Bethlehem Astella, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Bethlehem Astella, Ph.D, is a Postdoctoral Associate with the Community Engagement team, working on developing measurement tools and indicators to track progress in social outcomes of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's global conservation programs and community engagement practices. She works in close partnership with local partners and community groups in the African Forest conservation hub, the Savanna hub, and the Pacific Islands hub to develop a framework for assessing human well-being outcomes of SDZWA’s programs.

She completed her Ph.D. in human dimensions of natural resources at Colorado State University. Her dissertation work focused on evaluating local communities’ perceptions of social equity and conservation attitudes in community-based wildlife management programs in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia.

Bethlehem has worked at Hawassa University in Ethiopia for five years as a researcher and lecturer, where she has been involved with community-based conservation projects in and around protected areas in the Central Rift Valley and southern Ethiopia. Some of her roles involved research in program design, monitoring and evaluation; conflict management; and facilitating various community engagement efforts. She has worked as a social science consultant on projects working to advance social equity outcomes among underserved communities in the U.S., in partnership with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

She has a strong interest in collaborative conservation program design and evaluation, focusing on human well-being, social equity, and biodiversity conservation outcomes.