What are you studying?

My project is on dwarf mistletoe in western hemlock. Dwarf mistletoe is an aerial parasite of trees. I’m working to quantify how it changes the structure of hemlock crowns and sapwood area.

How did you end up studying tree diseases at Oregon State?

I learned to climb trees as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. After that, I worked as a forester and arborist. I wanted to keep climbing trees. I found Dave Shaw online and told him that I knew how to climb trees and do canopy research, so we came up with this project because he wanted to do more with dwarf mistletoe and western hemlock. Part of the project is canopy mapping, and I’d done that before as well. We thought we could incorporate forest pathology into this canopy study, which isn’t done very often in big trees.

You’ll finish up in June. What’s next?

I’m not totally sure, but something to do with forest health. I’ll probably do public work. I’m on the search right now.

What do you do now when you’re not studying or working on your thesis?

I like to hike and go out and climb trees for fun. My goal is to get out at least once a week. I started drawing recently, which has been kind of cool. I want to get to a point where I could put a drawing in a paper I publish. I mostly draw trees and mushrooms.

What’s the biggest tree you’ve climbed?

I’m not sure. I have climbed a giant sequoia that was over 300 feet tall, but I’m not exactly sure how high up I got. The hemlocks I study are about 50 meters tall.

What’s the scariest part of tree climbing?

You shoot the anchor into the tree with a crossbow, and the first few times you do it, you’re never sure if you’ve done it right, but you just have to do it. When you get up there, you might realize that a tiny branch or a dead branch was holding all of your weight.

Have you traveled much?

When I graduated from undergrad, I did a tour of almost all of the national parks in the west. I lived out of my car for three months until I ran out of money and hiked and climbed trees.

What trees will you climb next?

I want to climb a redwood and a really tall species of Eucalyptus tree in Australia.

What’s your favorite national park?

Grand Tetons. It’s so beautiful. When I was there, I saw bears, moose and a few different types of deer. Being in the mountains is crazy. It’s very rugged, but there are also a lot of flowers. The flowers might be my favorite part of national parks.

What are you studying?

I’m currently working on my Masters with Dr. Ashley D’Antonio. Our lab uses mixed-method, interdisciplinary approaches to understand human behavior and their social/ecological impacts within parks and protected areas. For the past two years, my research has been in Grand Teton National Park where I conducted a visitor use and experience study at a popular lake destination. 

How did you end up studying tourism and recreation management?

My path to this point has certainly not been linear! My undergraduate degree is in History, specifically 20th century European history, so pretty hard to make a connection there. But I loved my liberal arts education and still am a total history buff. During the summers in college, I did trail work and trail design in Colorado. This experience catalyzed my interest in outdoor work, recreation management, and conservation. After college I worked for an ecological research unit in Fairbanks Alaska which further ignited my interest in science, data collection and analysis. After that I worked in communications and program management for local non-profits. 

What I’m doing now is a perfect combination of all these experiences: ecological research, social science, communications, and outdoor recreation. 

What do you love about your work now?

I love how dynamic and applied the work is. I have the opportunity to work with a diversity of data types: spatial data, ecological data, survey data, etc.  This work inspired me to get a GIS certificate in tandem with my Master’s. And I appreciate that most of our work directly informs management decisions in outdoor spaces. 

What do you do when you’re not working?

Well, I just had a baby, and my partner is in school for Mechanical Engineering, so we have been busy! But outside of that, my interests are simple but make me happy: hiking, reading novels, gardening, laughing and trying to craft all my Christmas gifts.

Have you watched any good shows lately?

I just watched the Canadian show, Working Moms. The show was irreverent and refreshing to watch. Oh and I recently binge watched Derry Girls – takes place in Northern Ireland in the 1990’s. So good.

Tell us about your family.

My partner, Marshall and I just joyfully welcomed a new baby into our lives, Hudson James. Marshall and I have been together for nearly a decade. He is definitely the yin to my yang: calm, steadfast, and easy going where I can be excitable, impulsive, and just a little uptight! We make a well balanced team. 

What’s your favorite place to nap?

I think hammock napping takes the cake: being outside on a warm day under a tree with a gin and tonic (or two). So happy, so sleepy thinking about it.

Do you have a favorite snack?

It has to be cheese. And not even fancy cheese. I could eat my weight in cheddar cheese.

What are you studying?

