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.
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.
emitted into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is causing the
Earth to warm, oceans to acidify and climates to change. Because tree growth captures
atmospheric carbon, some scientists and environmental advocacy groups promote massive
tree planting as a solution to climate change.
A group of 46 scientists from around the world, led by Joseph Veldman of Texas A&M University, are urging caution regarding plans to address climate change through massive tree planting.
These scientists teamed up with Veldman, whose research
focuses on the fire ecology of savannas and forests of Texas and Tropical America,
to publish a message of concern in the journal Science.
tree planting can be good in some deforested areas, tree planting in Earth’s
natural grasslands destroys plant and animal habitat and will not sequester
enough carbon to compensate for fossil fuel emissions,” Veldman says. “Few people
realize that planting trees in the wrong places can actually damage ecosystems,
increase wildfire intensity and exacerbate global warming.”
The new publication
is a critique of another recent paper in Science,
which claimed global, large-scale tree planting could capture 205 gigatons of
carbon, or one-third of the carbon dioxide emitted since the industrial
“Because the estimate of 205 gigatons of carbon was so large, in July 2019, headlines around the world declared tree planting to be the best solution to climate change,” Veldman said. We now know those headlines were wrong.”
In their critique, Veldman and his collaborators write that
serious methodological flaws led to a five-fold overestimate of the potential
for new trees to mitigate climate change. Among the problems, they point out
that the original study assumed that soils in ecosystems without trees contain
no carbon, when in fact many ecosystems such as savannas and peatlands, contain
more carbon in soils than in the above-ground vegetation.
The study also neglected the fact that coniferous forests in
boreal and high mountain regions absorb more sunlight and emit more heat than
treeless areas, and actually exacerbate rather than mitigate global warming.
Finally, Veldman and his collaborators argue tree planting in
grasslands and savannas, as proposed by the original article’s research team,
is damaging to the environment.
and savannas contain immense biodiversity and provide services to humanity,
such as livestock forage and groundwater recharge,” Veldman says. “We worry
that a myopic focus on tree planting will reduce the capacity of people to adapt
to climate change while distracting from efforts to conserve intact ecosystems
and reduce fossil fuel consumption.”
Co-author Christopher Still of the Oregon State University College of Forestry, adds, “Careful and targeted afforestation and reforestation can help with the climate crisis, but only if done in certain regions and with appropriate safeguards for biodiversity, water availability, and in concert with local communities. ”
I’m an accountant in the business center, and I focus on payroll.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy getting to interact with a variety of groups and people including the college’s employees, HR and central payroll. There are great people all across this campus. Having good colleagues makes any job more enjoyable and that’s something really nice about being at OSU.
What was your journey to the college like?
I went into accounting because I wanted to have a stable career. I worked in public accounting for a while. I was a CPA, and that was not the right atmosphere for me. I was looking for better work-life balance. I had a good friend who used to work in the business office here, so I knew it was a great place to be.
Being an accountant for the College of Forestry also gives me a sense of connection to my family, because there are foresters, millwrights and wildlife biologists in my family. I got my accounting degree from Humboldt State University and while I was there I worked as an accountant for just under five years at Green Diamond Resource Company, which is a large timber company focused on Redwood and Douglas Fir. So even though I don’t personally have any experience in forestry, I really enjoy having a sense of connection to that world.
You started in June. What have you learned about the college so far?
I’ve learned a lot thanks to the field trips we take as business office staff. Those help us get familiar with different projects and work going on. Jim Rivers taught us about his work with marbled murrelets, and we got to take a tour of the Emmerson lab before it opened.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to go on waterfall hikes. There are some really nice ones around here. My favorite is near Eugene: Salt Creek and Diamond Falls. It’s breath-taking natural beauty that isn’t as crowded with people as most other waterfall trails. It’s only a three-mile loop and isn’t far off the road, so it’s very accessible for any random weekend.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
I’m a dog person, both big and small dogs. I have two teacup Chihuahuas, but my boyfriend has a cat, so of course I love our cat. She has three-legs, and she’s a cancer survivor. Since our three pets are all under 10 pounds, we’re hoping to add some balance next year by adding a larger dog to our family.
If you were going to compete in the Olympics, what sport would you participate in?
Swimming. I used to swim in high school. I was never assertive enough to enjoy participating in contact or team sports, but I enjoy watching sports with friends.
What’s your favorite food?
Lasagna. I really like Italian food and pasta of all kinds.
