• How long have you been at Oregon State?

Since the end of January 2018, shortly after I moved to Oregon. I’m originally from Connecticut and had spent my entire life in New England before coming to the PNW – I moved here to join my partner (now husband) in Corvallis where he was already working as a consulting forester. This position in the College of Forestry opened up right as I was looking for the next step in my career!

  • What do you love about your job?

I’m excited that with this job I get to bring together pieces from a lot different experiences I’ve had in the past. In my first job out of undergrad I was an outdoor educator at a nonprofit environmental center, and most recently I was forest manager for the Yale School Forests. Here at OSU I’m able to draw on that program development, communications, and forestry/land management experience in an entirely new way. I get to meet new people, work on many different types of projects, and engage with the PNW forestry and natural resources community – basically I’m constantly learning and trying to think creatively about how to provide resources to people.

  • What do you do when you’re not working?

My husband and I bought a house in the past year so we’ve been doing a lot of projects to make it our own. We have two dogs, and we like to get them out for adventures as often as possible. I’m looking forward to more hiking, rock climbing, and time at the beach. We also like to cook and have a pretty big cookbook collection – right now we have a goal of making at least one new recipe each week.

  • What’s your favorite thing to cook?

This summer it was grilled salmon! Simple but classic.


  • Read any good books lately?

I’m currently reading East of Eden for the second time – I really like coming back to certain books every once in a while. This is the one that made me a Steinbeck fan.


  • What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would do two things. I’d buy some forestland to manage, and probably build a small house on the property. I’d also do some traveling. There are so many places I would like to see in the world.


  • What’s the destination on the top of your list?

I have a dream trip of going to Portugal, Spain and Morocco. I’ve also never been to Central or South America.


  • What’s your favorite trip so far?

In 2016, I went to Germany and France to do some forestry tours for work and then added a vacation on to the end of the trip. That was a dream come true. My (now) husband met me in Paris, and we got to stay with friends and then travel around Provence and the French Alps. It was an incredible mix of getting to try lots of food, experiencing art that I’d only seen in books, and exploring little towns. We also recently did our honeymoon trip in the Canadian Rockies – the mountains were stunning.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Since 2008, which is when I started my undergraduate degree here in exercise and sports science. At the time, Oregon State had the best (and most affordable) pre-med program in the state. I think it was my sophomore year when I decided to switch to pre-physical therapy.  Later during my undergrad is when I got a student worker job in the FERM department, and fortunately for me, it turned into something full time after I graduated.


  • So how did you end up in your current role instead of becoming a physical therapist?

I had an opportunity to continue in the department after I graduated, while I applied for graduate school. About two years ago, I was admitted to a doctorate program in physical therapy in Southern California, but the cost was outrageous.  With little to no funding offered through the program, the loan expense to have that career would’ve taken me 25+ years to pay off, so I knew it would be a choice that I’d be stuck with for years, and I wasn’t sure I loved it that much!


  • What is your favorite part about your job?

It sounds kind of sad, but I promise that it’s not: I love being able to help students actually achieve their goals in ways that I didn’t.  Let me phrase that better by saying I’m still helping people meet objectives, just in academia instead of mobility. It’s a different kind of fulfillment.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I’m married to my husband, John, and we have a corgi named Remington. We enjoy camping and riding ATVs on the coast, getting dirty in the sand and mountains. During the summers, we float the river and go boating and tubing near Prineville with family. We’re pretty outdoorsy and make a habit of visiting at least one new thing in Oregon every year.

  • What are your hobbies?

Baking is my main hobby. I’ve made a number of wedding cakes and other goodies for friends, family and even people here in the college. My grandmother was a professional baker. She taught my dad and my dad passed those skills on to me. From that lineage, we have a lot of great family recipes for a variety of sugary treats. Decorating cookies is probably my favorite; it’s the least stressful and allows me to be creative. I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and baking allows me to do that with food.  Other than that, I enjoy reading, crafting, and watching too much TV.

  • What are you watching right now?

I just finished the latest season of Big Brother. It’s my one guilty-pleasure reality show that my husband can’t stand. I’m a forever Grey’s Anatomy fan, but my husband and I like to watch comedies and crime dramas together.  Right now, we love The Good Place and Elementary.