Wood Science. I just defended my Master’s thesis. My project looked at the possibility of using salvaged lumber from Portland deconstruction for the manufacturing of structurally rated cross-laminated timber panels. I collected a bunch of salvaged lumber from Portland and made nine panels in the high bay lab and tested them.

What were your results?

All panels were stiff and strong enough to meet the standard performance ratings, but they struggled with Delamination. One of my panels made with 100% salvaged lumber passed all the criteria, which is promising, but we didn’t have a large sample size.

How did you end up at Oregon State?

I was born in South Florida and finished high school in South West Georgia. Almost six years ago, I was hit by a car while riding my moped and in the hospital for about six months. That time helped me realize a lot of things, and I had a lot of ‘me time’ to think about problems related to energy and waste. I decided recycling and wood had to be a part of the solution to waste problems. When I went back to school at the University of Georgia, I had a stronger purpose. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, and one of my professors knew Laurie Schimleck. I emailed him and told him I was interested in recycling and we figured out a project.

Now that you’ve defended your thesis, what’s next?

I’m not sure. If anyone out there knows of any opportunities, that would be great. I have an application out for a job I really want. I like connecting with people and finding solutions to problems. 

Will you stay in the Pacific Northwest?

I’ll go where opportunity takes me, where I can make the most impact. I love it up here even though it’s a little cold and rainy.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I like to cook, and I’m working on starting a chili oil business. I also love to hang out with my dog and friends, travel, explore the outdoors, make art, invent things, tinker, and play soccer and foosball.

What do you use your chili oil for?

It can be used as a cooking oil or topping. It’s good when cooking chicken and sea food, but I don’t eat that much meat. I usually put it on top of pizza and baked potatoes. You can add it to rice, ramen or pho. You can use it for dipping with bread a cheese.

Have you been watching any good shows lately?

I like The Good Place. It’s just a funny take on the afterlife.

What do you do here in the College of Forestry?

I’m a research associate. I finished my Ph.D. in Portugal and worked for two years as a corporate scientist for a company there. I found my postdoc position thanks to a connection I made at the U.S. Forest Service, and from there became a research associate. I’ve been here about five years.

What I do is mostly wildfire and landscape modeling. We run these landscape models to do what-if scenarios and see how a particular landscape would change if you ramp up forest management, increase wildfire under climate change, increase population density.

Did you know about Corvallis before you landed here?

Not at all. I had to google it. I spent one year here during my Ph.D., but I was in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, so that kind of environment is what I had in my head when I came here, and it was a shock, but the people are nice and the work is great. I’ve made friends and found community.

How did you become interested in studying forestry, and specifically wildfire?

Portugal has a lot of wildfire. One year when I was in school was particularly bad, and that term, I had my first class in fire ecology. The professor of that class ended up being my Ph.D. supervisor. He came in and debunked all of these crazy theories about wildfire and explained the social and ecological aspects of it. I found it really interesting, and I decided it was what I wanted to do: help people understand how things work based on data, provide them information, and let them make up their own minds about it.

What is your favorite part of the work you do now?

I like when the results show something I wasn’t expecting. There are instances where we think things might go one way, but they go another way. Surprises are the best part!

What do you do outside work?

My family is in Portugal, and I have friends all over the world, and in different time zones, so I spent some time chatting with them. I like true crime podcasts, embroidery, Netflix, gardening…

What are some true crime podcasts we should know about?

One of my favorites is called ‘Crime Writers On…’ They comment on upcoming podcasts or TV shows and give their reviews. Based on that, I decide what to listen to or watch. I like stories that give you an overarching view of a problem. One, called ‘Missing and Murdered’ explored an indigenous girl in Canada that disappeared, and that led to exploring issues of Canada’s residential schools and reparations with first peoples.

How did you learn to embroider?

I taught myself by following Instagram accounts. I can’t paint or draw, but embroidery comes naturally to me. I started by upcycling sweaters or sweatshirts, and now I’m making a lot of architectural ones, like the lookout where my partner works and my parents’ house. I like hobbies where I can create something to hold in my hands and show people.

What are you studying?

I’m a Ph.D. student. I finished my coursework, and now I’m exclusively focused on my research. I’m studying how to improve root morphology and physiology of Douglas fir seedlings in order to improve reforestation success with Dr. Carlos Gonzalez-Benecke. 

What was your journey here to Oregon State?