Welcome to the College of Forestry! What do you do here?
Thank you! I’m the new FES graduate coordinator. I started late-June 2019.
How is it going so far?
It’s great! I have to give a big shout out to my predecessor, Jessica Bagley, because she left me so many detailed and thorough resources that have helped me get settled into my new role. As a student at the University of Oregon, I had a student job assisting the program manager of an online graduate program and then was the student intern of their Office of Internal Audit, so I’ve had some experience in higher education administration. Thanks to those factors, it’s been a smooth transition into this role.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
So far, I love getting to know everyone here in FES and in the College of Forestry. It was very quiet over the summer, so now that more people are back from fieldwork and vacations, it’s nice to be able to meet more faculty, staff, and students. The subject area is also very interesting to me because of how interdisciplinary the FES department is. I studied accounting in school, so it’s refreshing to be exposed to topics like nature, wildlife, and the way humanity interacts with and impacts the environment.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Every weekend, our family tries to explore a different part of Oregon’s outdoors. Recently, we’ve been to Clear Lake, and it was beautiful. We’ve been to some parts of the coast and the Cascades. I’ve also started taking an adult ballet class, which is really challenging and fun.
Are you watching anything interesting right now?
Since the beginning of September, my husband and I have been watching (foreign)horror films. Halloween is our family’s favorite holiday, so we usually start gearing up for it as early as we can!
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
I think I would probably be a koala because they just go with the flow. They love naps and usually just hang out, but they can be a little feisty, too.
Are you a morning bird or a night owl?
I used to be a night owl, but I’ve turned into a morning person because of my commute to work from Eugene. It was rough getting used to my schedule, but now I’ve found it’s nice to be awake before everyone else is, to have some uninterrupted time to myself.
Do you have a go-to Karaoke song?
‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin with anyone who’ll do the duet with me! My mom’s side of the family is actually very into Karaoke. She and my aunts have been guilty of staying up until 5 a.m. having cocktails and Karaoke battles.
What sport would you play in the Olympics?
Women’s Indoor Volleyball. I played competitively in school and club teams for about 8 years until I had some knee injuries. It’s still my favorite sport to watch because of the athleticism, strategy, and teamwork involved.
I’m an assistant professor here in the college. My job involves teaching courses about integrating tourism, human communities and wildlife conservation goals to promote sustainability in areas with high levels of biodiversity and human-wildlife conflict. I also do research in those areas.
What is your favorite part of your
Both teaching and research. I love
research because I find new perspectives and ways of understanding potential
causes and solutions to human-wildlife conflict. I love teaching because I
enjoy interacting with my students. Being in the classroom is one of my most
rewarding experiences. When I hear students say that an interaction with them
has created a life-changing experience – I know that I am making a difference.
How did you end up in your field?
After growing up in Uganda as a refugee from Rwanda, I went back to my father’s country for university. One day, the bus I was on broke down in a rainforest (Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda). I didn’t even know forests like that existed in Rwanda. I talked to the people who managed the forests, and they offered me a volunteer position teaching English to tourist guides. That opportunity led to over ten years managing a conservation program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, after finishing my degree in business management. I spent years walking the forest, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to solidify my career in conservation. I did a master’s degree in conservation and tourism at the University of Kent in England, a Ph.D. at Clemson University, and the quest for answers to conservation challenges in developing countries took off from there. I’m still searching for answers about how to preserve forests and the wellbeing of human communities in high-level biodiversity areas.
What do you do when you’re not
I come from Africa, and we are
communal, so I like to spend time with my family. By that, I don’t just mean my
wife and children. It’s a huge network of people that fit the definition of
family: first cousins, second cousins, third cousins, people I grew up with. We
take trips to see them and remain close to them. And here, we’ve been able to
create a family network and we maintain that communal lifestyle.
Other than that, we like to spend time in the forests. We went to Yellowstone National Park this summer, and that was an amazing experience for our family.
What is your favorite spot to visit
I love the shores of the Pacific
Ocean. I love that most of the shores are protected, but also accessible to the
public. My other favorite spot is Redwoods in southern Oregon!
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to fix cars, really old cars from the 50s and 60s. I like to pick them up from junkyards and fix them up. My favorite are German cars because of the straightforward engineering, geared toward safety and durability. I haven’t done that much in the past few years, but I hope to again soon.
What have you been watching lately?
I enjoy watching TED talks. I draw inspiration from people who have been successful. Being in a culture different from your own often challenging, but TED talks and motivational speeches reenergize me and remind me that I am here for a reason, and I do have something important to contribute.
