Faculty and Staff
The Environmental Education master’s program is housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. The integrated program draws from many disciplines on campus including the Education, Business, Communications, and Environmental Studies Departments, plus others. However, the majority of faculty associated with the program are housed in the Biology Department.
Dr. Stewart Janes – Dr. Janes has been involved in the Environmental Education program since arriving on the SOU campus in 1992. In addition to his interests in environmental education, he trains secondary teachers pursuing secondary teaching licensure in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. He is an ecologist and ornithologist and researches the function of bird song and raptor ecology.
Linda Hilligoss – Linda Hilligoss is a Science Educator for the College of Arts and Sciences and promotes and coordinates activities at the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center. Part of her time is also devoted to the Environmental Ed Masters program and their involvement at Deer Creek Center. Linda is a graduate of the Environmental Education program in its previous incarnation and a certified middle school teacher. She previously worked in the Education Department as an assistant professor training teachers, with a special interest in promoting science at the elementary level.
Dr. Michael Parker – Dr. Parker is an aquatic ecologist and is actively involved in the Environmental Education program. He has a special interest in conservation of freshwater environments throughout the western United States, and has a particular fondness for stream-dwelling amphibians and desert fishes, particularly the Devil’s Hole pupfish. Dr. Parker teaches the Trends in Environmental Education course.
Dr. Peter Schroeder – Dr. Schroeder, an entomologist and advises students in the program. Dr. Schroeder studies insect control through integrated pest management and has a special interest in bumblebees. He also studies aquatic insects as indicators of stream quality.
Dr. Carol Ferguson – Dr. Ferguson, an entomologist, has been actively involved in the environmental education program for many years, mentoring many students through their master’s projects. Dr. Ferguson’s research interests include the study of pollination systems in orchids of the Klamath Siskiyou bioregion.
You can learn more about the faculty associated with the EE program and the other seven faculty members in the Department by visiting the Biology webpage.
Current Graduate Students
The following includes some of our current students and a little about them and their projects. To speak with current graduate students, contact the SEEC office at 541/552-6876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Post - Amy is from Minnesota, by way of Tacoma, Washington where she studied Global Studies and English Writing at Pacific Lutheran University. After college, she lived in a big house with ten friends for a couple years, where she learned how to grow a garden, and raise chickens and goats. In addition to her studies, Amy currently spends her time as the Assistant Office Manager in the Siskiyou Environmental Education Center, and teaches environmental education programs at North Mountain Park Nature Center. She is a fully-certified alpine ski instructor and hopesto incorporate her love of outdoor recreation with her interest in teaching kids about nature. At her leisure she enjoys bikes, hikes, and books.
Mandy Noel - Mandy earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Columbia College in her home state of Missouri. Pursuing the path to becoming a park ranger, Mandy has rambled through the wetlands of the Big Muddy and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuges. After spending one summer living in a little bunkhouse on the prairie, Mandy left the Midwest for an internship at the Patuxent Research Refuge National Wildlife Visitor Center in Maryland. Once the joyful cries of visiting children fell silent and the leaves of gold beech trees and red maples faded, Mandy returned to Missouri for the winter. Shortly after, the travel bug bit her again, and she wound up working as an environmental educator for the Bureau of Land Management in Medford, Oregon. There she guides hikes on the Table Rocks by spring, builds and maintains trails by summer, and leads nature programs at McGregor Park by fall.
Sarah Burstein - Sarah earned a BA in Biology from Colorado College in 2007. She arrived in the mythical State of Jefferson in 2009 to monitor salmon and trout populations with the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project (WSP) in a remote area of Northern California. Through WSP, Sarah also taught watershed education in local schools, developing a great fondness for salmon lifecycle costumes and teaching students about the fantastic natural world that surrounds them. Sarah most recently worked on our neighboring Klamath River and is currently pursuing a teaching credential for middle/high school biology. She enjoys collecting and canning the bounty of Jackson County, mushroom hunting, and playing with her crazy puppy, Bolete.
Erika Hansen - Erika attended Humboldt State University, where she received degrees in Marine Biology and Studio Art. She later acquired an Ananda yoga teaching certificate, a PADI scuba license and a food safety certification. Post-HSU she had a lot of jobs, from working in marine labs in North Carolina, to being a collective member at an amazing natural food store, Corners of the Mouth. She was also a private tutor, a yoga instructor, and a naturalist interpreter. Erika hopes to always be both a student and teacher of nature, inspiring wonder for the natural world in kids of all ages. When she's not reading mounds of homework, Erika can be found outside, preferably on a nice day, birding, doing things with Chihuahuas (tidepooling, yogaing, etc.), creating fun paintings with kids, hanging out with goats, looking at the stars, contemplating life and octopuses, and traveling to warm sunny places.
Kelly Campbell - One of Kelly’s earliest childhood memories is on a beach in Mexico, sculpting sand into various sea creatures, replicating the forms and patterns in great detail. If people walked by she would offer both their common and scientific names, as well as species information. Kelly was born with a passion for connecting people with the natural world. During her undergraduate coursework at the College of Creative Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, Kelly became interested in the inherent connection between art and science—a passion that led her in the direction of environmental education, curriculum development, exhibit design, and eventually, farm-based education. For the last eight years, she has been involved with educational groups and organizations that focus on science, natural history and the environment. Kelly loves making art, playing in the ocean, watching seeds germinate, eating honey by the spoonful, and bottle-feeding baby goats.
Hillary Lowenberg - Hillary hails from hectic Washington, D.C. and landed at SOU to pursue her goals as a teacher/educator at an arts-based farm school of her dreams. She is the graduate assistant and coordinator of the Fall in the Field program and is currently working towards a teaching license for upper elementary and middle school. Hillary attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 2007 with a BA in Environmental Studies. Since then she has been working in schools, farms and gardens to teach urban kids how to grow their own food. She has traveled to 15 countries, is a certified doula and holds a certificate to teach English as a second language. You can find Hillary in the SOU community garden.
Jenna Raino - Jenna got her B.S. in Biology at the College of Idaho. She loves wild, edible plants, and has picked huckleberries every single summer of her life. She is pursuing teaching certification in addition to the Master in Environmental Education, and wants to teach all people about how cool the Earth can really be. She’s has been an interpretive specialist at an archeological park, a garden teacher, and a bird bander. She enjoys the smell of ponderosa pines, and likes to round out her outdoor/indoor life with cooking delicious food and painting on giant canvases.
Calvin Lin - Calvin is a New Jersey native who graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. (That’s all one major!) He did a year-long stint with AmeriCorps in their New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program, contributing to the local schools and community with projects and education outreach. This naturally influenced him to want to teach students about the wonders of nature and led him to the Environmental Education program. Also, he has an incredible weakness towards fluffy, fuzzy things.
Katie Bradley - Katie is a graduate assistant in the Biology department, teaching general biology labs. She received her Bachelor's of Science degree, cum laude, in Environmental Science from Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She came to southern Oregon from an environmental educator position at the Alice Ferguson Foundation, a non-profit providing environmental/agricultural education in the Washington, D.C area. Work experiences include the Alaskan Center forthe Environment and the Maryland Park Service in the field of outdoor education. She enjoys rock climbing and hiking, and hopes to inspire in others the same sense of wonder and appreciation she frequently experiences in nature.
Ryan King - Ryan makes the transcontinental trek to the Pacific Northwest from his hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut. A graduate from Oberlin College with a background in Biology and Environmental Studies, Ryan is pursuing a secondary teaching licensure and is a graduate assistant in the SEEC office. Ryan has previously worked at an alternative high school in Cottage Grove and has taught overseas in the Fijian Islands. Ryan’s career pursuits include place-based and project-based education, sustainable design, and experiential learning. A hydrophilic with an adrenaline appetite, Ryan seeks thrill by running long distances, combating hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, jamming on the guitar, beekeeping, and using plastic boards to surf and snowboard.
Kiersa Benson - Kiersa has a bachelor's degree in biology and environmental studies from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In addition to the EE Masters degree, she is working towards a teaching licensure for middle/high biology. She spent the last few years exploring canyon country in Moab, Utah and teaching field trips as a National Park Ranger. In her spare time she enjoys reading mystery novels and knitting silly critters.
Shauna Oster - Shauna is currently a SEEC graduate assistant and is also working toward a secondary biology teaching licensure. She has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Portland State University. Some of her favorite work experiences include leading fisheries survey field trips as a member of the Americorps Watershed Stewards Project and her adventures on the road as a traveling science educator for OMSI. In between helping kids in the community with their science fair projects and guiding nature hikes, Shauna enjoys kayaking, painting, scuba diving, and roller-skating.
Jessica Collins - Jessica is currently working on her masters in Environmental Education and a certificate of non-profit management. She has a bachelor’s degree in German from Carthage College. She spent several years working for an environmental education center in the Chicagoland area. She was involved in the book and school supply rescue efforts as well as community education. Most recently, she worked in marketing for an electrical contractor that spent the majority of its efforts building wind farms. In her free time, Jessica enjoys endurance running, traveling both domestically and internationally, yoga, cooking, and playing with her dog Max.
Teresa “Bird” Wicks - Bird currently works as a graduate assistant in the SEEC office, coordinating the educational kits. She has her B.S. from Oregon State University in Natural Resources and a minor in Wildlife Conservation. Bird volunteered at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Center for six years, banded birds for the Institute for Bird Populations in Orange County, CA and served as Environmental Educator for at-risk youth through AmeriCorps and The Job Council. Bird has a habit of rescuing animals, currently enjoying time with a horse, Huka, and a dog, Freyja. She enjoys hiking, camping, birdwatching, sewing, research and teaching people about nature.
