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: energy planning, resource geography, rural community development,
natural resource planning
B.S. Resource Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula
M.S. Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow
About: My research focuses on rural community development, energy planning, and natural resource management. I first moved to Montana in 2008 to pursue a BS in Forestry and Resource Conservation at the University of Montana. After graduating from UM, I served two AmeriCorps terms in Helena, Montana and Lakeview, Oregon and received my MS in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho in the summer of 2017. These experiences have profoundly shaped my academic and professional goals of supporting rural communities in planning for uncertain economic and environmental futures. In the fall of 2017, I joined the Resources and Communities Research Group and will be working with Dr. Haggerty to investigate the human dimensions of rural land use change and the land use-energy policy nexus. When not at school, I enjoy fly fishing with my partner Ry and trail running with our chocolate lab Bones.
Research interests: energy landscapes, resource geography, community resilience, extractive industries and society
B.A. Earth Sciences (GIS & Planning) Montana State University, 2017
A native Montanan, Jackson has a longstanding personal and professional interests in rural change. Jackson’s master’s thesis focuses on the role of non-regulatory agreements in securing benefits to communities from extractive industry projects. He leads engagement of RCRG with the Meagher County Stewardship Group in central Montana.