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Lauren D. Pharr

Graduate Student | Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources | North Carolina State University

2021 – 2022 Global Change Fellow

Statement of purpose:

I grew up in a very rural area and was exposed to nature and wildlife all my life; my dad is a hunter and my uncle was an avid birdwatcher, though a career in wildlife biology was not what I had in mind. Being an animal lover I first sought to become a veterinarian. After high school, I attended Wingate University as a Biology major but was still questioning my career path. Once I became a sophomore, I conducted some research out in Idaho studying sheep with my undergrad advisor Dr. Alison Brown. This experience changed me, and it was then that I knew that I liked and wanted to continue to do research. Still searching for my niche, I went and talked with my ornithology professor Dr. Edward Mills. He got me to work on studying vocal harmonics in Chinese Blue-breasted Quail, and from there I ended up gaining a strong passion for wanting to study and learn more about birds. I ended up taking a wildlife management course which drew me into wanting to study wildlife biology, and I graduated in 2019 with my B.S. in Environmental Biology.

Wanting to further my education, I attended N.C. State University and was accepted into their Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology masters program. My thesis involved studying the effects of urban noise and light pollution on adult avian survivorship. I graduated in May of 2021 with my M.S. and am currently working on my Ph.D. My research will be interdisciplinary and will focus across the broad realms of ecology, evolution, conservation, management, and policy. As a fellow, I will gain the opportunity to be a part of a cohort of peers within these same disciplines. It will take individuals from all disciplines to help the planet and its species when it comes to informing and making decisions related to climate change.

Description of research:

As an avian ecologist, I am very interested in behavioral responses related to climate change. For my dissertation work, I seek to determine the relation between how increased population densities and altered behavior may produce density-dependent mortality in conjunction with climate change in the federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Through my research, I will be partnering with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other federal and state agencies.

Contact Information:


Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Caren Cooper (Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NCSU)

Meet Lauren:

Lauren co-founded a non-profit with Murry Burgess called Field Inclusive. Follow them on Twitter: @FieldInclusive

Field Inclusive Mission:

  1. Recognize & celebrate diverse scientists.
  2. Provide scholarships to field biologists in the natural sciences.
  3. Partner with other organizations to help them create safety policies for field biologists.

View a video created by Lauren describing her research as a Global Change Fellow: