Rowan Converse, Class of 2010, was recently spotted on our campus with a member of her research team collecting some information in the bosque using drones!
As a PhD candidate in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of New Mexico, Rowan enjoys getting out in the field when she gets the opportunity. “We work in some amazing places around New Mexico,” said Rowan. “A lot of our research involves natural resource management, climate change, and other issues I'm passionate about—it feels good to contribute to a broader body of work that will have implications on the ground here in New Mexico and also across the whole field of practice,” she explained.
Prior to pursuing her PhD, Rowan earned her MS in Geography and Environmental Studies at UNM and a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Rowan currently works as a lab manager at the Center for the Advancement of Spatial Informatics Research and Education at UNM. There, she coordinates resources to support faculty and student research, collects and processes image and spatial data, and develops outreach materials for participatory science programs. While collecting data, Rowan utilizes a variety of methods and technology. “I really enjoy the opportunity to leverage new technologies and figure out how to collect scientific data in more efficient, ethical, and safe ways, Rowan shared. “The tech is really fun and interesting to work with—the drones especially!”
Her passion for data collection and field exploration blossomed as a student at Bosque. “I loved getting out in the field for so many of our science classes,” expressed Rowan. She has many fond memories of exploring the bosque through BEMP and Dan Shaw's Wildlife Biology class, hiking the volcanoes with Cathy Bailey, and sampling streams for Watershed Watch. “BEMP really paved the entire path for my scientific career by connecting me to my home landscape, which I knew and loved, and let me understand it even better from a perspective of scientific learning and stewardship.”
Rowan credits Dan Shaw for her entire career in the sciences. “His mentorship and BEMP led me down this path, and I would not have had the incredible career and life experiences in this field without them,” she said.
In her spare time, Rowan loves getting outside and enjoying the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico. She enjoys trail running, hiking, backpacking, snowshoe racing, and even skijoring—cross-country skiing with a dog pulling you. A few of her favorite indoor activities include listening to podcasts, reading short stories and essays, cooking, and “serving as furniture” for her cat, Aster. In September, she celebrated her one-year anniversary with her husband, Abram. Dan Shaw officiated the couple’s wedding ceremony on the shores of Lake Erie last year.
Rowan is looking forward to expanding on the work she does now, building more opportunities to reach out to the community, and helping others discover a passion for science the way she did. “I hope that the work I'm doing in natural resource management and wildlife study will have positive impacts on the landscapes of New Mexico, which I love so dearly.”