I first came here as a master’s student in the former Forest Science Department in fall 1999 and graduated in spring 2002. Back then, Richardson Hall was a brand, new building. It still looks like that. After that, I returned to Chile, where I am originally from, and I worked as a researcher in a government agency for four years. After that, I was recruited by a private company and became the manager of the biggest nursery in Chile – and maybe in all of South America. One day, Dr. Carlos Gonzalez-Benecke came to visit with some people from an Oregonian forest company. I gave them a tour of the nursery I was working on, and later during that year, Carlos started asking me questions about some details in Eucalyptus seedling production and eventually encouraged me to come to work with him here at Oregon State.

This time, we decided to bring our whole family. When I got my master’s here, it was just my wife and me, and back in Chile, we had triplets. They are 16 now and attending Corvallis High School. We wanted to give them the wonderful experience of living here in Corvallis and getting to know a new culture.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

I like growing seedlings. It seems like I’m producing new life with benefits for the entire world. It doesn’t matter the purpose of the seedlings. They can be for restoration, conservation, timber production, wildlife habitat. I just like growing trees and creating life, living organisms.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I like watching sports. I like sports, but I really don’t spend much time practicing sports anymore, so I would rather watch them on TV. I like basketball; I like the NBA. I went to a couple basketball games during my Master’s program. I do like American football too. I also like riding my bike around campus, even if it’s cold. In Chile I didn’t have the opportunity to ride my bike regularly, and here, I ride my bike every day.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Morning. I would rather wake up early. Sometimes I work late, and I don’t sleep much, but I always feel more productive in the mornings.

Is coffee part of your morning routine?

Yes, I like instant coffee. Instant coffee is very popular in Chile. Brewed coffee is getting more popular with the arrival of Starbucks and Gourmet coffee shops, but I prefer instant.

What’s your favorite food?

That is a difficult question, because I’m a food addictive, but I’ll say fried empanadas with a pisco sour. I like seafood empanadas with shrimp and melted cheese, but you can have them with only cheese, or with beef.

Is there anything you’re really terrible at?

Drawing. I’m not an artist. I have tried! I had to do it when I was at school, but I had the worst grade in drawing and art.

What is your job?

I’m an assistant professor here in the Wood Science + Engineering Department. I’ll also be taking over the Utility Pole Research Cooperative and the Environmental Performance of Treated Wood Research Cooperative. I’ve just been here for about two months so far.

How did you end up here at Oregon State?

I got my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, and my advisor actually did a job really similar to this one. I studied biofules and fungal biology. After that, I did a postdoc at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is a Department of Energy Laboratory that mostly focuses on nuclear energy, but there were a few biofules people like me there.

Are you a morning person or night person?

Morning. I’m also horribly addicted to coffee. In my office, I have an espresso maker, French press and drip brew to help keep me awake.

What does life look like outside work?

I have my wife and my 11-month-old daughter at home. We haven’t done too much yet other than explore the area since we’re still new around here.

Have you watched anything good on Netflix lately?

Every Friday night we’re watching the new episode of the Great British Baking Show. We really enjoy that. My wife is from Ireland, and we enjoy British humor.

Do you like to bake?

I do bake bread sometimes, but you really have to be sure you eat it before it goes bad, so I go in and out of those phases. I’m not baking right now because I felt like I was throwing away too much bread. I also enjoy cooking.

What is your job?

I manage the recruitment efforts for the undergraduate programs in the College of Forestry. Much of the time I’m on the road talking to high school and community college classes. The rest of the time, I’m here meeting one-on-one with students and families, hosting group visits, leading tours, and answering questions about CoF and OSU.

Do you have any crazy stories from the road?

One time I was heading down I-5 and a golf ball came out of nowhere and hit the windshield of the car I was driving. Another time I found myself in Fresno with a few hours before my flight, and a colleague from the College of Agricultural Sciences suggested we go to the zoo, so we went in our business casual clothes.

What was your path to this position?

A meandering one! In what seems like a past life, I was a drug & alcohol rehabilitation counselor and taught life skills to folks in an in-patient rehab. When I moved to Oregon, I started working in central enrollment management at OSU, and really wanted to get into a college environment and start doing something more creative.  I knew CoF was one of the coolest colleges to work for, and I’m pretty outdoorsy, so it matched my interests.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Outside of work, I do a lot of outdoor adventuring, and I’m really getting into gardening. My husband is a professional brewer, so we like to go to different breweries and sample beers. We have a dog who keeps us active and entertained. I also play music, and I love to learn new instruments.

