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Community Spotlight

The community spotlight highlights the achievements of the MSU Africanist community.

Montgomery1.jpgRobert Montgomery, Ph.D.

Over the past several decades, wildlife conservation research by African scholars has slowly increased. Recently, the Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) Laboratory, leb by Dr. Robert A. Montgomery, has been making significant strides in this area. Dr. Montgomery's work has resulted in increases in the number of African scientists and in the importance of the roles they play in the research process. He seeks to develop a cohort of independent wildlife conservationists from Africa. Therefore, students in his laboratory are involved in the entire scholarly process of designing of research questions, coordinating field research activities, and in the writing and publishing of results as first authors.

Dr. Montgomery’s RECaP Lab stands out in its diversity of students working together to understand various aspects of wildlife ecology. Since the establishment of RECaP in 2014, Dr. Montgomery has mentored a total of 27 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, 13 of whom are male and 14 female. Among these students, nine are from Africa. This approach has benefited individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in science and has created opportunities for students from around the world to establish strong collaborative networks.

Arthur Muneza, a PhD student from Rwanda, states; “my experience working with Dr. Montgomery has been extremely beneficial. My master’s research on giraffe skin disease under his guidance led to my inclusion in the IUCN, Species Survival Commission, and the Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group. Following this, Dr. Montgomery enabled my connections with several wildlife research partners in the USA, United Kingdom and in Africa. Had it not been for Dr. Montgomery’s encouragement and advice, my career would not have progressed to the extent it has in such a short time.”

Another of Dr. Montgomery’s students, Tutilo Mudumba, will complete his PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife in the fall of 2019. Tutilo is from Uganda and originally came to MSU to study for a Master’s degree in 2016. He states that Dr. Montgomery has been responsive, empathetic, and genuinely engaged with Tutilo’s research since Tutilo joined the RECaP lab. “Dr. Montgomery’s dedication to my academic welfare and his decision to recommend me for the PhD put me closer to my ambition of becoming a professor of Wildlife Conservation at Makerere University in Uganda.”

Dr. Montgomery has received numerous awards in recognition of his scholarship and teaching, including the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from The Graduate School, Michigan State University's Teacher-Scholar Award, the John K. Hudzik Emerging International Leadership award from International Studies and Programs, and Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.