Contact Us


Department of Natural Resources and Society
CNR 15

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:

Brittni Brown, M.S.
Catrin Edgeley, Ph.D.
Jim Ekins, Ph.D. 
Meredith Fisher, M.S. 
Meagan Hash, M.S.
David Jackson, Ph.D. 
Mikaela Legarsky, M.S.
Heidi McRoberts, Ph.D.
Carlos Munoz, Ph.D.
Spencer Plumb, Ph.D.
Hannah Smith, Ph.D.
Amanda Stasiewicz, M.S.
Melissa Weymiller, M.S.

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.

conservation social sciences grad student David JacksonDavid Jackson
Ph.D. Student

Email David

Background and current research interests: The path which led me to the Department of Conservation Social Sciences at University of Idaho could be regarded as a bit more atypical and circuitous than most. Following 10 years in forest industry in the southeastern U.S., I enrolled at Mississippi State University and received a PhD in Forest Resources in 1993. After which I relocated to the Pacific Northwest, taught briefly in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and reentered forest industry in various capacities involving analysis, management and utilization of forest resources. Currently, I am pursuing a second doctorate in forest policy and affiliated with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to examine the feasibility of converting dead, woody biomass in the northern Rocky Mountain region into renewable fuels. My research focuses on conversion activities’ socioeconomic and political implications.

Jyoti Jennewein, Conservation Social SciencesJyoti Jennewein
M.S. Student
Bailey, CO
Email Jyoti

Background and current research interests: As an undergraduate, I studied Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, where I conducted research in the Neuromuscular Function Laboratory.  After graduating from CSU, I joined the United States Peace Corps and served in the Republic of Niger.  Through my work as a Community Health Agent I was first exposed to the world’s clean water crisis. In 2011, I returned to school to obtain a master’s degree, completing my first year at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) in 2013.  While working at MOSS, I developed an interest in communicating science and environmental concerns to students in an accessible and engaging way. My master’s research took place in the Trifinio Region of Central America, where I worked with a local organization to conduct household surveys regarding local interest in participating in future community-based water management practices, as well as local perceptions of water quantity and quality.

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
Working in the CSS department is a versatile environment and hybridization of natural resources and human influences, where you can focus on several avenues of research.  The graduate student community is full of fun, and the faculty is supportive and easy to work with. I’ve been presented with many unique opportunities to communicate science, teach, and take part in outside research projects throughout my time at UI. I highly recommend this program to potential future students!! 

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.

Conservation Social Sciences graduate student Mikaela MontanariMikaela Montanari
M.S. Student
Port Townsend, Washington

Background and current research interests: I earned my undergraduate degree from Washington State University in Social Sciences. After graduating, I took a year break from academia and served as an AmeriCorps member for the Palouse Conservation District in Pullman, Washington. The Palouse Conservation District aided in narrowing down my search for a compatible graduate program. My graduate project is centered on creating an alternative spring break trip for University of Idaho students across academic backgrounds to address what sustainability means. I would like this spring break trip to challenge students understanding of community sustainability, food sustainability, and forest sustainability.  In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, scuba diving, swimming or canoeing on the Snake River, and watching the latest Sci-fi television show.

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
CSS is a flexible program that works with your natural resource and social science interests. CSS is a unique program in the Northwest, mostly because many Universities have not connected environmental science with the social sciences.

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: My Ph.D. studies at CSS focus on drivers of land cover and land use change in Central America and the impact of transboundary conservation policies on environmental and socioeconomic outcomes. This involves measuring the effectiveness of conservation policies to prevent ecosystem services degradation, the role of incentives as motivational factors for participation in public and community forest management programs, and the potential impact of these programs on changes in the landscape. I really enjoy bird watching, walking in the woods, swimming, watching movies, talking to people, and travel. I have a small collection of coins from several countries. I speak Spanish and English, and I am trying to learn French.
What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program? 
Being part of CSS lets me explore the connections between humans and nature by engaging with peer students and faculty in formal and informal discussions about this fundamental issue. You can be sure faculty, staff, and students are always there to help you figure out the best way to tackle the world with good advice, a supportive hand, and a friendly smile.

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.

Conservation social sciences grad student Amanda StasiewiczAmanda Stasiewicz
M.S. Student
Mount Sinai, New York
Email Amanda

Background & current research interests: I graduated from Siena College in Loudonville, New York in the spring 2014 with a BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Biology. During undergrad, I got to be part of a lot of fun research projects including small mammal trapping, bat and bird mistnetting, sea turtle and humpback whale population surveys, and shellfish restoration. However, I’ve always loved learning about plants and plant community dynamics. During my study abroad experience on the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, studying marine biology and tropical ecology, I became fascinated with the challenges of invasive plant management. Hence, my research for CSS focuses on the social science aspects of fire management, and I intend to investigate the impact of invasive species on fire management for my master’s thesis research.

What would you like potential grad students to know about the CSS graduate program?
CSS has been like a family for me. The staff, faculty, and other graduate students are supportive, fun, and great resources to help guide you on your intellectual journey. CSS made it really easy for me to adjust to a new place, a new level of study, and to maintain my momentum academically. Plus, we do a lot of fun trips like rock climbing and hiking together! I enjoy spending my free time with my friends hiking, skiing, wakeboarding, identifying plants, trying new things, and finding adventures, which makes Moscow, Idaho a great place to live!