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Doctoral Students

Julie Bacon
Keyyana Blount
Tim Christion Myers
Sierra Deutsch
Sue Dockstader
Jean Faye
Paul Guernsey
Shane Hall
Sonja Kolstoe
Taylor McHolm
Briana Meier
Lucas Nebert
Paul Reed
Kirsten Vinyeta


Julie Bacon

julieb@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Sociology

Kwey! Perhaps as a reflection of our beautifully complex world, my voyage has been deliciously varied. I am interested in the emotional and social implications of environmental injustice. I also study the experiences of allies within indigenous-led environmental justice struggles.

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Keyyana Blount

kblount@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Biology

KeyannaBlount

I grew up in Waldorf, Maryland, and extended suburb of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. As a resident of the Chesapeake Bay, I became intrigued with environmental health and ecology. This interest, among others, lead me to Salisbury University where I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Biology. This program trained me to adopt an interdisciplinary lens while examining complex environmental issues, drawing on both the traditional sciences and the humanities.   At Salisbury University I also completed a two year undergraduate fellowship with the EPA. The fellowship included an internship at the EPA Atlantic Ecology Division lab in Narragansett, RI. There, I worked alongside a post-doctorate student studying the climate change effects on coastal wetland plants.

My research interests include ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology, wetland ecology, climate change, environmental policy, and natural resource management. . I hope to eventually work at the interface between science, policy and management. I am particularly interested in examining the effects of climate change on ecosystem processes and health, concentrating on coastal regions.

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Tim Christion Myers

tcc@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Philosophy

My research interests have always encompassed the social, cultural, and philosophical factors influencing our collective relationship to the socio-ecological world. My B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley under the direction of Carolyn Merchant drew on the social sciences and humanities (e.g. sociology, anthropology, and philosophy) to investigate how Western culture understands and reasons about its relationship to nature. My M.A. in Philosophy (with a concentration in Environmental Ethics) at The University of North Texas continued this line of research. Working under J. Baird Callicott, I critiqued the wilderness concept while attempting an ecofeminist and phenomenological synthesis in defense of a “dialogical” or “partnership” model of the human relationship to nature. Today, I am most interested in the philosophy of nature, social theory, the ethical and political aspects of climate change, the phenomenology of climate denial, and the social and cultural factors influencing political movements. My dissertation project examines the socio-cultural and existential challenges inhibiting the kind of grassroots movement I believe necessary to effectively address climate change. Courses I have solo-taught include “Environmental Ethics” (Winter 2012, Summer 2012, Fall 2013), “Environmental Humanities” (Summer 2013), “Environmental Philosophy” (Fall 2014), and “Climate Ethics, Climate Justice” (Winter 2014, Winter 2015). In addition to my academic experience, I have worked in environmental education (I love introducing youth to the natural world), and my interests include birding, backpacking, mushroom hunting, and spending quality time with my wife Jen.

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Sierra Deutsch

sierrad@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Sociology

Research Interests: Marine conservation in developing countries, human dimensions, veterinary medicine

When people ask where I’m from, I never know how to answer. My life started out on the east coast where I grew up in New Jersey. Then I headed to the west coast where I received a B.S. in 2002 from Humboldt State University, Arcata, California. My majors were marine biology and zoology with a minor in women’s studies and a veterinary medicine focus. After taking some time off to travel, I headed to the Gulf coast to earn an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. My Master’s research was conducted in New Zealand, so I also lived there for 9 months.
My research experience has mostly been in conservation and behavioral ecology in the form of field studies on marine mammals. I have studied grey whales and harbor seals in California, right whales in South Carolina, sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico, and dusky dolphins in New Zealand. I also have a long-standing interest in traveling, human culture, and psychology.
For my dissertation, I’m interested in the encouragement of sustainable use of marine resources in developing countries in such a way as to include locals in the policy-making process and provide jobs for them. I am a seasoned traveler and have spent a good deal of time in developing countries, particularly in SE Asia, southern Africa, and Central America. The stunning natural resources and rich cultural diversity of these countries have led to my desire to find a way to preserve both.
Aside from traveling, I enjoy running, biking, hiking, backpacking trips, horseback riding, surfing, swimming, SCUBA diving, and dancing. After a few years on flat land, I’m really excited to return to the mountains.

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SueDockstader

Sue Dockstader

sdocksta@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Sociology

I received my Master’s degree in 2012 from the UO in Environmental Studies.  I love to hike, mushroom, and garden.  I am interested in issues related to environmental justice and political ecology.

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Jean Faye

jfaye@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Geography

I am a farmer from Senegal, West Africa, a country confronted with multiple environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural problems due in part to the loss of traditional survival skills and climate change. The traditional rain-fed subsistence farming is now in jeopardy due to increased population density and unpredictable weather patterns exposing farmers to crop failures. I hope to address these problems by applying sustainable agroforestry techniques to improve livestock conditions, increase crop production and diversity, and thus mitigate climate change to enhance overall quality of life in the Sahel.I completed my BS in Conservation and Resource Studies at UC, Berkeley with an emphasis on Sustainable Agriculture.Before joining the UO, I have done extensive community development work in West Africa, especially Senegal and The Gambia, as well as in the US, the Bay Area – California. At the University of Oregon, I earned my MA in International Studies, with an emphasis on development studies and agrarian change, exploring Agroforestry and food security in the Sahel.