If you could only eat one food for
the rest of your life, what would it be?
Banana. I grew up eating it, and I
If you could play any sport in the
Olympics. What would it be?
While earning his master’s degree at Oregon State, Preston Green conducted research on cable-assisted harvesting, a safer way to harvest timber, on the McDonald Forest. The McDonald Forest is owned and operated by the College of Forestry. Just minutes from Corvallis, the forest is often utilized as space for graduate, undergraduate and faculty research. It’s also a living classroom for students conducting labs and a recreation resource for the public.
Preston says, “The College Forests, to me, are a place that epitomizes the potential a forest can have. A forest can provide for so many different uses and when the right management and stakeholders are brought together, everybody can truly win. My research was a great example and why I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work on the College Forest – not only for the generation of wood products that help support the College of Forestry and the local community but also for the forest health and scientific knowledge that has reached audiences worldwide.”
I’m the research computing systems administrator. In that role, I do many things. I’m making sure the virtual machine platform is running. I run our backup system, SQL Servers, and I take care of the few Microsoft websites we still have running.
How did you end up at Oregon State?
I went to school here. I studied computer science and psychology. I went down to the University of Oregon to do a cognitive neuroscience program when my friend Ken West called and asked if I wanted a job in the College of Forestry. I thought, money or more school? Money or more school? I decided to take the job.
What’s your favorite part of your work?
That it’s never the same thing every day. Right now, I’m working with Mariapaola Riggio to help get censors into the new building, and that’s been especially interesting.
What are your interests outside of work?
I like woodworking, scuba diving and martial arts. I was involved with Boy ScoutTroop 1 in Corvallis, and both my boys are Eagles. Now, I’m the Eagle Advancement for Benton district.
How did you learn about woodworking?
My father-in-law taught me the basics when I needed to make a table for the first tiny apartment my wife and I shared. I also took Seri Robinson’s woodturning classes. I recently bought a lathe, and now I’m hooked on turning.
What about scuba diving?
I’m a PADI Open Water Instructor and I took my first scuba class here at Oregon State in 1993. There are a lot of opportunities here, and if you can find a way to take advantage of them, you’ll never be bored.
Tell me about your family.
My wife and I have been married for 26 years. I met her when I was working as a student. I installed her Ethernet card. We have two sons. They are 22 and 18.
What have you been watching on Netflix lately?
Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. We’re really excited for the movie.
What are your favorite foods?
I love Japanese, Thai, Mexican…
Did you make any tragic fashion choices during your youth?
You just started at Oregon State/the TallWood Design Institute. What do you?
I’m the technical manager. Right now, I’m working on getting our space in the A.A. ‘Red’ Emmerson Advanced Wood Product Laboratory set up and functional. Eventually, I’ll manage and run the projects and tests that go on here in our space.
What’s your background? How did you end up at Oregon State?
I grew up in a small village in Germany where I did an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker. During university in Berlin, I did a co-op program at the University of British Columbia and ended up moving there permanently. When the opportunity at TDI came up I didn’t hesitate.
How is it going? Are you getting settled in?
I’m used to big moves. The move from Germany to Canada was a big adjustment that took a long time. From Canada to the U.S., there are definitely still some cultural differences that I’m getting used to.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I’m excited for challenges. I’ve already faced some in terms of getting our lab set up and running. Having that finished is something I’m looking forward to as well as the combination of hands-on work, programming and seeing final products. That’s a huge reward. I could never do a full-time desk job. That would drive me crazy.
What excites you about the work you do with mass timber?
I’m excited for the mass timber revolution that is happening right now. It’s amazing to see more architects embrace it in North America and watch how people build with it. I’m also really interested in lifecycle assessment of mass timber buildings.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I used to travel a lot for work, so when I’m not working, I like to stay closer to home. I like alpine touring in the winter and mountain biking in the summer, let me know if you want to ride bikes. I rode my bicycle from Vancouver to San Francisco on the 101 once. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to have outdoor adventures. I’d like to get involved with the trail building community here in Corvallis, I used to build a lot on the North Shore in Vancouver.
What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled?
New Zealand. I did a two-month bike trip there once, all over the islands.
What are you watching or listening to right now?
Well, I just cancelled my Netflix subscription. But I did watch The Boys on Amazon, and really enjoyed that. I also saw one of my favorite bands, The National, over Labor Day weekend.
