In the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) at Defenders of Wildlife, we pioneer creative, pragmatic conservation solutions at the intersection of science, technology, and policy. Our team of scientists, policy analysts, and technical specialists makes this possible:
Jacob Malcom, PhD – Director, Center for Conservation Innovation
Jacob is a biologist, programmer, and policy analyst who previously worked in the field for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the US-Mexico border in Arizona; completed his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Texas at Austin; and has been at Defenders since January, 2015. When not working on science, technology, and policy for conservation, he’s out finding plants and critters, often in Western Maryland where he lives with his wife, daughter, and three dogs.
Michael Evans, PhD – Conservation Data Scientist
Mike has a background and interest in spatial ecology. He studied the movement patterns and space use of black bears in relation to man-made features while working on his PhD at the University of Connecticut and tracked mountain lion behavior in response to human activity in Saskatchewan. He is also a scientific SCUBA diver, and studied coral ecology in the Bahamas and Florida Keys during his M.S. at the University at Buffalo. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, archery, snowboarding and disc golf.
Megan Evansen, MS – Conservation Science and Policy Analyst
Meg has a background in conservation and biology and has previously worked with Defenders on research relating to the Endangered Species Act before joining the Center for Conservation Innovation in 2017. She has previously worked on conservation issues around the US at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA, the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, and the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, LA. She holds a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Genetics with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
Jennie Miller, PhD – Senior Scientist
Jennie is a wildlife ecologist who studies the socio-ecological drivers of human-wildlife interactions and develops decision support tools to transform conflict into coexistence. She has worked in North America, Asia, and Africa on a range of taxa, and is particularly infatuated with big cats. Jennie also actively contributes to efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the science and conservation community. Jennie earned her Ph.D. while data crunching over New Haven pizza at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She enjoys birding and painting in Washington DC with her husband and tiny cat.
Mae Lacey, BS – GIS and Technical Computing Associate
Mae earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behavior with a minor in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University with a background studying species delineation, the effect of climate on wildlife, and seabird endocrinology and feeding behavior via GPS tracking. Prior to joining Defenders in September of 2018, Mae worked with a variety of wildlife and plants in Australia, Alaska, and most recently with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Connecticut monitoring endangered roseate tern populations. In her free time, Mae loves to get out and explore the best places for hiking and wildlife photography outside DC.
Shayna Steingard, MS – CCI Coordinator
Shayna graduated from Indiana University in 2018, earning a Master of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Public Affairs, with a focus on Environmental Justice. While in Indiana, Shayna worked for Sycamore Land Trust, protecting land for many of Indiana’s endangered species. Shayna also spent two years as a science teacher in Missouri with Teach for America while earning her Master of Elementary Education. In her free time, she enjoys baking for her friends and family.
Sasha Patsel, MS – Application Developer
Conservation GIS Scientist – VACANT
Are you a GIS scientist with a background and strong interest in conservation? We’re looking to fill our Conservation GIS Scientist position!
Senior Conservation Policy Analyst – VACANT
Do you have a background in conservation policy and science or technology? We’re looking to fill our Senior Conservation Policy Analyst position!