Ryan Choi

Wildland Resources
I have a BA in Biology from Whitman College, and an MS in Ecology, Wildland Resources from Utah State University. I am studying the impacts of climate change on ecosystem function in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. I have focused on how phenology of sub-arctic tundra plants and the seasonal arrival of migratory Pacific black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) affects nutrient cycling and storage in a sedge-dominated ecosystem.

Emily Esplin

Environment & Society
I have a BS in Marriage, Family & Human Development from Brigham Young University and a BA in Spanish from Utah Valley University. I am passionate about helping local people build resilience to natural hazards in their community through protective behaviors, smart planning, and emergency preparedness. I am currently studying how Americans adapt to extreme heat events and how this hazard is communicated in Utah. My other research interests include disaster risk reduction, risk perception and communication, and natural hazards mitigation and outreach campaigns.

Muyang Ge

Applied Economics
I have a BS in Environmental Science & Management from Xiamen University and an MS in Environmental & Natural Resource Economics from the University of Illinois. I am researching the dynamic interaction of rural and urban economies in response to water use constraints and its variability under a changing climate. I am interested in the impact of land property rights on agricultural practices and on water market. I am currently working on climate resiliency of agricultural production on American Indian Lands of the Great Basin region.

Natalie Gillard

Watershed Science
I have a BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. I am researching the forms and functions of river systems to gain a deeper understanding of sediment transport, its role in ecosystem processes and implications for societal welfare and risk. I am specifically interested in disturbed river systems and restoration strategies to enhance resilience and health of those rivers and their surrounding ecosystems and am interested in how to predict and understand the ecosystem and societal effects of climate extremes. My overall goal is to not only gain a deeper understanding of these processes but also to gain experience communicating my results effectively to the scientific and nonscientific community to develop solutions.

Jeffrey Haight

Watershed Sciences
I have a BS from the University of California, Davis in Environmental Science and Management. My broad research interests tend to fall at the intersection between landscape ecology, wildlife conservation, and global change ecology. My current work deals with using climate projections to assess vulnerability of Utah's ecoregions to climatic changes, modeling species' response to shifting climate envelopes, and combining these results to identify areas of priority conservation concern. Through the Climate Adaptation Science program, I would further like to investigate the synergistic effects of climate change and urbanization on the connectivity of vulnerable landscapes and explore the conservation implications associated with those impacts.

Liana Prudencio

Watershed Sciences
I have a BS in Journalism & Mass Communication from Iowa State University and an MS in Sociology from the University of Utah. My research interests largely focus on incorporating social and environmental objectives into water resource management. I am currently on a research team of watershed scientists, engineers, and sociologists investigating the potential of managed aquifer recharge via stormwater management to adapt to climate change impacts. The effects of climate change are vast and various, just as our solutions should be, and I look forward continuing my research goal of linking the social and natural dimensions of climate change in the Climate Adaptation Science program.

Hadia Akbar

Civil & Environmental Engineering
I have a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Pakistan and am pursuing a master's degree in Water Resources Engineering. My research interests include studying the effects of climate change on water resources and, by extension, on agriculture. I want to develop a better understanding of the processes in climate and the relation with water systems. For my master's, I am researching the historic effects of large climate fluctuation and extreme events (extended droughts and episodic floods) on agricultural production in the Upper Colorado River Basin to predict trends and to inform water users to operate their systems to cope with extreme climatic events.

Lainie Brice

Wildland Resources
I graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Environmental Science and Policy, and recently obtained an MS in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. For my doctoral research, I am studying food-web dynamics and predator-prey interactions in Yellowstone National Park. The impact of climate change on this ecosystem has been largely excluded from previous analysis, and I would like to incorporate such impacts into my research.

Kirsten Goldstein

Environment and Society
I have a BA in Geography from Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota. I am fascinated by the real-world application of spatial analysis to environmental policies. My research ambitions are focused on examining potential climate refugee communities and indigenous sacred geographies. I am driven to investigate policies that will help locals protect their various resources without harming their community structure."

Guen Grosklos

Mathematics & Statistics
I have a BS in Applied Mathematics from Millersville University. I am researching mathematical biology, spanning ecological modeling, eco-evolutionary dynamics, and epidemiology. I am fascinated with the application of mathematics to real-world situations, and always looking for opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations to broaden my knowledge of non-mathematical fields while offering a unique perspective for team projects.

Rachel Hager

Watershed Sciences
Graduating from Bryn Mawr College with a BA in Biology and having spent several summers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, I came to USU to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology. My specific research investigates the use of genetic diversity within native wetland plants to enhance restoration potentials. My research interests include climate change, wetland restoration, and science communication. I look forward to incorporating climate change in my Ph.D. research while working with not only researchers, but also with people of varying backgrounds and opinions, so we can all reach better solutions. Coming from a research background gives me a certain type of insight; however, it is only with the coming together of a variety of unique insights that we can truly make progress.

Brett Miller

Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology
I have a BS from Bryant College in Rhode Island. I began my academic career as an environmental educator, earning a Environmental Education Certificate in 2013. I wrote my thesis on the ecosystem service value of streamflow in the Salmon River Basin, Idaho. In my doctoral program, I am working with Dr. Courtney Flint studying the values and vulnerabilities associated with water in northern Utah as well as regional perspectives on the Wasatch Mountains as important bioregional features.

Tara Saley

I have a BS in biochemistry/molecular biology with a minor in environmental studies from Otterbein University, and will have an MS in land resources and environmental sciences from Montana State University. Broadly, my interest is in genetics of organisms in changing environments (such as those that exist due to climate change). For my masters I looked at changes in gene expression in microbes exposed to arsenic, and for my PhD I will work on quantifying the contribution of functional genetic variation to an organism’s success on a non-native plant. I am excited about this program's interdisciplinary collaboration and working on communicating my scientific work effectively.

Emily Wilkins

Environment & Society
I have a BS in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy with a minor in Biology from Drake University, and an MS in Forest Resources from the University of Maine. I am researching the impacts of climate change on outdoor recreation. Specifically, I am interested in how climate change will impact visitation to protected areas, and how this will impact the surrounding communities.

Hongchao Zhang

Environment & Society
I graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and obtained an M.S. degree in Natural Resources and a GIS certificate from the University of Missouri. I am ecstatic to explore out west and doing research about the impact of climate change on public land and understanding how outdoor recreationists respond to climate-altered resource conditions.

Scott Zimmer

Wildland Resources
I graduated from Wesleyan University with B.A. degrees in Earth & Environmental Science and Biology. I am researching the vegetation ecology of rangelands in the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. I am drawn to rangelands as managed landscapes called upon not only to provide agricultural benefits, but also myriad ecosystem services over vast areas. I am interested in how growing disturbances in rangelands caused by climate change will alter plant communities, wildfire regimes, and our food system.