Penny joined the Department as a post-doctoral Research Fellow under Prof. Charlie Shackleton’s SARChI Chair in January 2017. Her research interests lie in human-environment interactions and she has a penchant for exploring these themes through spatial ecological methods.
As a result of her unreasonable persistence, she completed her PhD (WITS) under the collective supervision of Profs. Ed Witkowski (School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Sciences, WITS), Barend Erasmus (Global Change Institute, WITS), and Greg Asner (Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University). For her thesis, she assessed the spatiotemporal dynamics of woody vegetation biomass and 3D structure in the former Apartheid homelands in the Lowveld areas of South Africa, using airborne laser scanning technology. She was incredibly privileged to not only have the benefit of fantastic in-house supervisors, but also the mentorship of Profs. Konrad Wessels and Renaud Mathieu (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), and repeat visits to the Carnegie Airborne Observatory and the Asner lab.
When she’s not stumbling down research rabbit-holes, Penny enjoys scuba diving, playing cello, reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, and cooking. She also enjoys B-grade horrors with two-headed sharks or zombies. She runs because she has to (see aforementioned cooking). Her claim to fame is that she was born in Pofadder. However, Pofadder was too small, Jo’burg was too big, so she moved to Grahamstown with her husband, Jon (an environment, social, and governance consultant), and their three dogs.