Marcella Kelly, professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, has received the university’s 2017 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international research at Virginia Tech. Selection is based on contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, global impact, significance of the project, and sustainability of the project. Recipients are awarded $2,000.

In her time at Virginia Tech, Kelly has secured about $1million in sponsored research projects and funding with a diverse international portfolio, including work with the National Science Foundation in Belize and the World Wildlife Fund in Sumatra and Nepal. In 2013, Kelly was recognized by the Philadelphia Zoo as the Global Conservation Leader of the Year for her use of passive sampling to estimate the abundance of movement in elusive wildlife species.

Kelly has taught workshops in multiple countries as a result of her work in Belize, Botswana, Madagascar, Nepal, Senegal, and Sumatra as well as published 23 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the past two years. Thirteen of the graduate students under Kelly’s tutelage have conducted research internationally, and she involves several undergraduate students in her work overseas every summer. Through collaborations at the University of Belize, she has advised eight thesis students involved with her long-term monitoring program in Belize.

“Dr. Kelly has established an internationally recognized research program that is contributing to the conservation of biological diversity abroad as well as here in the commonwealth. The impacts of that research program on students from Virginia Tech and from the host countries are clear. Ultimately, the results of Dr. Kelly’s research are better conservation now and the training of the next generation of conservation professionals in the countries where she works,” Joel W. Snodgrass, department head and professor of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, wrote in a letter of nomination.

Kelly is admired by students and colleagues for her dedication to international work, and in 2012 she was awarded the Curriculum Club Award for Excellence in Teaching in the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

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