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Dr Taryn Kong

Research Scientist


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I apply knowledge and methods from business, environmental sciences and qualitative intercultural research to support sustainable and equitable natural resource development and management by local communities. I have seven years of business experience as an accountant and an auditor. My doctoral studies focused on rangeland ecology and applied anthropology with research work in United States and South Africa. I have nine years of international and cross-cultural experience in participatory and transdisciplinary research across a range of sustainability issues.

• Climate change adaptation. Capacity development of municipal officials and small-scale farmers to integrate climate change into their practices in South Africa. Evaluation of climate change vulnerability and adaptation design for rural areas in developing countries.

• Indigenous natural resource development. Collaboration with Indigenous communities to develop bankable enterprises based on their natural and cultural resources in Northern Australia.

• Dryland degradation and restoration. Investigation of land degradation causes and vegetation assessment through local and scientific knowledge, and evaluations of land management practices in South Africa.

• Private sector and conservation. Mechanisms for leveraging private sector to upscale conservation efforts and climate change adaptation in developing countries.

Other Interests

• Applying systems thinking and social learning concepts to enhance collaboration and local knowledge integration

• Communicating and translating science to create opportunities for impacts

• Integrating quantitative and qualitative methods and analyses to build holistic understanding

• Continuing to build research experience in international, cross-cultural and developmental settings by leveraging my cross-culture and language background

• Innovating sustainable business models by drawing inspiration from transdisciplinary approach and systems thinking

Achievements and Awards

  • 2019-2019

    Successful Postdoc Fellow

  • 2013-2013

    Outstanding Dissertation Award
    University of Arizona

  • 2009-2012

    Ervin H. Zube Scholarship
    University of Arizona

  • 2011-2012

    P.E.O. Scholar Award
    Philanthropic Educational Organization

  • 2007-2009

    Science Foundation Arizona Graduate Research Fellowship
    University of Arizona

  • 1995-2000

    Presidential Scholarship
    Bernard M. Baruch College

Current Roles

  • CERC Postdoctoral Fellow
    Regional prosperity, Sustainability Pathway

Academic Qualifications

  • 2013

    Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resources Studies; Minor: Anthropology
    University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

  • 2000

    Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
    Bernard M. Baruch College-CUNY, New York, NY, USA

Professional Experiences

  • 2015-2018

    Climate Change Research Associate
    Association for Water and Rural Development, Hoedspruit, South Africa

  • 2013-2014

    Short-Term Consultant
    International Finance Corporation

  • 2011-2012

    Research Associate
    Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona

  • 2010-2011

    Research Associate
    North-West University

  • 2007-2010

    Research Associate
    Office of Arid Lands Studies (2009-2010) and School of Natural Resources and the Environment (2007-2009), University of Arizona

  • 2006-2007

    Accounting Consultant
    ON24, Inc.

  • 2005-2006

    Senior Accountant
    Calypso Technology Inc.

  • 2004-2004

    Lead Auditor
    Neptune Orient Lines Limited

  • 2000-2003

    Audit Senior
    Deloitte LLP

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2019-present

    Early- to Mid-Career Researcher Committee for Land & Water

  • 2019-present

    STEM Professionals in School