Stacey Perry - Stacey has a degree in Studio Art with a minor in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. She is pursuing an elementary/middle level teaching licensure and is passionate about creating empowering learning experiences for children both in the classroom and outdoors. For the past four years, Stacey taught soil science to sixth-graders through the Multnomah Education Service District’s Outdoor School program in Portland, OR. She enjoys spending time in and around Oregon’s beautiful rivers, lakes, and streams.
Katie MacDiarmid - Katie received her BS in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. After college, she taught outdoor science programs for 5th and 6th graders at Outdoor School and at Whiskeytown Environmental School. In the summers, she led backpacking, climbing, and rafting trips for teens with Adventure Treks. She also spent a year teaching middle school science for BECA, a bilingual school for low-income students in Honduras, before discovering the Environmental Education program at SOU. In addition to her EE Master’s, Katie is currently pursuing a secondary teaching licensure and working as a graduate assistant in the SEEC office. In her free time, Katie enjoys climbing, running, cooking, reading, and music.
Bethany Osborne-Koch - Bethany has a BS in General Science and Theater with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. For the last three years she spent her days falling in love with the rainy, lush forests of Northwestern Oregon as a Field Instructor for the MESD Outdoor School program. While working towards an Elementary/Middle licensure she hopes to strengthen her understanding of our ecosystem to better share her wonder for the outdoors with students. Bethany aspires to spend her time hiking, farming, cooking, and tidepooling - as well as the occasional frolick.
Libby VanWyhe - Libby graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Environmental Biology and Management. For the last six years, she has been working in the environmental field in many capacities including: paper pushing, habitat restoration, environmental consulting, WOOFing in Ireland, community organizing, and outdoor education. Since arriving Ashland in 2009, she has loved working among kindred spirits at the North Mountain Park Nature Center. Libby spends her days teaching biology labs for her Graduate Assistantship, working on classroom plans for her teaching license, and trying to blend in with the scientists. She (not-so-secretly) believes in faeries. Shhh... don't blow her cover.
Hannah Kolni - Hannah Kolni is excited to be living on the west coast in the beautiful Rogue Valley. Hailing from Dallas, TX, she dedicated over two years as a City of Dallas employee spreading environmental awareness in her hometown after graduating with her B.S. in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University. Hannah has more than five years experience as a student activist and professional in the environmental field. She has also traveled extensively, most recently journeying around the globe over five months including a sustainable development internship in Thailand. She loves to hike, encourage the spread of social justice, and find ways to make the world a better place through everyday actions and interactions. She hopes to become a local naturalist and skilled educator through the EE program with teaching licensure, connecting young people with the naturalworld in a meaningful way that inspires stewardship and advocacy. In her free time, she paints colorful acrylic works and is working on a travel memoir.
Brennan McGinnis - Brennan spent his college years in a microscopic and molecular fairytale as he studied cell biology at Oregon State University. At the turn of his senior year he realized that, though he loved medicine and physiology, he actually thrived during the two short weeks in which he was guiding youth educational backpacking trips. Through college, and in the years since, he has worked as a contract wilderness outdoor educator and ecological restoration technician. In 2010, Brennan decided that the MS in Environmental Education offered at SOU would be the best way to gain the skills and qualifications necessary for offering wilderness education for young people. While fulfilling the EE requirements, Brennan will also complete coursework towards the Certificate in Non-Profit Management in hopes that he will be able to help restore the Wilderness CharterSchool curriculum at Ashland High School. In the cracks between family, class, and work, he also loves to backpack, hike, slack-line, snowboard, travel, and cook. Personal heroes: G.W. Hayduke and Utah Phillips
Environmental Education Alumni
Graduates of the Environmental Education program have gone on to diverse careers. Some have continued on to become classroom teachers. Others work for various government agencies as environmental educators and field biologists. The following is a sample of the positions currently held by graduates of our program.
Sam Whitridge – Graduated 2009. Coordinator for the Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners (BCWEP) and also working for OSU Extension Jackson County as a Natural Resources Extension Agent.
Melisa Pitkin – Graduated 2006. Education and Outreach Director, Point Reyes Bird Observatory in Santa Rosa, California.
Lindsey Lyons – Graduated 2005. Currently on the faculty of Oregon State University working for the Extension Service and based in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Elizabeth Waserman – Graduated 2002. Interpretive Specialist. Lake Clark National Park, Homer, Alaska. She is currently Deputy Manager of Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Noelle Jordan – Graduated 2002. Environmental Education Coordinator at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, Texas.
Vicki Arthur – Graduated 2001. Conservation Education Specialist. U.S. Forest Service, Headquarters, Washington D.C.
Stacey Gaylord Moore – Graduated 1995. Community Relations Programme Manager for Department of Conservation, New Zealand. She is currently Director, Ecological Education, Institute for Applied Ecology, Corvallis, Oregon.
Kari Geis – Graduated 1993. Education Coordinator, North Mountain Park Nature Center, Ashland, Oregon.