Immersion Program Participants 2016-2017

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

For more information about the Socio-Environmental Immersion Program, click here.

Ginger Allington, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Saint Louis University 
BA Geology, St. Lawrence University 

Current Research: Developing a new framework for mapping and modeling land cover change in arid rangelands.  


Steven Alexander, University of Waterloo

Degrees: PhD (candidate) Social and Ecological Sustainability, University of Waterloo
MS Science Education, Montana State University Bozeman
BS Geology, St. Lawrence University   

Current Research: Applying novel multi-method and interdisciplinary approaches to better understand the relationship between diverse governance arrangements, managed ecosystems, and natural resource management outcomes.   


Meghan Avolio, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University
MS Biology, Fordham University
BA Biology, Barnard College   

Current Research: The effects of global change drivers on plant populations, communities, and ecosystem function in grasslands and plant biodiversity in cities.


Noelle Beckman, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior & Minor Statistics, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
BS Biology, Washington and Lee University   

Current Research: Mechanisms that influence plant spatial patterns and population spread under global change integrating empirical, statistical, and mathematical approaches.


Nejm Benessaiah, University of Maryland, College Park

Degrees: PhD Ethnobiology, University of Kent
MS Ethnobotany, University of Kent
BS Biodiversity and Conservation, University of Kent

Current Research: Political ecology, STS, development, climate change, and systems/networks approaches to agroecology and water management in the Middle East an North Africa.


Elizabeth Daut, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Veterinary Pathobiology/Applied Biodiversity Science, Texas A&M
DVM, Cornell University
BS Biology, Virginia Tech   

Current Research: Disease risk facing native U.S. wildlife associated with the importation of exotic animals for the pet industry; evaluation of mitigation strategies.


Jessica Gephart, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Environmental Science, University of Virginia
BA Zoology, Miami University  

Current Research: Seafood supply-demand modeling to link environmental and policy changes to food security in select African nations.


Cassie Gurbisz, SESYNC 

Degrees: PhD Marine, Estuarine, Environmental Science, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
BS Environmental Science and Studio Art, Dickinson College

Current Research: Coastal ecosystem science with a focus on understanding how external drivers and internal feedback processes affect salt marsh resilience to sea level rise.


Dean Hardy, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Integrative Conservation & Geography (Certificate GIScience), University of Georgia
MS Ecology, University of Georgia
BS Marine Sciences, Ecology, and Biology (Minor: Anthropology), University of Georgia

Current Research: Examining how landscape histories and futures, measured via changing sociocultural and ecological conditions, affect vulnerability to flooding in coastal communities, particularly sea-level rise.


Dexter Locke, Clark University 

Degrees: PhD (candidate) Geography, Clark University
MA Geography, Clark University
MEsc Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
BS Environment and Natural Resources

Current Research: The relationship among taxonomic, phylogenetic, and trait diversity of New World terrestrial vertebrates and how it may be impacted by future global change.


Joe Maher, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland
MS Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland
BS Political Science and Environmental Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Current research: Energy efficiency policy, valuation of ecosystem services, and issues at the intersection of forestry and climate change


Mateja Nenadovic, Duke University  

Degrees: PhD Marine Science and Conservation, Duke University
MS Marine Biology, University of Maine
MS Marine Policy, University of Maine
BS Biology, Suffolk University

Current Research: Governance of marine social ecological systems with the emphasis on adaptive co-management and other forms of multi-level governance arrangements.


Jeremy Pittman, University of Waterloo

Degrees: PhD (candidate), Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo
MS Geography, University of Regina, Saskatchewan
BS Geography,  University of Regina, Saskatchewan

Current Research: How patterns of social and ecological connectivity influence conservation outcomes for species at risk on Canada's last remaining grasslands.


Heather Randell, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Sociology, Brown University
Master of Environmental Management (MEM), Duke University
BS Biology, Cornell University   

Current Research: The forced migration of rural farmers due to the construction of the Belo Monte Dam in the Brazilian Amazon; socioeconomic and livelihood impacts of displacement; forced migration decision-making process.


Phillip Staniczenko, SESYNC

Degrees: DPhil Condensed Matter Physics, University of Oxford
MPhys Physics, University of Oxford

Current Research: The effect of deforestation and urbanization on ecological networks representing interactions between species in a community (e.g., food webs, plant–pollinator, and host–parasitoid networks).


Chris Trisos, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Zoology, University of Oxford
Masters in Integrative Bioscience, University of Oxford
BS Honours Botany, University of Cape Town
BS Ecology and Economics, University of Cape Town   

Current Research: Using phylogenies and citizen science data to estimate rates of colonization and local extinction to understand why some species in the genus Protea are more resilient to environmental change.


Albert Ruhi Vidal, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Ecology, University of Girona (Spain)
Interuniversity M.S. (DEA) Fundamental and Applied Ecology, University of Girona, CEAB‑CSIC, and University of Barcelona (Spain)
BS Biology, University of Girona (Spain)

Current Research: Footprint of streamflow regulation by dams on hydrologic alteration and freshwater biodiversity patterns in the U.S., and how dams may be re-operated to maximize social and ecological resilience in the face of global change.


Sam Schramski, Indiana University

Degrees: PhD Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida
MA Geography, University of Florida
BA American Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Current Research: How networks at household, community, and regional scales demonstrate or reflect patterns of adaptive capacity.


Trisha Shrum, University of Colorado Earth Lab, Boulder

Degrees: PhD Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Master of Environmental Science, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science
BA Environmental Science,  BS Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas

Current Research: Using big data, modeling, and experimental methods to better understand how policy, climate change, and market forces affect risk management and drought adaptation decisions for ranchers in the Western U.S.


Jenny Zambrano, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago
BS Biology, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia   

Current Research: The effects of functional neighborhood, climate, and geographical location on tree performance, defined as growth and survival, using spatially-explicit models.



Morgan Grove, U.S. Forest Service and SESYNC

Research Scientist, US Forest Service, and Social Scientist in Residence, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Social Ecology, Yale University
M. Phil,  Social Ecology, Yale University
M.F.S, Community Forestry, Yale University

BA Architecture and Studies in the Environment, Yale University

Cynthia Wei, SESYNC

Associate Director of Education, SESYNC

Degrees: PhD Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior, Michigan State University
BA Biology, Cornell University