Where are they now? Checking in with our Fellowship Alumni

World Forestry Center exists at the intersection of people and forestry. Those “people” include everyone, from one-time visitors to our Discovery Museum to our network of International Fellowship alumni around the world.

We decided to check in with these established natural resource professionals, looking for updates on their lives and how they’ve been affected by COVID-19. We heard back right away from a few and are pleased to hear that they are doing well despite the current global challenges. We are thrilled that they have put into practice some of the skills they picked up at World Forestry Center.

Keep reading for some of their life updates:

Portrait photo of WFI Fellow Branislav Cvjetkovic from Bosnia

Branislav Cvjetkovic

2013 Fellow, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Since his time at World Forestry Center in 2013, Branislav has kept busy. In 2018 he defended his PhD thesis, and became a teaching professor in 2019. Presently, he is conducting research on Penducilate Oak (Quercus robur) and is back to teaching in the classroom after working from home due to COVID-19. He has enjoyed spending time in the forest with his year-and-a-half-old son and is looking forward to getting back to normalcy of teaching and forestry research when COVID-19 settles down.

Photo portrait of WFI Fellow Zengwang Ma from China

Zengwang Ma

2006 Fellow, China

Ma has been working in his home country, China, since his time at World Forestry Center. His current research focuses on oak forest and Mongolian plateau grassland ecological system restoration. Part of the larger mission of the Hebei Academy of Forestry and Grassland’s government encouraged mission of “comprehensive ecological restoration” – not just reforestation – Ma notes that his current research related directly to his work in Oregon. Like nearly everyone, his life has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, but he is grateful that China has been able to fight the spread of the virus and that life is slowly returning to normal.

Portrait photo of WFI Fellow Milan Mataruga from Bosnia-Herzegovina

Milan Mataruga

2008 Fellow, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Milan has been working diligently to promote nature conservation at home in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The classes at the University of Banja Luka, became “socially distanced” towards the end of the term (and have now concluded), so some of Milan’s attention was shifted to other ongoing projects. He is “engaged in [a] project that does assessments of nature and ecosystems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, assesses the state of biodiversity, and tries to bring the scientific community ‘around the same table’” in their discussion surrounding nature conservation. He spent a lot of time writing about the endangered Picea Omorika (Serbian Spruce) but, recently, he has transitioned from writing to more field and lab work.

Portrait photo of WFI Fellow Deepak Tamang

Deepak Tamang

2007 Fellow, Nepal

Since his fellowship in 2007, Deepak accomplished much in his home country of Nepal. In 2019, he concluded his time as a Senior Researcher with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development on Himalayan Water, Climate Change and Adaptation (HI-AWARE).
During COVID, Deepak has been working from home, writing and reflecting, particularly on agroforestry in Nepal. His current work is part of a 4-year, two phase research project with the Australian International Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Though Deepak has been busy at work, he continues to farm intensively on his family plot and maintain his farmhouse as an active agroforestry interpretive center in the hills just outside the Kathmandu Valley.

Stay tuned for more updates from our Fellowship alumni.