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Master’s Students

Gabriella Altmire
Zoë Gamell Brown
Hannah Gershone

Michael Madden
Jasmine McCloskey
Katie Russell

Bela Sanchez
Sara Worl

Gabriella Altmire

galtmire@uoregon.edu

I grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania, calling a plentitude of squirrels, nights of firefly-catching, and Philly pretzels home. I remained in-state for my undergraduate education at Ursinus College where I received a B.S. in Biology, a minor in Environmental Studies, and a variety of memorable research experiences that would eventually lead me to the ENVS program here. 

In the Biology Department, I worked in the Straub Lab studying insect ecology in agricultural systems; at the core, my lab mates and I framed our research questions around reducing the need for harmful insecticides by thinking about how to practically model agricultural systems after natural systems. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the college’s up-and-coming food forest planning team led by Patrick Hurley where we thought not only about land planning, but also about ideas of community resilience and the marvels of foraging. Work with Sociologist Jon Clark introduced me to various ways of thinking in the fields of environmental humanities and animal studies via a project on Pennsylvania’s Ecoterrorism Bill. Each of these projects and their mentors facilitated both a passion for interdisciplinary work and a love for writing.

During a gap year, I worked on a grassland community/restoration ecology project in Eastern Kansas, a grasshopper community ecology project in the National Bison Range, MT, and as an insect ecology lab technician in the Kaplan Lab at Purdue University.  In Kansas, I was taken by both tallgrass prairie and ideas of restoration, both ecologically and philosophically; ultimately, this led me to the Hallett Lab. I’m excited to learn all I can from the lab, from ecological restoration to plant community ecology, while incorporating my background in insect ecology and my love for writing.

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Zoë Gamell Brown

jtbrown@uoregon.edu

I am a first-generation Guyanese American artist, editor, and environmental studies master’s student. My writing and research focus on storytelling’s ability to help landscapes and communities heal.

I’m originally from Roselle Park, New Jersey, but grew up outside of Houston, Texas. In conjunction with being a master’s student, I’m the managing editor of digital and editorial content at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Before this position, I worked for the UO’s Office of the Provost as a communication specialist.

I received my bachelor’s degree in public relations, minoring in geography, from Texas State University. I’ve been rooted in the nonprofit sector for over five years—finding ways to combine art, community outreach, and environmental awareness. I’m the founder and director of Soil and Roots Studios, an environmental nonprofit organization. Our work is focused on decolonizing environmentalism through artist residencies, educational retreats, and writing workshops.

When I’m not reading or writing, you can find me hiking around the Pacific Northwest, taking pictures of flowers and trees. I thrive on grasping the knowledge of the unknown and look forward to sharing more stories.

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Hannah Gershone

hgershon@uoregon.edu

An Asian transracial adoptee from Zhejiang province, China, I grew up just outside of Minneapolis, MN. My current research utilizes adoptee frameworks in articulating solutions towards environmental injustice issues, and is grounded in the entanglements between transracial adoptees, climate justice, and art.

Before coming to the UO, I received a B.A. in Environmental Studies and English from Mount Holyoke College, with a focus in conservation biology. I’ve worked in a large variety of lab and field positions across Massachusetts and Minnesota, studying plant physiology in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. My curiosity has also led me into the art conservation world, where I repaired and restored sculptures and archival papers for libraries, museums, and conservation firms. For a brief period of time, I also found myself frosting wedding cakes.

Upon graduation from Mount Holyoke, I interned for Saguaro National Park as a bioacoustics technician monitoring Mexican Spotted Owls in the Rincon Mountains. After many nights admiring gila monsters, I moved north to Grand Canyon for about a year, becoming a certified Wilderness First Responder and the crew lead for their soundscapes program. It was here, creating soundscapes educational projects and managing acoustic systems on the North and South Rim, that I became interested in the digital humanities. During this time, I also read Seeds from a Silent Tree, from which grew a passion for adoptee environmentalisms and a sense of finding home.

In my free time, I can be found birdwatching, crafting small things, drawing, or spending time with my cat.

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Michael Madden

mmadden2@uoregon.edu

Madden

I was born and raised in Minnesota surrounded by lakes, rivers, and forest. This helped me discover at an early age my passion for the natural world, which was kindled into a life-long pursuit when I attended the School of Environmental Studies at the Minnesota Zoo for high school. This experience showed me the joy and sense of community that comes from our connection with the natural world. After finishing secondary school, I quickly moved to the North Shore of Lake Superior to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth, graduating with a BAS in environmental education and a BA in French language and literature.

In college, I found my own sense of community and natural connection through the sport of climbing, which quickly morphed from a hobby, to an obsession, to a profession. After graduating, I moved to the Pacific Northwest to work as a mountain guide, where I took my clients and guests rock and ice climbing on the rugged glaciated peaks of the Cascade Range. I also applied these skills to various positions with the National Park Service as a climbing ranger, snow ranger, and mountain rescue technician.

These experiences helped alter my environmental passion into a thirst to understand how different societies and communities are impacted by their connections to the natural world. My time in the mountains on glaciers and snow-capped mountains exposed me the impact our societies have on the environment through climate change; I saw glaciers melting and the mountains changing. This is the focus of my academics and research at the University of Oregon and the Department of Environmental Studies; exploring the social and societal dimensions of climate change; and how communities, cultures, and peoples are affected by changing environments.

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Jasmine McCloskey

jmcclosk@uoregon.edu

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Katie Russell

krussel3@uoregon.edu

I grew up in northern California and have always loved learning about animals. My favorite place to visit was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, specifically getting to see the sea otters. I followed these interests into my undergraduate studies at Loyola Marymount University where I earned my BS in Natural Science in 2012. During my time at LMU I was able to gain experience working in animal care and public education around the greater Los Angeles area. 

After graduating I moved to Hawaii and lived there for eight years. I worked with several species of marine animals including otters, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, penguins and dolphins before moving to the terrestrial side where I worked with bongos, zebras, giraffes, African crested porcupines, and cheetahs. Along the way I have also taught field trips, been a camp counselor, worked on whale watch boats, facilitated animal interactions, and lead private tours. All of these experiences combined have helped shape my experience with public education and now I’d like to study what makes an educational program impactful to the public.

At UO I will be pursuing a masters degree and hope to be able to learn how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of public education programs, specifically in zoos and aquariums. I hope to see what methods and experiences help to create long lasting impressions on guests, that hopefully inspire them to make planet friendly decisions in their own lives, and most importantly to show them the importance of voting to make systematic and institutional changes to protect the environment.

https://envs.uoregon.edu/people/mastersstudents

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Bela Sanchez

belas@uoregon.edu

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Sara Worl

sworl@uoregon.edu

Sara grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, and moved to Eugene in 2002 to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. After graduating with a BA in Planning, Public Policy and Management with minors in Spanish and Latin American studies, Sara worked for community development nonprofit organizations in Portland, Eugene, and Rio de Janeiro. Her path to pursue an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies masters degree began while working at the Willamette National Forest on community building and anti-racism efforts within the agency and with other outdoor- related organizations. While at the University of Oregon she will focus on the intersections of Indigenous environmental studies, critical race theory, and land management. While not at the UO Sara can be found leading youth outdoor programs, camping, baking, and spending time with her family.

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