Contact Us


Department of Conservation Social Sciences

College of Natural Resources

phone: (208) 885-7911
fax: (208) 885-6226

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1139
Moscow, ID 83844-1139

Current Grad Students

2014-2015 CSS Graduate Students:

 Blake Baker, M.S.
   Brett Alan Miller, M.S.
 Jim Ekins, Ph.D.
 Carlos Munoz, Ph.D.
 Meredith Fisher, M.S.
   Spencer Plumb, Ph.D.
 Meagan Hash, M.S.
   Amanda Stasiewicz, M.S.
 David Jackson, Ph.D.
   Melissa Weymiller, M.S.
 Jyoti Jennewein, M.S.
   Jane Wittmeyer, PhD
 Mikaela Legarsky, M.S.

These CSS Graduate Students are on the Moscow campus to finish up their non-thesis M.S. degree in the MOSS program:

 Dirk Anderson
 Ross Parsons
   Ben Wickham
 Laura Barbour
   Hanna Ridgeway
 Eric Willadsen
 Sheralynn Bauder
   Ben Seipel
 Joanna Hoffman
   Luke Smith

Current Funding Opportunites

Meet some of our CSS Graduate Students:

Jim Ekins, social science conservation, college of natural resources, university of idahoJim Ekins
Ph.D. Student
Brevard, North Carolina
Email Jim

Background & current research interests:
I earned a bachelor's in Natural Resource Management from Western Carolina U., and a Masters in Collaborative Natural Resource Management and Volunteerism from U. Oregon. I have worked in three National Parks, in Colorado and Oregon’s resort industry, on a research base in Antarctica, and in wetland restoration for watershed councils in Oregon and Idaho. Before recently moving to Coeur d’Alene, I was the Director for Service-Learning and Internships for over five years at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Currently, I am the Area Water Educator with the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension Service Northern District. I am pursuing a PhD in Conservation Social Sciences, part-time, in social-ecological systems resilience and decision science; I also enjoy canoeing, skiing (skijor), running, and backpacking with my dogs Dufus and Tweedledee.

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
CSS is a longstanding interdisciplinary program, working with multiple departments across campus since the mid-1970s to better understand and manage the interactions between social and natural systems. Possibilities for collaboration with other departments are tremendous, and opportunities for graduates are wide ranging, from working in parks (national, state, or regional), to nonprofit management, to natural resources industries, and in academia. Make it a point to meet new faculty and to use the rich networks that CSS faculty members have developed over the years, both inside and outside the university.

Chad Kooistra, social science conservation, college of natural resources, university of idahoChad Kooistra
Ph.D. Candidate
Fremont, Michigan
Email Chad

Background & current research interests:
Background & current research interests:
  I earned my B.S. in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism at Colorado State University in 2005. After working a few years for federal and NGO land management agencies in Colorado and Nevada, I earned my M.S. from the CSS Department in December 2011 studying Colorado residents' attitudes towards forest management after a widespread pine beetle outbreak. My PhD research, supported by a NASA grant, seeks to understand people's perceptions of landscape change and recovery after wildfires.

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
CSS graduate students often work closely with students and professors from many disciplines to understand complex issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. We also have a lot of fun!

Brett Miller, Social Science Conservation, College of Natural Resources, University of IdahoBrett Miller
M.S. Student
Harvard, Massachusetts
Email Brett

Background and current research interests:
I graduated from Bryant University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting Concentration in 2011 and a History Minor in 2011.  However, rather than continue with business, I decided to teach Algebra and Biology in Providence, RI and pursue alternate teaching certification.  Along this path I had the opportunity to live and teach at University of Idaho’s own McCall Outdoor Science School and I earned my Environmental Education Certificate in 2013.  I am continuing my work with CSS by studying Ecosystem Services and, specifically, valuation, which lets me incorporate my undergraduate studies with a wealth of new ideas related to natural capital and the landscape.

Carlos Munoz, social science conservation, college of natural resources, university of IdahoCarlos L. Munoz Brenes
Ph.D. Student
Turrialba, Costa Rica
Email Carlos

Background & current research interests:
Carlos is studying the interactions between people and the environment and their implications for welfare and policy in developing countries. For his dissertation, Carlos is examining the drivers of land cover and land use change (across space and time) and their impact on people’s livelihoods in a critical watershed at the border of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador (Tirifnio Region). He is particularly interested in how institutional arrangements and incentive programs are influencing different land uses, and the implications these have on water provisioning and socioeconomic outcomes. Carlos is working closely with stakeholders in the region to ensure his results inform local decision making and governance. This project is directed by Dr. Kelly Wendland (Department of Conservation Social Sciences) and co-directed by Dr. Lee Vierling (Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences); it is funded by NASA’s Land Use/Land Cover Change program. Carlos has a MALD degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a MA degree in Political Science from Boston College, and a BA in Ecotourism from the University of Costa Rica; before joining UI he worked as an environmental policy research fellow at the EfD Central America Center at CATIE.

Ross ParsonsRoss Parsons
M.S. Student
Ketchum, Idaho

Email Ross

Background and research interests: Ross earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Denver. He is one of our MOSS graduate students; he spent the first academic year in beautiful McCall, Idaho, and is now on the Moscow campus completing his master's degree. His research project is "LiDAR Applications in Middle School Classrooms." In his free time, Ross enjoys rafting, fishing and skiing (claims to be a better skier than Ben Wickham!).

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
Why wouldn't you want to live in a cool place while getting a Master's Degree?

Spencer Plumb, social science conservation, college of natural resources, university of IdahoSpencer Plumb
Ph.D. Student
Bozeman, Montana
Email Spencer

Background & current research interests:I grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and attended the University of Portland for my undergraduate education and earned a B.S. in Organizational Communication. I have a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University. My master’s research focused on indigenous land rights and feasibility of REDD+ in Honduras. Now I am pursuing a PhD in Conservation Social Sciences at the University of Idaho. My current research pertains to water transactions programs aimed at balancing water needs between agriculture users and salmon in the Columbia Basin. I’m an NSF GK-12 Fellow and serve as a visiting scientist in a 7th and 8th classroom in Garfield, WA. When time allows, I enjoy trail running, fly fishing, hiking, and dabbling in culinary arts and experimentation.