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Doctoral Students

J.M. Bacon
Jamila Baig
Alejandro Brambila
Tim Christion Myers
Sue Dockstader
Jean Faye
Lisa Fink
Paul Guernsey
Geoffrey Johnson
Katrina Maggiulli
Taylor McHolm
Briana Meier
Holly Moulton
Lucas Nebert
Nathaniel Otjen
Paul Reed
Schyler Reis
Hugo Seguin
Dan Shtob
Kirsten Vinyeta
Jamie Wright


J.M. Bacon

jmbacon@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Sociology

julieinfrontofamountainAs a scholar I’m interested in environmental activism and environmentalist discourses with a particular focus on inter-group collaboration, differential vulnerabilities, and place as a component of identity. My current research focuses on LGBTQ+ participation in environmental activism.

I am inspired by the scholarship of Dorceta Taylor, Patricia Hill Collins, Karma R. Chavéz, Taiaiake Alfred, and James M. Jasper; and by the social, cultural and political work of the countless people around the world who are creating social justice and defending land, water, and life.

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Jamila Baig

Jamila Baigjbaig@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Geography

I am Jamila Baig working as a lecturer and researcher at Department of Biological Sciences, Karakoram International University Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan since 2008. This University was established in 2000 and is in initial stages of development. This University is surrounded by three high mountain ranges, with amazing biodiversity waiting to be explored and conserve. I started my teaching career as a Biology teacher at Aga Khan Higher Secondary School Hunza in 2001. Recently I have completed Masters in Animal Sciences, with distinction, and thesis entitled “Macro invertebrates and fishes as indicator of water quality assessment in selected high altitude wetlands of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan”. I was awarded “Young Ecologist Research Scholarship” from WWF Pakistan to conduct this research.

I have been to University of Oregon as a courtesy faculty member/research associate with Prof. Scott Brigham on faculty exchange program on partnership between Karakoram International University (KIU) Gilgit, Pakistan and the University of Oregon. The primary goal of this partnership is to promote academic interchange between both Universities and bringing faculty members into conversation about research and teaching and to explore potential research collaborations. The second objective of this partnership is to establish an interdisciplinary center for excellence in environmental studies and sustainability. I want to contribute to this partnership in long term between two Universities by being PhD student of Environmental studies because this degree allows to combine the multiple department and research areas of my interest. I want to work towards mountain wetlands and lakes in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan by integrating water shed science and policy with the help of GIS and remote sensing. Along with it I want to determine the long term impact of human and climate on wetlands and lake ecology over the period of time with the help of hydrology and morphology of water bodies.

I am among one of very few females from my area who are doing PhD, especially in a field of such ecological importance. I believe that initiative for everything actually begins at local level and then it’s easy to spread it at regional, national and international level to convince the civil society about their role in conservation of the world resource and I believe that our network will grow slowly and gradually towards the long lasting partnership. It take work and patience to develop long lasting partnership among people, organization and countries and it could be achieved by respecting the way we are similar and also respecting the way we are different from each other.

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Alejandro Brambila

IMG_1327abrambil@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Biology (IEE)

I am a restoration ecologist pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies in the Hallett Lab at the University of Oregon. My focal department is Biology, where I am in the Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I am particularly interested in plant community dynamics in novel and anthropogenically-dominated ecosystems, and in their relationships with different management strategies. I graduated in 2012 with an Sc.B. from Brown University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Since then I have worked in various capacities related to ecosystem management and restoration including research at the Universities of Talca (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina), and field positions at organizations such as Save the Bay (Oakland, CA) and the Bureau of Land Management (Alturas and Marina, CA).

I enjoy my work, friends, gardening, traveling and various hobbies and side projects.

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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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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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Lisa Fink

LisaFinklfink@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: English

I grew up on a small family dairy farm in rural Minnesota, where I learned a deep love for the land. After completing a BS in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I was a Fulbright Fellow in literature in Mongolia where I spent 13 months collecting and translating contemporary Mongolian poetry. Upon my return to the US, I completed an MFA in Poetry at the University of Virginia, where I was a Henry Hoyns Fellow and where I taught courses in introductory poetry writing, land ethics and aesthetics, and culture and the environment. I have since taught creative writing in homeless shelters, jails, treatment centers and other community organizations. I am the author of the poetry chapbook Her Disco (dancing girl press, 2013), and my poems have appeared in Ecotone, The Boston Review, The Minnesota Review, and Forklift, Ohio, among others. My research interests include animality, ecopoetics, ecophenomenology, somatic poetry, embodiment, biosemiotics, contemporary poetry, hybrid poetics, spatial theory and the ways in which culture frames our understanding of the environment and our action/inaction regarding environmental crises. I spend my free time singing, hiking, weaving, gardening, and learning about medicinal plants.

