Dr. Angie Estrada graduated from Virginia Tech with a Ph.D. from the department of Biological Sciences in November, 2019. In 2020, Angie became the first woman to serve as the director of Summit Municipal Park known as the only public botanical garden and zoo in Panama. She continues working in community ecology, the management of captive populations, ex-situ and in-situ conservation and science outreach for the protection of Panama’s wildlife.
Angie joined Dr. Lisa Belden’s lab in the fall of 2014. Her research focused on defining strategies for in situ disease mitigation, surveillance of chytrid fungus in the environment, and the reintroduction of species kept in captive breeding programs. Through her work in Dr. Belden’s lab, Angie worked to bolster her conservation background with a solid research foundation.
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Angie obtained her bachelor’s degree in environmental biology at Universidad de Panama where she conducted undergraduate research on male mate preferences on a polymorphic amphibian, the strawberry poison frog. After completing her degree, she had a wide range of experiences ranging from assisting research on animal plasticity, sexual behavior, and the effect of environmental changes on physiological processes to addressing relevant and imperative issues on captive managed populations. Along with teaching field courses, coordinating volunteers and developing outreach programs for conservation in Panama, Angie’s experiences led her to discover that she was strongly drawn to teaching and research, hence her desire to earn a PhD.
During her graduate studies, Angie served as coordinator of the Panamanian Golden Frog Conservation Strategy working group, an interdisciplinary group of scientists, conservationists, government officials, and educators that, for the first time, are joining efforts to create a recovery plan for the Panamanian golden frog. Angie joined the IGC program with intention to reinforce her involvement in strategic conservation planning in order to create an integrated recovery program that covers research, management, and community engagement. Her goals to establish a collaborative network that links research institutions and government agencies to more effectively promote species conservation in Panama and throughout the neo-tropics have now been realized through her leadership role at the Summit Municipal Park in Panama.