Assistant Director

Assistant Research Scientist



Dr. Leslie Ruyle is a conservation ecologist, program leader, and educator who has traveled to over 65 countries in her career.  She’s particularly interested in understanding the dynamics of conservation and development in regions of conflict. She works closely with USAID, in-country Missions, embassies, NGOs, and leaders from protected areas ranging from World Heritage Sites to local community-based conservation initiatives seeking innovative development solutions. As an educator, she believes in creating high-impact experiential student opportunities.

Previously, she worked at the National Science Foundation-Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Applied Biodiversity Science Program, the Cayos Cochinos Foundation in Honduras, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in South Carolina, and the Baltimore Zoo. Dr. Ruyle received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, a Community-Based Natural Resource Management initiative in northern Ghana. Currently, she is the Assistant Director and Assistant Research Scientist for the USAID-funded Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University.