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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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Geoffrey Johnson

gmj@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Geography2016-10-21-16-14-05

In my work I aspire to unite long-term ecological knowledge with our concepts of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In particular I’m interested in the nexus of long-term natural resource management, generational climate ethics, and their implications for the current socio-ecological system of the Western United States and other rapidly developed landscapes. I earned my BS in Environmental Science from UO ENVS, where I completed a thesis on long-term trajectories of nitrogen characteristics in a Northwestern Pennsylvania forest soil. I followed that quickly with an MS from the UO Geography Department with Dan Gavin in the Environmental Change Research Group. During this second degree, I advanced my understanding of how the environment stores information while creating an environmental history of water quality drivers in Coos Bay estuary on the Oregon Coast.

After spending so many years living and studying in Eugene, my eco-social awareness is profoundly affected by knowledge of place, and I’ve devoted much time and thought to the ways that place can and should inform our understanding of sustainability. Long-term local living has also allowed me to apply my knowledge and love of simple living, ecological building, gardening, and natural history to the problems of local-global environmental impacts. My career goals now hinge upon using non-profit/for-profit partnership to research and implement bottom-up, small-scale redevelopment along an urban-suburban-rural gradient. Through this exercise I hope to examine the process, challenges and benefits of long-term thinking with respect to changing climate and land-use pressure contextualized by concerns over environmental and social justice.

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Katrina Maggiulli

Focal Department: English

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I grew up in the foothills of Oregon’s coast range on my family’s small hobby farm. My years in 4-H and summers working on vegetable farms are what initially led me to pursue my interests in environmental issues. After I received my B.A. in English from Oregon State University, I spent 2 years testing my interest in environmental education at the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. While I loved the working environment, I found myself endlessly questioning the ethics of different conservation practices and thus the messages passed onto youth and the public. I longed for a refreshing outlook—an exploration of different ways of thinking, not just those imposed on ecologists and land-managers by policy-makers. This led me to pursue my Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from UO where I completed my M.A. in 2016.

My Master’s thesis work looked specifically at human-animal interrelatedness through an analysis of human-animal hybrid figures in a variety of media, my anchoring areas of interest for the project were posthumanism, material feminism, and biotechnology. In my work I proposed the concept of utopian horror as a way of grappling with these hybrid figures. I define this as a horror that can be employed to draw attention to critical issues (for example, the human animal relationship), to question our current accepted approaches, and help direct us towards new, more positive, methodologies.

For my doctoral work, I would like to build off of utopian horror and to expand my area of focus from human-animal hybrids specifically, to the use of species hybridization and biotechnological alteration of species more generally. I am particularly interested in the potential of biotechnology as a tool of conservation—a way of conserving species traits on the verge of extinction, or to alter species enough to survive a rapidly changing climate. Perspectives towards nonnative and invasive species are beginning to change in conservation and restoration work, but what about more clearly active human interference with “natural” processes?

In my time outside of school I can generally be found reading too much science fiction (is there such a thing?) or frolicking the Oregon coast with my Australian kelpie, Žižek.

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Taylor McHolm

tmcholm@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: English

After graduating with highest honors from UC Davis where I studied English and religion, I taught 8th grade English Language Arts in the Bronx, New York, before working in education reform with New Visions for Public Schools. Working to address social inequalities grounds my research and teaching today, as I investigate the ways in which environmental problems interact with structures of racial injustice. As a scholar, I became increasingly interested in the way that artists and authors create alternative modes of environmental commitment and imagination through formal strategies.

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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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Holly Moulton

hemoulton@gmail.com
Focal Department: N/A

I grew up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and cultivated an enduring interest in both mountains and lakes from a young age. I graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a degree in Government and a concentration in Latin American Politics. During my junior year, I studied abroad in Peru and fell in love with the wide variety of cultures and landscapes in the country. Following graduation, I spent two years teaching in a bilingual Spanish-English third grade classroom in Chicago with Teach for America. After moving to Denver and working in grant writing for a charter school, I transitioned to healthcare consulting to learn a new industry, and developed an interest in how nonprofits can partner to provide total health and quality of life programs to rural mountain communities.Holly

For my Master’s degree, I studied the effects of climate change related hazards and water scarcity on high-altitude, Quechua speaking communities in the Peruvian Andes. I was interested in both the ecological and social effects of water scarcity and climate change in the mountains, and focused my Master’s capstone on agricultural communities in the Cordillera Blanca. For my doctoral work, I am interested in expanding my Master’s research and studying the effects of climate change induced glacier melt on conflicting uses of water and contested water rights in Peru.

Outside of school, I enjoy fishing, hiking, climbing, cycling and anything else that gets me into the mountains. I aspire to own a pair of cattle dogs and a log cabin someday in the near future.

