I always had an interest in nature and at 16 I started working as an educator at Lisbon Zoo, the city where I was born.
I later completed a Environmental Biology BSc at the University of Lisbon. During this time I took a few internships and courses in countries like Mexico, Uganda or Sri Lanka. This radically changed my understanding of conservation biology. I realized biodiversity conservation was essentially about people and the choices they make.
This epiphany lead me to a MSc in Conservation Biology at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, a program that uniquely combines the natural and social sciences. It was during my thesis work that changed my focus to the social sciences, working around economic valuation and ecotourism. I loved it so much that two years later, after a spell as the manager of a sea turtle project in Costa Rica, I came back for a PhD!
In 2013, I finished my thesis entitled “Advancing the flagship concept through conservation marketing” which was one of the first that introduced marketing theory to conservation science. In 2014, I began a David H. Smith Research Fellowship, focusing on “Using social return on investment to evaluate and improve conservation outreach”. This research hopes to bring more robust impact evaluation methods to conservation outreach and is a partnership between the Economics Department at Georgia State University and the NGO Rare.