I am enthusiastically committed to training and mentoring the graduate students who will go on to careers in scholarly and applied dimensions of resource geography. Montana State University has a small, but growing resource geography program with strong interests in rural communities, water resources and energy. Students have graduate-level course options in Historical Geography, Political Ecology, Natural Resource Law, and Resource Geography. Many students affiliate with the graduate cohort in the Institute on Ecosystems.
Current graduate students are working on exciting projects considering the GYE as a social-ecological system, community impacts of energy development, reclamation landscapes, and the politics of conservation. Resilience and community development are strong themes across their work. They are: Katie Bills, Kristin Smith, Katie Epstein and Michael Stone (scroll down to learn more about them).
Recent graduate students have finished projects on drought resilience in the Jefferson River basin and community resilience in West Yellowstone, and are employed in resource management careers in Montana.
E-mail: kathryn.bills @ msu.montana.edu
Research interests: energy landscapes, resource geography, community resilience, demography, U.S & Canada
B.A. Geography, Keene State College, Keene, New Hampshire
M.A. Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
About: I grew up in north central Connecticut, and studied geography and secondary education as an undergrad at Keene State College in Keene, NH. Upon completion of my degree I immediately re-located to Victoria, BC, Canada to pursue a Master’s degree. At UVic I researched public park spaces established and designed for use by older adults. There my interest in landscape developed which has now inspired my work as a doctoral student in the Earth Sciences Department at Montana State University. I am presently working towards an integrated human geography PhD focusing on energy development, landscape and reclamation in the U.S. West. Prior to beginning my PhD I was an adjunct faculty member in the Geography Department at Keene State College where I taught multiple courses including Geography of the U.S. and Canada, the Geography of Aging, and a field studies course in the U.S. desert southwest. When not buried in a book I enjoy traveling, cheering on New England sports teams, hiking and camping.
Email: kathleen.epstein @ msu.montana.edu
web site: www.mountaingeographies.com
Research Interests: environmental conflict and collaboration, environmental governance, political ecology, conservation, landscape change, social-ecological systems, mountain communities
B.A. Anthropology, Davidson College, Davidson NC
M.S. Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Bio: I’m interested in social-ecological systems, mountain community conservation and development, and political ecology and participatory approaches. I hail originally from Boston but have called the West home (in various locales) since 2010. I graduated from Davidson College with a degree in Anthropology and spent several years after teaching environmental education and directing an interpretative nordic ski guiding organization in Grand Teton National Park. I am co-author of a monograph examining conservation histories in south central Maine and has been active in food justice and conservation initiatives, serving previously on the boards of the Davidson Lands Conservancy and Davidson Farmers Market. I received my masters with the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group in 2016. My doctoral work is rooted in environmental geography and examines social-ecological system dynamics, resilience and landscape change in the Greater Yellowstone and Himalaya.
Email: kksmith312 @ gmail.com
Research Interests: resource geography, rural community development, political economy, regional governance
B.A. Film and Media Culture Studies, Middlebury College
M.S. Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont
About: I am passionate about developing theory-driven, practical strategies to help rural communities thrive in an uncertain future. I have lived in rural areas my entire life, from southeastern Missouri to southwestern Vermont, and enjoy thinking about how their different cultural, institutional, and economic contexts impact their approaches (official and unofficial) to community and economic development. To further explore these interests, I started pursuing my PhD in Earth Sciences at Montana State University in January 2016. My dissertation research explores how local communities in northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota have responded to impacts from the Bakken oil development and how their decision making impacts long-term community and economic resilience. When not at school in Montana, I live in Sudbury, Vermont with my partner Joe and our dog Isaac. These days I spend most of my free time fixing up our newly purchased house, which has equal amounts of charm and needed repairs. When not working (on the house or my dissertation), I love going on long trail runs, attempting to skate ski with at least a little grace, and exploring new places.
Research interests: Political Ecology, Resource Geography, and Geographic Information Systems
B.A. Philosophy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (2012)
B.A. Linguistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (2012)
About: I was born and raised in a small city called Miamisburg outside of Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from high school I spent time traveling and working until joining the Air Force a few months later. After my time in the Air Force, I started college at a local community college and transferred to Ohio State a year later. While studying philosophy and linguistics at Ohio State I developed an interest in geography. I graduated from Ohio State in 2012 and moved to Havre, Montana for an AmeriCorps VISTA position with a local non-profit organization called Opportunity Link. After my term as an AmeriCorps volunteer I was hired on by my host site as a full-time employee. While volunteering and working at Opportunity Link I worked on the Vibrant Futures project, a three-year regional planning grant project funded by HUD, DOT, and EPA through the Sustainable Communities Initiative. I moved to Bozeman in late 2014 and started working as a Data/GIS consultant for Headwaters Economics. Currently, I am pursuing my MS in Earth Science at MSU and work as a consultant when time allows.
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Interests: human geography, rural community development, political economy, regional governance
B.A. Human Geography, Central China Normal University, China
M.S. Economic Geography, Central China Normal University, China
Ph.D. Economic Geography, The Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences),China.
About: My research, teaching, and outreach interests are at the intersection of the ecological, cultural, and health aspects of food systems with a focus on modern Tibetan society - their food security and food environments in health disparate communities. I use the tools of psychology and economics to examine important ways in which misperception and emotion can drive economic decisions. I study socio-economic and cultural changes among minority populations in Tibetan Plateau as a result of implementation of planned development measures. I also focus on a study of adaptation strategies and adaptation ability of Tibetan population to transformed and modernized social and economic environment. I have conducted dozens of field and laboratory experiments identifying the subtle factors in the environment that can lead nomads to make better economic choices. My work on behavioral economics and relocated nomads program tries to answer how low cost solutions—like offering vocational training and helping Tibetan nomads to access to markets—can lead nomads to find stable jobs without reducing overall availability of choices, or breaking the local official budget. I started pursuing my PhD in Earth Sciences at Montana State University in July 2016. My dissertation research explores the minority ethnic segregation, integration and citizenship in Tibetan Plateau, re-examines the way in which minority ethnic housing segregation and integration are currently represented in political discourse across the Tibetan Plateau and reviews their implications for housing policy, inclusion and the social rights of citizenship.
I live with my daughter and my husband in Bozeman. Every summer I go to the Tibetan Plateau to continue my research. I like hiking and running, plus swimming. My favorite words: “Once you stop learning, you start dying” from Einstein.