For my dissertaion, I intend to look further into the interplay between indigenous heritage and applied agro-forestry (on-farm experiments) in stressed environments to mitigate climate change and improve agricultural productions.

 

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Paul Guernsey

guernsey@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Philosophy

I grew up in the suburbs of San Jose, CA and started my academic career at a local community college. I completed a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Classical Studies at UC Santa Cruz and continued at the same institution as an M.A. student. I wrote my Master’s paper under David Hoy and Abraham Stone on the concepts of truth and appropriation in Martin Heidegger.After UCSC I took 3 years off from school and co-founded a non-profit in northeastern Arizona in the Navajo Nation. Our main focus is to provide opportunities for the local community to participate meaningfully with its own ecology. We do this through sustainable agriculture, permaculture, landscaping, land restoration, plant propagation, and vocational programs. Here is our website: www.sunriseschool.org.My current philosophical interest is the confluence of phenomenology, ecology, pedagogy (especially Dewey) and the critique of political economy, attempting to practice these disciplines in solidarity with women, children, minorities, and the non-human biotic community. I’m particularly interested in how changes in perception, education, art, relations to geography, and economic forces can be leveraged simultaneously to grow thriving communities and places.

In my spare time I enjoy beekeeping, gardening, mushroom hunting, dancing, and talking with friends.

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Shane Hall

shaneh@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: English

A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I’ve spent most of my adult life at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, which is located in Historic St. Mary’s City, on the banks of the St. Mary’s River in St. Mary’s County. The location made up for its lack of name diversity by excellently accommodating my obsessions with fishing, kayaking, sailing and otherwise being outdoors near some water. Other penchants I bring cross country are good coffee, books, birding and biking. My BA is in English; after graduating I worked coordinating sustainable initiatives at my alma mater, such as starting a small organic-practice farm, energy efficiency programs and environmental education, and I have also worked registering voters. My research interests focus on the ways “environmental” issues are identified, misidentified or not identified, and portrayed in mass media and literature. Fueled by my travels in Africa and South America especially, I am also interested in the effects of so called “eco-tourism” on the Global South, and sustainable development.

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Sonja Kolstoe

skolstoe@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Economics

Research Interests: Non-market valuation, environmental sustainability, welfare effects of Pigouvian taxes and their implications for externalities; the impact of policy decisions on efforts to maintain and restore ecosystems.

My current research is a non-market valuation study about the influence of seasonal bird populations on the value of bird watching destinations to bird watchers. I am developing a model to estimate the marginal values of attributes of bird watching sites, including the numbers and types of birds observed. This model will make it possible to address the potential welfare effects of processes such as urbanization and climate change that may impact bird watching opportunities. Compared to plant populations and terrestrial animals, birds are highly mobile and thus provide a unique way to observe more immediate responses to environmental changes in their habitat areas. These changes can be valued indirectly by observing the choices among alternative destinations by bird watchers and controlling for a measure of the travel costs people are willing to incur to be able to see different types or numbers of birds.I grew up in Western Washington State and enjoyed the beauty and many outdoor recreational opportunities the region provides. My childhood was filled with outdoor recreational outings, primarily hiking and skiing. The biology, chemistry and marine biology courses I took in high school inspired me to pursue a B.S. in Biology at Washington State University (WSU). While there, I joined the Ray Lee Laboratory and completed my undergraduate Honors Thesis, “The Symbiont Community of the Scale-Worm Lepidonotopodium Piscesae.”

For my UNLV Master’s thesis I worked with Dr. Mary Riddel on Risk Preferences. I used Cumulative Prospect Theory to compare subjects’ risk preferences in the financial and health domains using self-identifying groups: a student control group and three different recreational sport groups: rock climbers, SCUBA divers and Porsche Club of America members. The findings suggest that risk preferences are best indicated by group affiliation and differences in risk preferences between the financial and health domains are primarily driven by differences in probability weighting.

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Taylor McHolm

tmcholm@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: English

As a native of Orange County, California, I can remember smelling orange trees from my backyard as a child. Now, all that remains of oranges is their titular role. I’d like to spin this into some elaborate metaphor about my interests in Environmental Studies and Literature, but the only real connection is that I wanted to leave Southern California as soon as I graduated from high school. From there, I went to UC Davis, where I was first educated and made aware of environmental issues in an academic realm (the real first exposure probably came from Captain Planet or that owl that taught me to “give a hoot.”) From there, I moved to New York City, earned my MS in Education, taught 8th grade in the Bronx and then worked in a non-profit educational reform organization. Each step along the way made me consider my interests and passions, and I left Brooklyn for Eugene, exchanging one version of “wild and scenic” for another. Here, I worked on my MA in English, focusing on literature and the environment, which then propelled me to pursue a PhD with the emphases slightly reversed (but only slightly). I’m interested in Western American literature/literature of the American West and its overlap with policy and cultural conceptions of these environments.I enjoy the out-of-doors, whether it’s by bike, boat, board or boots. I also like Westerns. Finally, I think that the Arnold Palmer is the greatest drink ever created.