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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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Nathaniel Otjen

notjen@uoregon.edu
Focal Department:English

FullSizeRender1As a scholar of the environmental humanities, I study the things, beings, and plants that inhabit contemporary multispecies literature. By examining the agencies of the more-than-human world, my scholarship aims to decenter the human and encourage individuals to recognize their entangled participation within multispecies assemblages. My larger project is to incorporate literary criticism into the emerging field of multispecies studies.

Before entering college, I worked as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I collaborated with local nonprofit organizations to provide support for continued flood recovery efforts following the area’s 2008 flood. After this volunteer experience, I attended the University of Iowa where I graduated with high distinction. I hold a B.A. with dual honors in both English and Anthropology, and a Creative Writing Track certificate (Nonfiction Emphasis). I am also the 2015-2016 recipient of the Joseph E. and Ursil I. Callen Prize, an award given to a single outstanding graduating senior in the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. I entered the University of Oregon’s English doctoral program in 2016 and transferred into the Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy Program in 2017.

Interests: Multispecies Studies, Environmental Humanities, New Materialism, Posthumanist Theory, Cultural Studies, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature

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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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Schyler Reis

schylerr@uoregon.ed
Focal Department: Geography

My current work focuses on: the interactions between the soils, plants, and atmosphere in the semi-arid ecosystems of eastern Oregon; how climate change will affect the distributions of plant communities in these areas; the people there and the policies that govern their land use actions.

20121540_10211617949739018_8088444677275354060_oMy master’s degree from Oregon State University was on long-term fuels accumulation in the sagebrush steppe. My undergraduate thesis was on the long-term effects of cattle secession on the structure and function of riparian areas and stream channels at the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. At Mount Hood Community College, I conducted a study on the dietary preferences of forest snails and banana slugs. The slugs ate the snails. For the science fair in 3rd grade I examined the growth of mold on bread under different environmental conditions. When not conducting research for my dissertation I enjoy: reading primary scientific literature, scouting out locations for future research projects, fidget spinning, playing music, playing board games, cooking, making memes about my Mom’s dogs, water color painting, swimming, and befriending other people’s dogs. I grew up in Boring, Oregon.

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Hugo Seguin

hseguin@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: N/A

I am a practitioner who is now happily spending quality time to think, write, engage and debate, trying to make sense of some of the fundamental causes of this dysfunctional relationship we humans entertain with our natural environment. Most specifically, I am interested in the way individuals as agents, and particularly public policy makers, might think ethically in the context of potentially catastrophic global environmental changes.cmp_copticom-54

My main area of expertise is on climate change mitigation policies, and I have been an annual – and sometimes reluctant – participant to the United Nations-led international climate negotiations for the past 14 years. I am also a Fellow of the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM) and I lecture at the University of Sherbrooke’s École de politique appliquée, where I have developed a predilection for field trips, bringing graduate students to UN climate conferences as observers and researchers, and more recently to communities that are wracked by seemingly intractable political conflicts over land, natural resources and identity.

A former Greenpeace Canada and Climate Action Network International board member, I now serve on the board of directors of EcoJustice Canada and Vivre en Ville, a Québec City-based think tank working on sustainable urban and territorial planning. I am also a senior consultant for PR firm COPTICOM.

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Dan Shtob

dshtob@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Sociology

I am interested in the power of environmental sociology to address interdisciplinary issues relating to how we interact with the environment. Specifically, my most recent research involves an ethnographic approach to understanding how a variety of social variables and placeDSC04889 identities may influence the social construction perspectives on future catastrophe. It seeks to develop ideas about how residents construct the potential for future disasters. Beyond this specific focus, I am interested in how human systems and landscapes interact, and the social histories of the development of these interactions.

I spent five years working in real estate finance in New York City. I focused primarily on real-estate heavy mergers and acquisitions, finance including investment joint venture arrangements, and commercial leasing. Evidently not fans of small shifts, my wife Brittany and I then moved on to the Peace Corps and found ourselves working in community-based conservation in a small and very remote village in northern Zambia. After two years of service, we were selected for a third year working with Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, developing and managing an environmental community outreach program that, among other things, sought to address human-wildlife conflict — and troubled histories — in villages adjacent to a wildlife-rich national park. The interpretation and reinterpretation of assumptions about how we interact with our environments that developed during these shifts kindled the idea that the community modes of thought represent a key, and somewhat under-explored, link between information, decision-making, and social justice.

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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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Jamie Wright

jwrigh12@uoregon.edu
Focal Department: Biology (IEE)

I am interested in researching the ways in which shifting climatic conditions are altering microbial communities and biogeochemical processes within the soil. Furthermore, I want to better understand how changes in the soil affect aboveWright_UObioPictureground vegetation and ecosystem stability.

I recently received my B.S. in Environmental Science and Management focusing on Soil Science and Biogeochemistry at UC Davis. I also minored in Geographic Information Systems.

Besides my passion for environmental conservation, I enjoy running, reading, camping, dancing (of course), and the occasional crocheting.

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