This student workshop is part of the Future of Environmental Decisions Series.

Since 2008, ESA has worked with several partner organizations to ensure continental-scale science reaches the diverse faculty and students in the undergraduate and graduate community.

To learn more about this series, visit the program website at:

This workshop is organized by:

Office of Education & Diversity Programs

Planning Committee

This workshop was organized by the Ecological Society of America, Education & Diversity Programs Office and the following planning committee members:

Alan CollinsAlan Collins is a Professor and Chair of the Agricultural and Resource Economics program at West Virginia University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in environmental and natural resource economics along with serving as undergraduate coordinator. His research areas include: water quality and watershed management; agricultural waste management; and environmental attitudes and risk perceptions.  His over fifty publications include papers in Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, American Journal of Agricultural Economics,Contemporary Economic Policy, Journal of Environmental Management, Review of Agricultural Economics, Risk Analysis, and Water Resources Research.  He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Oregon State University. 

Bill DennisonBill Dennison is Vice President for Science Applications, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Bill leads the Integration and Application Network (IAN), a collection of scientists and science communicators interested in solving, not just studying environmental problems.  His interest in environmental problem solving is focused on coastal regions of the world, with a focus on Chesapeake Bay.  The IAN team teaches science communication courses globally and has active partnerships with government agencies and non-government organizations. The IAN group publishs books and papers on a wide diversity of marine topics, in a spectrum of peer reviewed scientific journals to more generally accessible science communication products.  Bill’s research expertise is in the ecophysiology of marine plants, but has considerably broader interests and experience.  He established active groups of science integrators and communicators in both Australia and the US. 

Andrew ElmoreAndrew Elmore is an Associate Professor at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He works broadly across issues relevant to global environmental change, with a particular focus on landscape ecology, biogeochemical cycling in watersheds, and the management of land and water. He applies an array of tools to these problems, including remote sensing data analysis and Geographical Information Science (GIS). Dr. Elmore received a BSc in Applied Physics from Purdue University and an MSc and PhD in Geoscience from Brown University. He is now Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Brian WeeBrian Wee is the Chief of External Affairs at NEON, Inc. He is the organization’s liaison to Congress, US Federal agencies, and other scientific organizations. He also represents the informatics needs of the large-scale environmental sciences before the computer science and Federal data community. Brian holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a B.Sc. in Information Systems and Computer Science from the National University of Singapore. His M.Sc. studies focused on designing and implementing computer augmented learning solutions for high-school classrooms and corporate training at the Institute for the Learning Sciences. His Ph.D. focused on investigating the relative effects of behavioral, physiological and landscape barriers on the genetic structure of insect populations by integrating genetic, behavioral, and GIS analyses.

Allen D. Roberts is an Assistant Professor and program leader within the undergraduate and graduate studies of Applied Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) of Tennessee State University’s Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Before taking this position, Dr. Roberts had over 19 years of ecological, hydrological, geospatial, and environmental research and project experiences. These experiences spanned the academic, non-profit, federal government, and private sectors and included being a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1890-Scholar with the Forest Service (various locations), a Project Manager with the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, VA), a Project Consultant with Alliance Environmental, LLC (Hillsborough, NJ) and a Staff Environmental Scientist with Dynamac Corp (Rockville, MD). Since 2005, Dr. Roberts has instructed several courses in GIS, environmental remote sensing, meteorology, environmental science, and climate-based energy sources within the University of Maryland, Coppin State University, Fayetteville State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Morehouse College. Dr. Roberts completed his B.S. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and his M.S. in Geography (Hydroclimate Focus) from the University of Delaware and his PhD at the University of Maryland in Geographical Sciences.

Carla Restrepo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology of the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. She integrates Landscape Ecology and Macroecology into her research program aimed at understanding processes that shape tropical landscapes. In Guatemala she examines the contribution of land-cover change and landsliding to carbon cycling. Dr. Restrepo teaches undergraduate (General Ecology, Landscape Ecology) and graduate (Large-scale Ecology: Pattern, Process, and Diversity) courses and thrives to strengthen students’ communication and quantitative skills. After completing her Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Florida, Dr. Restrepo spent her post-doctoral years at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico. Dr. Restrepo completed her B.Sc. at the Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia where she gained a deep appreciation for the tropics.

Leah Wasser is a Senior Science Educator at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in Boulder, Colorado. Leah has a Ph.D. in Remote Sensing Ecology and a masters on ecological planning from Penn State University. She is passionate about remote sensing (and other geospatial) data. Her research utilizes LiDAR remote sensing methods to detect and characterize riparian forests and to furthermore quantify landscape / watershed level disturbance impacts. Leah has over 10 years of University teaching and course development experience in the areas of spatially driven (GIS) ecological analysis, GPS and ecological planning. She is also interested in creative 3-D visualization techniques of spatial data to demonstrate the ecological impacts of disturbance.

Jane Thomas is the Science Communicator at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Jane has her Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Marine Biology as well as a Bachelor of Science Honours – Class I in Botany both from the University of Queensland, Australia. has a Ph.D. in Remote Sensing Ecology and a masters on ecological planning from Penn State University. Jane is a scientific communicator with skills in leveraging the visual arts to effectively interpret scientific and technical content for a lay audience as well as for scientists, with specific expertise in the preparation and production of environmental assessments and communication products. Her specialties include, science communication and information design; teaching and building capacity in the field of environmental assessments and communication; advice on communication tools and products, development and production of scientific graphics and maps; development, layout, and design of scientific communication products; collation and presentation of scientific research and information; analysis and production of environmental report cards and natural resource condition assessments.

Steven Guinn graduated from Frostburg State University with a B.S. in both the Geographic and Earth Sciences. He also received his A.A. and minor in Computer Science. As a non-traditional student his previous background was in the graphic arts, specializing in sculpture and jewelry. He currently is employed at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Appalachian Laboratory as a Faculty Research Assistant. His professional interests focuses on the integration of the environmental and computer disciplines for research and modeling.