2022 Tillman Scholar

Casey Richards

University of Chicago

“Having seen the impact overexploited resources have on a people’s way of life. As a researcher, I strive to protect and restore ecosystems for this generation and the next.”

Driven by an extreme curiosity Casey joined the military to learn more about the world and the people who live in it. As a meteorologist in the Navy he developed a keen interest in the environment and the role it plays in influencing people’s actions. This, along with his obsession of the natural world ultimately led Casey to attending the University of Tennessee after his second enlistment to pursue a career in Ecology.

This path took him to some of the most biodiverse places on the planet researching various environmental and biological systems. These experiences highlighted how the collapse of an ecosystem can have drastic implications for the human populations who live there. This motivated him to pursue a career doing ecological research and management to restore the natural resources that communities depend upon for survival and income.

As a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago Casey hopes to do meaningful research that defines the role ecological processes have on human dynamics using the latest advancements in Genetics and Genomics research. Once he completes his Ph.D. he plans to apply these skills doing governmental research with the hopes of increasing the productivity of ecosystems for the benefit of humans and other species alike.