Jo Ellen Force has had an interdisciplinary background throughout her academia career. Following her childhood on a family farm in central Iowa, she went to Iowa State University where she changed her major three times before getting her Bachelor of Science degree. She then taught math and science in a junior high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her next adventure was at Ohio State University, where she received her Master of Science in natural resource management and a doctorate in systems engineering and analysis. Since joining the Forest Resources faculty, she has taught courses ranging from modeling and planning to forest policy. Her research examines the relationships between people and our natural resources, particularly focusing on forest ecosystems. For 13 years, she was the lead instructor for a six-week intensive workshop on land use planning for students from developing countries. For 13 years, she led the Forest Resources department, followed by another three years as head of the Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences department. As department head, she enjoyed facilitating the faculty as they advance forest, fire and rangeland science and serve land management professionals. She also conducted workshops in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and is currently excited to be involved in Idaho’s second National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) grant with students located both at the University of Idaho and in Costa Rica. She loves ethnic food and travel – and has visited every continent, including Antarctica where she saw thousands of penguins. Her pastimes include attending symphony and chamber music concerts, live theater productions and reading mysteries.