NRSM Student Award Recipients

Please see below for a list of our graduate students who have recently received fellowships, grants, or other honors for their academic and/or professional achievements. 

If you know of someone who should be added to this page, please contact:

Fellowship Recipients 

Benjamin Allen - NRSM Fellowship for 2017-18

Benjamin is an incoming student with an interest in forest ecology and geospatial analysis.

Advisor: Dr. Joseph Knight

Jamie Mosel - NRSM Fellowship for 2017-18

Jamie Mosel

I have a Bachelors of Arts in history and biology from St. Olaf College, after which I spent a year in Hokkaido (Japan) as a Fulbright fellow studying forest sciences. I graduated with my Master's degree from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, where my work focused on conifer physiology in response to drought and drought acclimation.

Broadly, my research interests include forest science, ecology, succession, and the effects of climate change. In particular, I am interested in how ecosystems, especially trees, are affected by abiotic stresses such as heat and drought related to climate change. I am also interested in how we interact with the land, and the inclusion of traditional knowledge and Native nations.

I am a part of the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change project.

Advisors: Dr. Rebecca Montgomery and Dr. Matt Russell.

Martha Sebald

Martha Sebald - NRSM Fellowship for 2017-18

I graduated from Whitman College in WA in 2014 with studies in math and economics, and have spent the last few years in the Twin Cities working in investments and wealth management for a large family office in St. Paul.

A few of my research interests include natural resource economics and policy, private family forests, conservation finance, and working land management. 

Advisor: Dr. Michael Kilgore

Zachary McEachran

Zachary McEachran - NRSM Fellowship for 2016-17

I graduated in 2016 from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Mechanical Engineering.  My research interest lies in where physical principles can be applied to better understand hydrologic processes, especially erosion.  I am currently working on a risk-assessment model for water quality risk due to erosion and sediment delivery due to timber harvesting in northern Minnesota.  

I love to fish, hunt, camp, and hike, especially here in my home state of Minnesota.  My outdoor experiences have influenced my interest and passion for understanding and conserving Minnesota's timber, soil, and water resources.

Advisors: Dr. Diana Karwan and Dr. Rob Slesak. 

Alan Toczydlowski

Alan Toczydlowski - NRSM Fellowship for 2016-17

Alan is an MS student studying Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management.

Project: Soil carbon pools in black ash wetlands regarding potential tree die-off due to emerald ash borer. 

Advisors: Dr. Robert Slesak and Dr. Randall Kolka.

Thomas Kenote - DOVE Fellowship Recipient for 2016-17

Thomas R. Kenote is from the Menominee nation and the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Ojibwe in Wisconsin. 

Thomas Kenote

Tom's research interests are in indigenous forestry, tribal natural resources management, traditional ecological knowledge, and adaptive co-management.

Thomas was recently the subject for the Department of Forest Resources' Student Spotlight, and was also selected to receive a CFANS Diversity Scholar award following his DOVE fellowship. 

Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Montgomery 

Elizabeth Mejicano - DOVE Fellowship Recipient for 2016-17

Elizabeth holds a B.S. in biological aspects of conservation, Spanish, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies from the University of Wisconsin--Madison. Her research interests include wilderness policy and management, and she has worked for the USFS, USFWS, and BLM in various wilderness positions for the last seven years. Since 2015, Elizabeth has worked for the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute with a focus on interagency wilderness character monitoring. She was also selected to receive a CFANS Diversity Scholar award following her DOVE fellowship. 

Advisors: Dr. Michael Kilgore and Dr. Michael Dockry

Evan Salcido

Evan Salcido - CFANS Diversity Scholars Recipient for 2017-18

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Evan received his BS in Zoology from The Ohio State University in 2014. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, he worked for several years in a contract research laboratory in Houston, Texas.

Evan's research interests include human-wildlife conflict, mammalian ecology, and the human dimensions of natural resource management.

Advisor: Dr. David Fulton

Seongjun Kim - CFANS Diversity Scholars Recipient for 2016-17

Seongjun Kim

Seongjun Kim received the CFANS Diversity Scholar award and currently is a Masters student in Natural Resources Science and Management. His research is about stream restoration: specifically on saturated buffer zones, constructed wetlands, bank erosion, and sediment transport processes.

His thesis project is focused on designing a saturated buffer system and erosion control measures for Dobbins Creek in Austin, MN. Kim received a B.S.E in Environmental Engineering with a Minor in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan in 2016. 

