2017-2018 GCSC Fellows


I completed a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at Boston University, and spent the next several years working as a newspaper reporter in my Pennsylvania hometown, where I covered everything from health, fitness and the arts to music, goose banding and roller coasters. In 2013 I moved to Iowa to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Environment. My creative work explores the ways that humans interact with and experience their environments, both natural and built, and the interplay between ecology and human experience.

I will be working with Dr. Julia Corbett in the Department of Communication. My research interests include the ways in which scientific concepts are communicated in mass media; how scientific literacy impacts public understanding of issues like climate change, GMOs, and medical data; and how scientists and researchers can better utilize communication modes to control and shape the narrative about their own work.

Austin GreenAustin Green, department of biology

Growing up, nature and sports were two of my great passions. I try to spend as much time as I can hiking, camping, or playing ball. I am a Utah native, and I received my bachelor¹s in Biology at the U.

I will be working with Dr. Cagan Sekercioglu in graduate school, where I hope to study the mammal community in the Central Wasatch Mountain Range. I intend to use camera traps to elucidate the effects of human development on multiple aspects of mammal community ecology. Much of my fieldwork will require help from citizen scientists, and I hope that together we can construct a sustainable management strategy for the Central Wasatch Mountain Range, one that protects our community¹s passion for both recreation and wildlife.

Ryan JohnsonRyan Johnson, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

I completed my Bachelor’s in Science at University of California, Irvine in Earth System Sciences and then my Master’s at California State University, Fullerton in Environmental Sciences. During and between academics, I have worked in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a researcher as well as traveling throughout the western United States racing mountain bikes and chasing my passion for outdoor recreation.

Now focused on working towards my doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering under the guidance of Dr. Steven Burian, I will be researching issues surrounding the Water, Energy, and Food nexus. A main focus will be connecting remote sensing access to climate, labor, and water to urban agriculture to develop synergistic relationships between waste disposal, energy production, and food security. I am excited to be a part of the university’s Global Change and Sustainability Center which promotes collaboration with other students and faculty who share similar visions of a more sustainable future.

Taylor JohnsonTaylor Johnson, Department of Communication

I received a B.A. in History from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. in Communication from James Madison University. My research interests include environmental justice, indigenous decolonial rhetoric, and resistance to U.S. militarization. I will be working with Dr. Danielle Endres in the Department of Communication.


Kelly KerrKelly Kerr, Department of Biology

Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed a strong interest in plant science and a fascination with forest ecosystems. I have a B.S. in Plant Biology from UC Davis, a M.S. in Forest Ecosystems & Society from Oregon State University, and have participated in plant research projects throughout California, the Pacific Northwest and Georgia. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and look forward to exploring the recreational and natural areas in and around Utah.

At the University of Utah, I will be working under the direction of Dr. Bill Anderegg. My research will focus on understanding how forest tree species will respond to a changing climate using multiple scientific disciplines, such as physiology, ecology and climate modelling. My goal is for these research efforts to contribute toward ensuring the future longevity and sustainability of forest ecosystems. I am excited about the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration as I work toward my research goals.

Joey KruegerJoey Krueger, Department of Geography

A native of the flat lands, I was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in the Wichita, Kansas area. In 2014 I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a minor in Geography. I am new to Utah, having just moved from Kansas City where I worked as a structural engineer-in-training in the oil and gas industry for the past two and a half years.

At the University of Utah I am pursuing a Master of Science in Geography, studying under Dr. Summer Rupper and focusing on climatology, climate change, snow and ice, and water resources. I look forward to applying my background in the energy industry to address pressing sustainability issues and to working with a diverse group of students and faculty at the GCSC.

Brooke StanislawskiBrooke Stanislawski, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Born in Southern California, I moved to Evanston, IL to attend Northwestern University for a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. As an undergraduate, I worked with Engineers for a Sustainable World in small-scale wind energy projects that combined my interests in sustainable development and technical design. After graduation, I entered into an Engineering Development Program with Siemens Energy where I completed a rotation in large-scale wind and worked in gas turbine casings design for the following 3.5 years.

I am excited to return to the world of renewable energy through research in novel applications of fluid mechanics to renewable energy technology with Dr. Marc Calaf. I will be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and hope to contribute to the technical advancement of renewable energy technology while playing an active role in our cultural shift towards a sustainable-minded future.

Emily Willis-SylvesterEmily Willis-Sylvester, Department of Political Science

I was raised in the mountains of Utah where I spent much of my childhood camping, hiking, and skiing. Since my sophomore year of college, my research interests have focused on the human-side of natural disasters. Because of my interest in natural hazards, I have a background in environmental history, environmental science, geographic information systems, and urban planning.

I developed an interest in the interactions between climate change, hazards, and land use decisions while completing my masters in urban planning at the University of Kansas. Through my thesis research, I found that most counties in the interior US have not made efforts to mitigate heat waves—one of the hazards most closely associated with climate change. My research helped me realize that adaptation to climate change is being slowed due to a lack of policies. While pursuing my PhD in Political Science and working with Dr. Tabitha Benney, I plan to continue researching climate adaptation policies and efforts, particularly at the local and state levels of government.

Kurt WilsonKurt Wilson, Department of Anthropology

After growing up in Wisconsin and staying in-state to take a bachelor’s degree in History I moved to Iowa where I earned a master’s degree in Education. I worked in higher education in numerous capacities until I decided to shift my focus back to the past and earned a master’s degree in Anthropology: Archaeology.

Working in higher education elicited a keen interest in social inequality and at the University of Utah I will be working in the Department of Anthropology with Drs. Brian Codding, Joan Coltrain, and Jack Broughton to investigate emergent social inequality in mid-level societies. Utilizing stable isotope analyses, behavioral ecology, and zooarchaeology I want to explore early causes and impacts of social hierarchy.

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