Reyhane Rastgoo (she/her)

Ph.D. Student 


Reyhane Rastgoo is a Ph.D. student at the Dayer Human Dimensions Lab in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. Reyhane holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and pursued a master’s in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at the University of Tehran in Iran. During her exploration for her master’s thesis, she discovered a captivating intersection between conservation and social science, leading her to delve deeper into the realm of human-wildlife interactions and the human dimensions of wildlife. Motivated by her curiosity about how cultural values and beliefs influence people’s behavior toward wildlife and its conservation, Reyhane’s academic journey has defined her scholarly interests.

Her master’s thesis involved conducting a questionnaire-based study across 26 remote villages in Golestan province, assessing attitudes toward brown bears. She also gained research experience in projects using quantitative and qualitative social research methodologies, including studies on attitudes toward killing animals for conservation, beekeepers’ attitudes toward bee-eaters in Firouzkuh, Iran, and conducting semi-structured interviews with exotic pet owners to understand their motivations.

Reyhane will be doing research as a Graduate Research Assistant that centers around investigating the motivations behind longleaf pine landowners’ participation in the Conservation Reserve Program. It will provide an excellent platform for her to get deeper and incorporate diverse methodologies and theories to enrich policy and management. Through a mixed-methods approach, she aims to uncover the factors influencing landowners’ decisions, as well as the barriers they may encounter.

Reyhane is deeply committed to bridging the gap between academia and practical conservation efforts. She sees her research as a means to contribute meaningfully to the conservation field, ultimately striving to promote better coexistence between humans and nature. Outside of her academic pursuits, Reyhane enjoys practicing yoga, taking walks to photograph nature, listening to podcasts, and watching documentaries.

For more information about Reyhane’s work, visit her on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and her Personal Website.