Advisor: Dr. Joe Magner

Neal Pastick - Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) Recipient for 2017-18

Neal Pastick

Neal Pastick is a physical scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – Earth Resources Observation and Science Center and a Ph.D. candidate enrolled in the Natural Resources Science and Management Program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He has conducted remote sensing research for ecological science applications over the past 7 years, having served on a number of working groups for NASA’s terrestrial ecology program. He is broadly interested in how terrestrial ecosystems are impacted by climate change in terms of their composition and function, and how these responses will feedback to the climate system. Much of his research has focused on permafrost landscapes in northern high-latitude regions, as arctic and boreal ecosystems are highly sensitive to climate and disturbance-induced change. A significant component of his work involves spatial analysis and quantitative modeling using multidisciplinary datasets to better understand ecosystem processes and conditions. He currently works on a number of projects funded by NASA’S Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Sequestration (LandCarbon) Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resource Program. He has published nine referred manuscripts as a student and his research has been covered by numerous news agencies (e.g. the Guardian, the Washington Post) and popular magazines (e.g. Scientific American).

Advisor: Dr. Joe Knight

Chris Looney

Christopher Looney - Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) Recipient for 2016-17

A native of Monterey, California, Chris completed his undergraduate and MS studies in Forestry at Northern Arizona University before moving to UMN for his Ph.D. As a student, he authored nine collaborative publications investigating topics that ranged from the combined effects of soil age and drought on tree mortality in pinyon-juniper forests to silvicultural strategies for maintaining forest cover in black ash wetlands threatened by emerald ash borer. His research interests center on the effect of invasive species on forest composition and function, the influence of competition on tree growth and stand development, and the design of silvicultural strategies to maintain and restore disturbed forests.

Advisor: Dr. Anthony D'Amato

William Severud - Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) Recipient for 2016-17

William Severud

I grew up on a lake in Plymouth, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. After graduating from Carleton College with a biology degree and Japanese minor, I taught English in Japan for 2 years before returning to the USA and returning to science.  I then worked in Montana studying prairie dogs and ferrets before beginning graduate school. 

In 2011, I received my MS in biology from Northern Michigan University, where I studied beaver foraging ecology in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park.  Upon completion of my MS, I worked at Voyageurs NP as a technician for 2.5 years before embarking on a doctoral research project in the University of Minnesota's Natural Resources Science and Management graduate program under the guidance of Dr. Glenn DelGiudice of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  My research has focused on moose calf survival, cause-specific mortality, and their subsequent effects on population performance, but I have been involved in many other aspects of MNDNR’s moose research program, including studies on parasites of moose and population-wide winter nutritional restriction.  I enjoy communicating our results to diverse audiences; I have given presentations and written papers for academic and public venues.  My aim is to become a research scientist with an agency that is associated with a university so that I may mentor graduate student research.  My research interests include predator-prey interactions, risk-sensitive foraging, and survival analysis.  In my free time, I enjoy running, Nordic skiing, and hiking.

Advisor: Dr. Glenn DelGiudice

Anna Hawkinson

Annie Hawkinson - Bell Museum, Avian Conservation Fellowship for 2017-18

Annie has been interested in avian conservation since she attended the University of MN, Morris in 2013 and graduated with a degree in biology. She has worked for avian research centers in the neotropics and is currently studying the effects of season of fire on avian communities in brushland at the UMN. 

Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Montgomery

Megan Butler - ICGC, Global Food Security Fellowship for 2017-18

I am a doctoral student in the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Science and Management Program.

Megan Butler

Academically my interests focus upon the human dimensions of natural resource management and community engagement/participation. For my thesis research, I am investigating the factors that enable or constrain equitable and effective Community Forest Enterprise (CFE) governance within the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala.  Prior to pursuing my doctorate, I spent several years as an environmental educator and community organizer in the United States and Latin America and obtained my masters in international development practice from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. After obtaining my degree, I hope to continue working with communities threatened by environmental degradation throughout Latin America to facilitate the development of effective models of community natural resource management and solve problems related to unsustainable or unjust resource management. In my free time, I enjoy long distance running and volunteer as a Spanish/English language interpreter.

