Following is one of 28 first-person alumni profiles that were compiled in a photo book for the Park Foundation Trustees in September 2016. Each alumnus was ask to share highlights of his or her path from receiving the Park Scholarship to the present day.
Name: Brian Parham ’11
High school: Northern Durham High School
Hometown: Hillsborough, North Carolina
Undergraduate field(s) of study: Biological Sciences with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, and International Cultural Studies
Current place of residence: Washington, D.C.
Current job title and employer: Project Coordinator, Conservation Council of Nations, The ICCF Group
As Project Coordinator for the Conservation Council of Nations, I manage a UNEP/GEF-funded project which engages with policymakers and government officials on topics of governance and judiciary capacity to combat wildlife trafficking of elephants and rhinos in East and Southern Africa. Poaching and trafficking of wildlife is a major issue in the region, impacting security, economic development, and the natural environment. My work focuses on building political will and providing policymakers with tools and information to address the issues of wildlife trafficking and natural resource management in their countries. With the broad-reaching impacts of these topics, I work to create an environment where a wide variety of stakeholders can provide input, so that policymakers can make informed decisions regarding wildlife and natural resource management.
The Park Scholarships program was the foundation to my current work in the field of conservation. During my time in the Park Scholarships program, I was transformed by the rich and multi-talented community which inspired me to be confident in my convictions and to pursue my passions to help others, by addressing natural resource challenges and the impact they have on communities.
My academic career culminated in my senior thesis which focused upon the role that conservation could play in community development in Ecuador. Now, every day I work to increase the awareness that policymakers have on natural resource issues which impact their constituencies, so that better management decisions and policies can be made. I credit the academic programs which encouraged me to think broadly on how issues affect our communities, and the leadership ethic steeped throughout the Park Scholarship program with providing me skills which I use on a daily basis. Issues in conservation are rarely one-sided, so these skills are critical to be able to address the views of stakeholders and to think about the impacts that natural resource issues have at the community, national, and international levels.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Park Foundation Trustees. The Park Scholarship was fundamental to my development as a scholar, as a leader, and as a human being.