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Briana Meier

meier@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Geography

13-0907 bkmeier uo bio pic

Through interdisciplinary work in environmental studies and geography I aspire to understand ways in which concepts of nature are produced and environmental issues are problematized. At present, my research interests focus on the following:

  • the relationships between public space and political-cultural economies and how the relationship with the material engages a relationship with the political, specifically around urban public spaces;
  • the social production of nature and the relationship between social systems of power and relationships with nature;
  • cultural landscapes, particularly conceptions of land as commons and as sacred, as compared with conceptions of land as resource or commodity; and
  • philosophy of nature and environmental ethics in general, including their applications to and relays with each of the fields listed above.

I plan to begin deeper study around conceptions of nature/human relationships within Buddhist philosophy this fall (2013).

My professional background is in urban planning and sustainable urban development, including open space planning and development. For a number of years I studied and experimented with engagement with the built environment through informal urban development and unplanned interventions in public spaces. I moved to Oregon in 2007 and completed a master’s degree and certificates in urban planning, design and development at Portland State University. Before that, I worked in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a few NGOs, including the Center for Resilient Cities, where I helped to develop outdoor public spaces, including restored natural areas, community gardens, green school grounds and city parks. My roots remain firmly connected to the wooded hillsides of northeast Iowa.

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Lucas Nebert

lnebert@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Biology

I’m a dirt-loving, microbe-evangelizing, nerdy scientist farmer. I love a good story and I think life’s evolutionary story is the greatest of them all. I’m particularly interested in the role that microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) play in our ongoing evolutionary story. It’s not an easy tale to tell from the data, and the plot has many layers, but the unfolding story challenges the way we perceive the world around us. It makes us ask a wealth of different questions we would never think to ask, such as, “if 9 of 10 cells of our body are microorganisms, are we an ecosystem, too?” Also, the microbial story may change the ways in which we act.After completing an undergraduate thesis in theoretical biochemistry (B.A. in biology and chemistry at Willamette University), I decided to find a more practical focus – agricultural ecology. I spent two and a half years in the Netherlands (Wageningen University), carrying out an experiment to figure out how earthworms interact with soil microorganisms, and taking classes to earn a M.S. in Soil Quality. I interned on a coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico to ask similar questions about ground-dwelling ants, and their benefits to natural processes in the agroecosystem in which they reside.For my PhD, I ask the question, how can we team up with microorganisms for more sustainable, adaptive agricultural ecosystems? I hope this question will be answered by farmers and gardeners, who are constantly interacting with microbes of the soil, and microbes that inhabit the plants they grow, ever affecting plant health and resilience. As microorganisms get passed along in the seed of the plant, they may play a profound role in the inheritance of a plant’s microorganisms over time. I’d like to see how much of a role farmers already play in the evolutionary process of microbial inheritance, and whether they want to engage more deliberately with these complex, vibrant microbial communities.

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Paul Reed

preed@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: BiologyReed_ENVS Bio Photo

I’m a Western New York native, growing up within twenty minutes of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and the Canadian border. Originally interested in immunology and virology, I chose to stay local and attended the University at Buffalo, which I graduated from in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Early into my undergraduate career I realized that my true passion was for nature and environmental topics. This realization led me to seek out ecosystem restoration research opportunities, working on an NSF-funded project testing biological controls of harmful algal blooms and later conducting a senior research project on phytoremediation of cadmium contaminated soils and sediments. In addition to undergraduate research, I was also a teaching assistant for two evolutionary biology courses while at UB, which should serve me well as a part of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution in my focal department of Biology at Oregon. My research interests moving forward are wide ranging, but I am keenly interested in integrating scientific knowledge with public policy and environmental management. I am planning on studying the effects of climate change upon various ecosystems such as the in-peril prairie communities of the Pacific Northwest, and will look to incorporate management and policy aspects into my studies.
In my spare time I love to climb, run, hike and do just about anything outdoors, making Oregon a perfect place for me! I’m also passionate about traveling, having studied abroad in Argentina, visited a number of countries in South America and Europe, and toured most of the United States. I look forward to the adventures that are sure to come in the Pacific Northwest.

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Kirsten Vinyeta

kvinyeta@uoregon.edu

Focal Department: SociologyIMG_0508

I’m the youngest offspring of a Catalan dreamer and a Wisconsin wild child, the partner of a quiet and wondrous construction worker, the devoted minion of a feisty tortoiseshell, and a friend of those who accept my loose cannon tendencies, make me laugh, and teach me a little something about life. 

My research to date has mostly focused on the impacts of climate change and federal policy on indigenous communities in the U.S. I have an interest in the use of photography, maps, and other visual media as a means to support environmental justice initiatives. For my master’s thesis, I collaborated with the Coquille Indian Tribe of Oregon to assess the value of community photography as a tool to communicate tribal concerns related to climate change impacts on traditional cultural resources. As a doctoral student, I am particularly excited about incorporating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into my research, and exploring how access to, and control over the creation and analysis of geospatial data relates to environmental justice.

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