The School for Field Studies (SFS) presented its Distinguished Student Researcher Award to one of its alumna in recognition of the exceptional environmental research they conducted while studying abroad during the fall semester of 2018. The award was presented to Yuxi Xia of Wellesley College.
Each year, The School for Field Studies honors its most exceptional students with Distinguished Student Researcher Awards for their important contributions in environmental research. SFS semester students engage in undergraduate research guided by SFS faculty on projects related to each Center’s long-term strategic research plan. Outcomes of these Directed Research (DR) projects provide information and recommendations to community members and other stakeholders on critical, local environmental issues.
Students are nominated by SFS faculty based on their demonstrated sophistication in research design, fieldwork, reporting, and contribution to the Center’s research plan. The SFS award also recognizes the student’s leadership exhibited while working with a team of student and faculty researchers in the field.
SFS Dean Dr. Mark Seifert and Assistant Dean Dr. Katie Goodall presented the award this spring with a nomination from the student’s DR advisor.
Yuxi Xia, Wellesley College and the SFS Center for Conservation and Development Studies, Cambodia
Xia’s research project, “Use, availability, and access regarding non-timber forest products in three Bunong villages in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Eastern Cambodia,” addresses the underlying reasons behind changes in access to and availability of natural resources for villages within the wildlife sanctuary. It accomplishes this by compiling an organized, trilingual (English, Khmer, Bunong) taxonomy of the recorded species at the study sites.
Professor Lisa Arensen, Xia’s DR advisor, remarks that she “exercised a high level of research integrity and worked to a very high standard” while remaining “empathetic, respectful, flexible, and uncomplaining in conditions that were occasionally very frustrating.” She adds that Xia produced “an excellent piece of undergraduate research that met her complex objectives,” and presented her research to community stakeholders “with great clarity and a deep level of understanding of her topic.”