Advisor: Dr. Dean Current

Orli Handmaker - NSF Fellowship for 2017-18

Orli Handmaker

Orli is driven by her desire to find solutions that address sustainability holistically through social, environmental, and economic lenses. More specifically, she is interested in the why and how of decision-making processes and wants to understand how different education and information sharing processes can impact people's attitudes and behaviors around sustainability. She aims to research how explicit teaching of the interconnections between human and natural systems using an ecosystem services approach might change the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of individuals and communities. For the past year, she has worked with the Natural Capital Project, supporting a variety of ecosystem services based projects that take an interdisciplinary approach to protecting our planet and its resources. Previously, she worked in international agriculture and food security development programs and in Spanish education in Washington, D.C. She earned her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Advisors: Dr. Bonnie Keeler and Dr. Stephen Polasky

Sam Reed

Samuel Reed - NSF Fellowship for 2017-18

My name is Samuel Reed and I will be working in Peter Reich's lab as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. I recently graduated from Ohio State with a B.S. in Environmental Science and plan to research how climate change interacts with forest's disturbance regimes and how compounding disturbances influence ecosystem function. In addition, I have a deep interest in policy and hope to provide leadership on climate action!

Samuel has also been selected to receive an NRSM Fellowship following his three year NSF award. 

Advisor: Peter Reich

Grant & Award Recipients

Vanessa Perry

Vanessa Perry - 2017 CFANS Graduate Assistant Teaching Award 

Vanessa is a PhD student working with watershed districts in the Twin Cities Metro Area, sub-watersheds in the St. Louis River Basin near Duluth, MN, and in other watersheds in the Great Lakes Region. Her dissertation will explore the factors influencing collective efficacy to manage water resources. The development of the work rests on the following three propositions:

      • Collective efficacy is a fundamental determinant of the success of community based water resource management efforts.
      • An accurate assessment of collective efficacy will allow communities to build from current strengths and address current weaknesses.
      • The watershed scale is the appropriate level of assessment for collective water resource management efforts.
Nina Hill

Advisor: Dr. Mae Davenport

Nina Hill - Wildlife Society, 2016 Bob Federer Award

Nina is an MS student studying Wildlife Ecology and Management. 

Advisor: David Andersen

Eric Walberg - Wildlife Society, 2016 Bob Federer Award

Previously received a BS from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Zoology and an MS from University of Minnesota in the ESPM program.

Eric Walberg

Project: Survey landowner attitudes toward elk and elk population management in northwest Minnesota, including risk tolerance, management acceptability, and spatial analysis of human-elk conflict. Additionally, conducting survey of landowners and the general public in east-central Minnesota to determine social acceptability of possible elk reintroduction in that area.

Advisors: Dr. Lou Cornicelli and Dr. David Fulton

Other Honors & Awards

Anne Christianson - 2016 Graduate School Summer Research Internship

Anne Christianson

Anne Christianson is a current PhD student in the Natural Resources Science and Management program, researching the intersections between climate change adaptation policy, biodiversity conservation, and gender equality. She studied environmental policy at St. Olaf, and holds a Masters in biodiversity conservation from the University of Oxford. Previously, Anne worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Keith Ellison writing and advising on energy and environmental legislation, and for Ocean Conservancy advocating for science-based marine policy. Anne is passionate about women's leadership; she held the position of Vice President of DC EcoWomen, a non-profit organization working to empower women to become leaders in the environmental field, and in December, 2016 she was one of 76 female scientists globally selected to take part in an expedition to Antarctica, where participants received training in leadership and strategic management skills. 

Advisor: Dr. Kristen Nelson

Florencia Pech Cardenas

Florencia Pech Cardenas - Invited Guest at the CONACYT Workshop on the Insertion of Indigenous Women Fellows in Community Development

I am a Botanist and an indigenous woman from the Yucatecan Maya ethnia from Mexico. I got my Undergraduate degree in Biology from the Autonomous University of Yucatán (2007-2011); and my Master’s degree in Natural Resources from the Scientific Research Center of Yucatán (2013-2015). My initial research experiences started in the field of the cultivation of plants among indigenous communities. This includes among Mayan communities from which both sides of my family can trace their roots. I immersed in studying the floral biodiversity and sustainability of family gardens in the Maya Region of the Yucatan Peninsula. This made me realize how a healthy ecosystem needs to integrate human and natural systems alike. By the time of my Master’s thesis, I researched the state and range of native bromeliad species across Mexico, including their roles in native communities.

My current research interests focus on the study of dry tropical forest ecosystems with goals of developing conservation strategies and to contribute to the sustainable development for such regions. This means not only looking at restoring natural resources, but also restoring and revaluing traditional ecological knowledge from indigenous communities who inhabit these regions. My specific interests focus on: 1) Analyzing sustainable management strategies in order to propose initiatives which conserve natural resources in tropical dry forests; 2) Evaluating the state of conservation and risks of extinction among native plant species, and; 3) The study of natural resource use among indigenous communities, which will thus motivate the restoration and revaluation of traditional ecological knowledge. 

Advisors: Dr. Kristen Nelson and Dr. Michael Dockry