world. “The ESPM department immediately stood out to me because it supports a community of researchers from typically separate disciplines. Effective conservation requires a wide range of perspectives and skill-sets and it’s rare to have such a powerful diversity of minds tackling the same problem,” Brunner says.

Before attending Berkeley, Brunner majored in English and Biology at Cornell University and received an M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. Brunner has conducted fieldwork in the jungles of Peru, the Philippines, Australia, and Madagascar, where she worked on projects related to environmental change.

For the last three years, she has worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology — a conservation non-profit affiliated with Cornell — as an instructor and as the developmental editor of an ornithology textbook, while earning an M.S. in Neurobiology and Animal Behavior.

Brunner will join the Kremen Lab at Berkeley in the fall, where she hopes to examine the role of amphibians in the ecosystem and focus on amphibian conservation.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. and receiving the Hellman Fellowship fostered a sense of confidence that my past experiences have prepared me to join the Berkeley community,” Brunner says.