What instruments do you play?

Guitar, piano, violin and a little banjo. I’m slowly learning to play the mandolin.

What’s your favorite podcast?

I really love the Ologies podcast by Alie Ward. Each episode focuses on a different -ologie – a scientific study of something. Some of my favorite episodes are on myrmecology (ants), etymology (word origins), and somnology (sleep). 

You work with groups of students. What’s your favorite icebreaker question to ask?

It’s a weird one… If one of your hands had be a never-ending sandwich, what kind of sandwich would it be? My answer is a caprese sandwich.

Welcome to the College of Forestry! What do you do around here?

I’m an instructor in the Wood Science + Engineering Department. I’m teaching some of the art and design classes.

What was your journey to this position like?

I lived and worked in Denver for the past 25 years. I designed and made custom furniture there and also taught art and design classes. I landed in that career after earning a history degree and working in construction. After that, I gravitated toward fine woodworking and furniture making. Years later I went back to school to get my master’s degree in furniture design, and that’s when I shifted to academia.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

My favorite part of teaching art and design is helping students solve problems- giving them a space where they can find solutions to their design problems. I especially like when I can facilitate an “ ah-ha” moment.

What do you do outside work?

I don’t know yet! It was a challenge to get caught up and start classes so soon after moving to a new place, but I’m looking forward to learning about the rivers in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Back in Denver, I also trained in traditional Japanese martial arts. I also like to play soccer and make things when I can.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

We have a cat and a dog. I’m an animal person! I also really love horses. My wife grew up on a cattle ranch in Utah, so we both love to ride when we can.

What is your job?

There are a few different pieces. I oversee the help desk with Paul and provide back-up support there. I also purchase all the electronics for the college and manage the computer labs.

How did you end up here in this position?
I’m from Corvallis, and I used to work for a biotech company, but I was interested in getting out of that industry and ended up here.

What’s your favorite part of your work?

The variety. There’s something different going on every day.

Tell us about your family.

I’m married, and I have three children who are seven, five and one.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
When I get my own free time, I like to play softball and hunt and fish. I’m taking my oldest son along with me, and that’s really fun.

What do you hunt?

Elk, deer, turkey, duck and geese. I fish for steelhead and salmon. I enjoy it because it’s a challenge. I also really like to be outside and teach my son about ethical hunting and gun safety along with a lot of life lessons. Mostly he just plays, makes a lot of noise and scares the fish away.

Watching anything interesting lately?
The new season of American Horror Story.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would be?
Steak and potatoes. I’m the main cook in our house, and I could probably live off of that.

What’s a household chore you don’t enjoy?

Washing silverware. We do have a dishwasher, but with two little boys eating so much food, it’s usually faster to hand wash it because we go through so much.

What’s new?

This fall I’m starting a new position in FERM as an assistant professor of wildlife ecology. I will teach courses related to forest ecology and wildlife, but my research program will still be focused on understanding wildlife that inhabits forests – mostly managed forests. This is a new chapter for me, and I’m really excited about it.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I get to pursue knowledge in areas that are of interest to me, but that are also relevant to how we manage our forests.

What do you do when you’re not working

I spend time with my family. We have two young kids, our son is four and a half and our daughter is almost two. My son is interested in tractors and machinery, so this summer we went to the Oregon Steam Up, which is a gathering of people with old style tractors back to the steam era. That’s something we never would have done otherwise. We also like to hike and explore the outdoors, and go to the Corvallis Knights baseball games.

Are you reading anything interesting lately?

I’m reading a book about the rise and the fall of the Comanche called Empire of the Summer Moon. Since I spent time in Kansas, I like things about Western exploration, native tribes and mountain men. I love Edward Abbey’s work as well, and would highly recommend it (especially Desert Solitaire. I try to read something non-work related before I go to bed every night.

You study birds. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Despite studying birds for 20 years, I’m still not a morning person. Some people bounce out of bed, but when I get up, I think, ‘Oh no, what have I done?!?’ If I don’t have to get out of bed in the morning for work or kids, I’ll sleep in as long as I can.

How do you like to stay active?

When I can, I like to play basketball at Dixon. My Labrador has a lot of energy, so sometimes I take her hiking or trail running.

If you were going to sing a song at karaoke, what would it be?

“Two of a Kind Working on a Full House” by Garth Brooks.

Do you like country music?

Not as a general rule, but for some reason, I got one of his albums years ago, and I really liked it.