Connor Harron is currently a Ph.D. student in Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, and has a BA in Social Psychology from Western Washington University (WWU). His primary research experience has been in the fields of Environmental and Human Security.
Before arriving at UCI, he worked on several research projects including, environmental norms and behavior change, environmental education, default choices and sustainability, and student study methods and performance. He has participated in multiple international programs and institutions, including the Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action program in Costa Rica and the Conservation Psychology Institute hosted by Antioch University in 2011. Currently, Connor is working as a teaching assistant within the School of Social Ecology at UCI and as of 2013 has joined Dr. Richard Matthew’s Environmental Security Research Group (ESRG) and the Africa Initiative project. Specifically, Harron will now examine how climate stress may impact HIV/AIDS prevalence in vulnerable populations. In regards to his relationship with the center, the dedicated researcher had the following to say:
Q: How did you hear about the center? What brought you in contact with CUSA?
A: I first heard about CUSA from Beth Karlin in 2011 at the Western Psychology Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA. After Beth reviewed my poster presentation at the WPA she quickly introduced herself to me and proceeded to educate me about the School of Social Ecology and the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs at UCI. Obviously, I took the bite.
Q: How do you think you (personally) and your research’s area of focus align with CUSA’s overall mission?
A: My primary goal as a researcher is to conduct ethical research that saves lives, builds resilience, and mitigates climate change. CUSA’s mission to serve as a hub for researchers to “study and develop solutions to human and environmental security challenges” fits directly in line with my own.
Q. Have you chosen a research project to pursue at CUSA? If so, can you describe it? If not, what current research topics/projects at CUSA interest you most?
A: I am currently working to examine the association between climate change and the spread of infectious disease, specifically HIV/AIDS. I want to better understand this relationship and the other factors impacting HIV/AIDS prevalence in vulnerable populations. I will use this information to help develop and implement holistic intervention strategies designed to improve health, education, and access to technology in a way that empowers local communities rather than increasing dependency on foreign aid.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish while at CUSA?
A: While here at UCI, I hope to utilize the network CUSA has built in order to develop my own research career. I want to collaborate with professionals from diverse fields on common goals to directly impact environmental and human health. In addition, I hope to establish myself in the research community as a leader in the evaluation and implementation of public health and conservation programs.