Your colleagues have noticed you carry green tea around with you. Is that your favorite drink?
I switch to green tea after my one cup of coffee in the morning. I’m obsessed with coffee gadgets and have five different styles of coffee makers. When I moved here, I brought a five-pound bag of beans with me from my old neighborhood in Vancouver, so I haven’t learned about the good, local coffee here in Oregon yet.
Andreja Kutnar arrived in Oregon on September 1, 2006. The visiting
Ph.D. student from Slovenia had never been to the U.S. before. She was nervous
and excited, and found herself surprised at the cultural differences she
encountered. Her friendly neighbor gifted her a bike to get around town; she
discovered it didn’t matter that her English wasn’t perfect; and, she was able
to build a vast network of friends and colleagues. During her first six-month
visit she worked with Fred Kamke, JELD-WEN Chair of Wood-based Composites Science,
on wood densification and bonding. Kutnar completed all of the experimentation
for her dissertation.
She returned in 2009 for a post-doc before she joined the faculty of the University of Primorska in Slovenia. Soon she had funding for graduate students of her own.
“I wanted to bring an American over because I like the culture and
the mentality. I like the way people communicate and how they appreciate
diversity,” Kutnar says. “I wanted to stay involved with these people and the
research I fell in love with at Oregon State.”
It felt natural for Kutnar to offer her Ph.D. spot to Mike Burnard,
who earned his master’s degree in Wood Science at Oregon State in 2012. Eric
Hansen, head of the Wood Science and Engineering Department, called Burnard a ‘superstar
master’s student’, but there was no funding for his Ph.D. at Oregon State. Just
before he committed to attend the University of British Columbia, Kutnar swooped
in and recruited him.
“I thought I might come to Europe to do a post-doc or sometime else
later in my career,” Burnard says, “But it worked out that I could actually
complete my Ph.D. at the University of Primorska. This will be a more permanent
solution so that’s great.”
Burnard, Hansen and Kutnar worked together toward a big success in 2017
when the European Union and the government of Slovenia awarded Kutnar 45
million euros to create the ‘InnoRenew CoE: Renewable Materials and Healthy
Environments Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence’ research institute.
“The EU does this in a variety of areas,” Hansen explains, “But
this was the first focused on wood products, and it’s interesting because
there’s not much primary processing of wood products in Slovenia. Much of the
processing is in neighboring Austria.”
Scott Leavengood, professor and director of the Oregon Wood Innovation
“You would expect something like this to exist in Scandinavia or somewhere
else in Alpine Europe, but instead there will soon be 60-70 scientists researching
wood in various aspects on the coast of Slovenia near the border of Croatia. It’s
awe-inspiring,” he says.
Kutnar continues to recruit American students from Oregon State as
well as experts from throughout Europe, Brazil, India and Iran as InnoRenew CoE
researches renewable materials and sustainable buildings.
Other OSU-transplants to Slovenia include Matthew Schwarzkopf and
David DeVellance, who earned their Ph.D. degrees at the College of Forestry, as
well as former faculty member Amy Simmons.
Kutnar says InnoRenew’s goals include building a new facility and
expanding throughout the continent and the world. For now, collaboration with Oregon
State continues. Hansen and Leavengood participate in collaborative research
projects with Kutnar and her team in Slovenia. Mariapaola Riggio, assistant
professor of wood design and architecture, serves on InnoRenew’s Council of
Experts and advises on the development of strategies and scientific challenges within
“It’s an honor to serve on the Council of Experts,” Riggio says. “My
role is to consult on the scientific program of the institute with the
executive board and director, advise them on important areas of research and
groups for projects and to suggest individual projects to be implemented by the
institute and director.”
Riggio also collaborates with InnoRenew’s researchers on several projects,
including investigating the perception and performance of biomaterials in architecture,
researching nondestructive assessment of cross-laminated timber structures and implementing
a monitoring project of InnoRenew’s new facility.
Additionally, almost a dozen Oregon State faculty, staff and
graduate students have traveled to Slovenia, and Kutnar co-leads a short-term study
abroad experience for students from Oregon State and European universities.
There, students learn about InnoRenew up close.
“It’s fun to have the students from Oregon State come in the summer,” Burnard says. “I was able to study abroad in Scandinavia during my time at Oregon State, and it was such a great experience. It’s amazing to see students come here and be awed by the beauty of Slovenia and the differences in the wood products industry. For many of them, it’s a place they had never heard of before they signed up for the program. It opens their eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.”