Contact Us


Department of Geography
phone: (208) 885-6216
McClure Hall 203
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3021
Moscow, ID 83844-3021

Graduate Students

Alycia Bean
PhD student in Geography
I am a Colorado native with nearly 10 years of experience in the environmental non-profit sector. I received my BA in Political Science, my MS in Environmental Science and Natural Resources and am now pursuing a PhD at the University of Idaho. In the summer of 2011, I interned with the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia where I helped complete an adaptation and mitigation plan for the NASA Langley Center. My current research interests lie in understanding stakeholder input and assessing society's vulnerability to create an accessible resource that can be utilized for further planning to help minimize the effects of climate change.
Polly Buotte
Advisor: Jeff Hicke
PhD student in Environmental Science
Polly is working to understand the effects of climate on recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks in whitebark pine and lodgepole pine forests across the west. She is also working with the Forest Service to develop a framework for applying regional climate change vulnerability assessments at local scales.
Travis Cowles
PhD Candidate
Advisor: Jeff Hicke
PhD student in Geography. Travis' research focuses on identifying forest disturbances using remotely sensed imagery witha primary focus on "natural" disturbance agents such as bark beetles. To explore the cascading impacts of these forest disturbances, Travis' work then explores how these disturbances effect ecosystem services such as water quality and quantity, and nutrient storage and release.
» See Travis' Personal Site
Wenlong Feng
Advisor: John Abatzoglou
MS student in Geography studying spatial variability in winter wheat yields in the Northwestern United States and relationships with climate variability.
Stephen Gillis
Advisor: John Abatzoglou
M.S. student of Environmental Science, interested in climate change impacts in the Pacific Northwest and climate science education. My research focuses on the sensitivity of stream temperature to climate and how projected changes will modify suitable habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout in a small, mountain river in Idaho.
Seth Gorelik
Advisor: Dr. Jeff Hicke
M.S. student in Geography
Seth is researching forest die-offs related to climate change using remote sensing techniques. His project is focused on climate-induced tree mortality in northern New Mexico, within a broader context of efforts to map and monitor global tree mortality.
» Visit Seth's Website
Brendan Gordon
Advisor: Dr. Raymond Dezzani
PhD Student in Geography
My focus is on the statistical, economic, and political aspects of human geography. Since discovering this program in the summer of 2012, I have jumped in with both feet. I earned my M.S. degree here at the Department of Geography in the spring of 2014 with a study of Europe, and am continuing on to the PhD. On the side, I am also a classically-trained musician in composition, score arranging, piano, violin, and viola.
Michelle Howard
Advisor: Dr. Karen Humes
Ph.D. student in Geography.
My research, using the Pathfinder Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) remotely sensed SST data, examines the fine scale global changes in sea surface temperature over 28 years. I teach a general core science course about human – ocean interactions at the University of Idaho.
» Email Michelle
Li Huang
Advisor: Dr. Felix Liao
PhD student in Geography
Li’s research interests are regional development and inequality related issues under multi-scale and multi-mechanism context in China. After his bachelor in GIS major and master in urban planning, he is now trying to investigate some socio-economic questions with spatial analysis and GIS.
Vincent Jansen
Advisor: Crystal Kolden
PhD student in Geography studying remote sensing of grazing impacts on the bunchgrass prairie.
John Kannady
Advisor: Crystal Kolden
MS student in Geography using anthropological data from the Central African Republic to map land cover from Landsat data in a novel mixed methods study.
Aparna Kumari
PhD Student in Geography
My current research is focused on the role and impact of social capital on disaster resilience, response, and recovery.
» View Aparna's LinkedIn Profile
Daniel Matsche
Advisors: Dr. Karen Humes
M.S. student in Geography
I received a B.S. degree in Geography and Political Science from the University of Idaho in 2013. After working as a GIS Specialist on oil and gas exploration projects in Houston, TX for a year, I decided to return to the University of Idaho and pursue my M.S. in Geography. As part of the USGS Northwest Climate Science Center, my research focuses on landslide susceptibility in view of climate change.
Ryan McCarley
Advisor: Crystal Kolden
MS student in Geography.
Growing up in Colorado, Ryan developed an interest in wildfire due to its significance in the region. This, combined with a solid background in geospatial sciences (GIS certificate from Front Range Community College, a BS in Land Use from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a couple years as a Land Surveyor), led him to the University of Idaho. As a second-year MS student he is immersed in his thesis, a project investigating post-fire spectral response and LiDAR-derived metrics of change for a burned and beetle-killed forest in Central Oregon.
Brandon Moore
Advisor: John Abatzoglou
PhD student in Geography. My current doctoral research is focused on climate change, water resources and water availability for biofuel algal ponds.
Lisa Nichols
M.S. student in Geography
I'm interested in the influence of climate change on snow pack and water resources. My research will investigate how projected changes in precipitation and winter season shift will affect ski resorts and their low-snow-year mitigation strategies. I'm also completing three certificates in GIS, Restoration Ecology, and Bioregional Planning & Community Design. I received my B.S. in Biological Sciences at Montana State University.
Lauren Parker
Advisor: John Abatzoglou
PhD student in Geography studying precipitation extremes and their impacts.
Aaron Sparks
Advisor: Crystal Kolden
PhD student in Geography studying spatial fire ecology
Courtney Thompson
Advisor: Dr. Raymond Dezzani
PhD student in Geography
My research focuses on the human environment interactions, specifically the impact of natural hazards on society. I am currently studying coastal hazards (such as hurricanes and inland precipitation flooding from hurricane events) and their impact on communities. I recently developed a vulnerability framework at the sub-county scale. For my PhD research, I am looking at the potential impact of multi-scalar hazard assessments on risk perception and its impact on community scale hazard mitigation.
» Email Courtney
Donovan VanSant
Research Assistant; Advisor: John Abatzoglou
MS student in Environmental Sciences
Hang Zhou
Advisor: Dr. Vladimir Aizen
Currently I am working on analysis and estimation of the snow-glacier water resources in Central Asia using long term surface observational data and remote sensing data.
» Email Hang