Cheli Cresswell Sinclair


Cheli is a DPhil (PhD) student at University of Oxford‘s School of Geography and the Environment. Her research focuses on the capacity of emergent technology to transform citizen science to help localize and democratize conservation policy and practice. She sits on the board of directors of Key Conservation, and since 2016 has worked with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science to help found the Conservation Optimism movement.


She holds a Master of Science in Sustainability, and prior to starting her doctorate worked for National Wildlife Federation‘s Campus Ecology program, helping connect and inspire college students to conserve nature and combat global warming, and taught Sustainability and Environmental Communications courses at Lipscomb University.


Cheli lives in Oxford with her husband, conservation scientist Sam Sinclair.  She enjoys hiking, wandering Oxford’s many museums, and researching new and innovative ways to address conservation’s most pressing issues.

I have completed nine terms of my PhD (called a DPhil at Oxford) in the School of Geography and the Environment at University of Oxford. I am an active member of Jesus College, and I belong to the Conservation Governance Lab within the Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Conservation research cluster, supervised by Dr. Paul Jepson. The multidisciplinary nature of my research means I also engage with colleagues in the Zoology department and Oxford Internet Institute regularly.

As of 2018, I serve on the Board of Directors of Key Conservation, a non-profit tech start up which is developing a mobile app designed to connect conservation organizations and their supporters through real-time updates and opportunities for donation, volunteering, and skill-sharing, with a particular focus on advising on citizen science and strategic engagement. The app will be released summer 2018.

I am the Engagement Strategist at Synchronicity Earth, a research-driven conservation organization which acts to address overlooked and underfunded conservation challenges for globally threatened species and ecosystems by raising and distributing donor funding. My role involves innovating ways to connect our various networks with the work we are doing in meaningful and measurable ways, and maximizing impact through connection, creativity, and inspiration.

I was a Teaching Assistant for the MSc course in Biodiversity, Conservation, & Management for 2015-2017. In addition to weekly instruction, I also support the programme with special modules on emergent technology and digital media and run the course’s social media presence across our multiple platforms. I also assist with the course field trips, both domestic and abroad, and provide thesis support to the students once they begin their individual research projects.

I love this -- several of my favourite things all in one tweet! #conservationoptimism #dataviz #bigdata #socialdata and people caring about #biodiversity!…

Last week from Cheli Cresswell Sinclair's Twitter