Important Thesis Update

Rainforest in Guyana by an unknown photographer. CC BY-SA 3.0
Rainforest in Guyana by an unknown photographer. CC BY-SA 3.0

Hello everyone, I have important updates to share regarding my master’s thesis.

As many of you know, I have been raising money for my upcoming research in Guyana. The plan was for me to live in the village of Yupukari for 12 weeks, whilst learning about residents’ cultural and spiritual beliefs about jaguars. That is still the plan, but with one alteration.

At this point it will be nearly impossible for me to acquire all the funds I need by this summer. I simply cannot devote enough time to my GoFundMe campaign for this to happen, and the likelihood of obtaining sufficient grant money in two months is extremely small. I have also taken on additional responsibilities that are slowing down my thesis preparation. But most importantly, I have found an advisor who is willing to be flexible.

When applying to Humboldt State University, the information I read stated that students typically conduct their research during their second year in the program. I interpreted this to mean the second school year. However, during our Mattole trip I was told that it meant the first summer in the program. You can imagine my horror when I realized I had significantly less time to prepare than I thought.

Since then I have been frequently told that I need to conduct my field work this summer, so that I can finish my degree within two years. I gave it my best shot, but this simply is not reasonable for the type of research I want to do and I refuse to give up on my dreams. Luckily I will not have to.

I have been quite clear about my intention of focusing on the human dimensions of jaguar conservation. I will not give up on this. I am also too committed to the idea of studying in Guyana to back out now. Jaguar by Michelle Bender. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
I have been quite clear about my intention of focusing on the human dimensions of jaguar conservation. I will not give up on this. I am also too committed to the idea of studying in Guyana to back out now. Jaguar by Michelle Bender. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I now have a formal advisor/thesis committee chair who has encouraged me to follow my passion. So here is the newer, more sensible plan:

I will still travel to Yupukari this summer. But this will be a preliminary visit, and not the start of my field work. I will spend 2-3 weeks meeting people, getting acquainted with local conditions, and refining my topic. I will then return to California, finish my classes, and set aside an entire year to work on my thesis. This means that my actual field work will not begin until Summer 2018.

I realize that this is a notable change in plans, but it cannot be helped. I will almost certainly not raise all the money I need by this summer, nor will I be able to conduct quality anthropological research in 12 weeks. Giving myself an extra year to prepare, and conducting a scouting trip this summer, will greatly improve my chances of getting funded. Setting aside a third year to focus exclusively on my thesis will also make for a stronger, more participatory project.

I have now raised $1,925 through my GoFundMe campaign, which will go a long way towards financing this summer’s preliminary visit. If you are uncomfortable with me using your money in this way, please let me know. I will fully refund anyone who requests it. I will need more money than what I have generated, so I will continue to run the campaign. But I will update it to reflect my new plan as soon as possible.

I am extremely grateful for everyone who has supported me in any way. I hope that you are okay with this necessary shift, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

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14 thoughts on “Important Thesis Update

  1. Que buena noticia Josh! :D Bah, en mi opinión la encuentro así ya que tenés más tiempo para juntar plata para el proyecto en sí digamos y podés también dependiendo de eso hacer algo mucho más copado :D
    Me alegra mucho! Cuando te vas para allá las dos semanas?
    Un besoo :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gracias Ani! Creo que esta es buena noticia también, porque ahora puedo crear un proyecto mucho mejor. Y necesito más tiempo para encontrar dinero.

      Con suerte voy a ir a Guyana en Junio. Probablemente pasaré dos semanas en el capital de Georgetown, y dos semanas en la región de Rupununi. :)

      Liked by 1 person

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