  • If you were famous, what would you be famous for?

Probably baking. My best friend and I co-own our business, which is not a real business, at least not yet.  She and I have talked about starting a blog of all our successes (and failures), and dream about having our own show on the Food Network someday.


  • Which game show would you be super awesome at?

Wheel of Fortune, hands down. I’m good with puzzles and watched it a lot growing up. We lived in the mountains, with terrible dial-up internet and very few TV channels, so my parents exposed us to a lot of games – both board games and game shows – because there wasn’t much else to do!

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

I came in 2006, so that’s getting close to 12 years ago. I packed a U-haul and moved from Washington, where I was working at Eastern Washington University. I also worked at The Heart Institute in Spokane. Before that, I was in New Mexico, which is where I grew up.

Chris loves photography. He says for awhile he had a “thing for puddles.”
  • Were you always interested in technology?

When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist and generally moved into art and technology just kind of found its way into my life. I still paint and make art in Photoshop and do other artsy stuff.

  • What is your favorite part about your job?

The people and the variety.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I’m a homebody. I love being at home because I can paint and hang out and make food.

Chris’s cat
  • What are your hobbies?

Art, guitar, reading, hanging out with my cat and just hanging out in general.

  • You’re really into music. So what was the first concert you ever went to?

The first band I ever saw was called Level 42, and it wasn’t until I was 19 or 20. I grew up in rural New Mexico, so to see a concert, it was a four-hour drive.

  • What was the last concert you’ve been to?

I saw Foo Fighters a little while ago, that was cool!


  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

I’m starting my third year here this fall.


  • Where did you come from?

I came from Utah State University, where I did my graduate work and a post doc. I’m originally from Pennsylvania. Before I went to graduate school, I worked as a high school science teacher in Wisconsin. I liked teaching, but high school teaching was exhausting, so after two years I went back to grad school so I could teach at the university level.

Ashley in the field
  • Did you always want to work in and study recreation?

I always wanted to be a scientist. When I was little I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I could never equalize during SCUBA training. I always wanted to do some sort of conservation-oriented science.


  • What is your favorite part about your job?

I like the balance of interacting with and teaching undergraduates and working with graduate students and conducting research. I also get to travel to many of the parks I study to set up projects and present to managers. I feel really lucky to travel to places for work that most people go for vacation.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I’m a huge knitter. Anytime I’m sitting down, I’m knitting. I also do a lot of yoga and hiking and a little bit of trail running.


  • Those are all very meditative hobbies. How did you get into them?

I’ve done yoga since I was 18. It’s really the only form of exercise I’ve been consistent with, and I got into knitting during grad school when I was looking for a new hobby and hoping to meet new people. I started a knitting group at Utah State. Now I knit with people in the college occasionally.

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever knitted?

My knitting group made a National Park centennial blanket. We released the patterns for sale and donated the money we made back to the parks.


  • Anything interesting you’ve read, watched or listened to lately?

I’ve been watching ‘Atypical’ on Netflix. My younger sister works with students with autism, and the show is about a family affected by autism, so it’s really interesting. I also just read a book called ‘Educated: A memoir,’ and I recommend that to everyone.


  • If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

Maybe broccoli because it looks like a tree. It’s also my favorite vegetable.

Ashley’s LEGOs
  • You have a lot of LEGOs in your office. What’s the story with that?

I’ve always loved playing with LEGOs, and they’re making really fun sets now, so I have a set of women scientists and a National Parks set. Science can be a bit too serious sometimes, so I think they add some whimsy into my office and makes my students feel more comfortable.

Brooke Harrington – Program Assistant – Office of Student Resources & Engagement

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Four years. I came from a lot of different places. I worked at Eastern Oregon University in Salem, and before that, I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years. I’ve moved and lived in a lot of different places, but I grew up in Dallas, and three of my uncles attended Oregon State, so I was happy to end up here. One of my uncles even has a bridge and plaque inside Reser Stadium because of a donation he made.

Brooke’s uncle’s bridge at Reser Stadium
  • What is your favorite part about your job?

I love interacting with our students. We see all kinds of undergraduate and graduate students come through and we get to help them in a variety of ways: finding a job or internship,  scholarships, or matching them up in the Mentored Employment Program. In everything we do, we’re seeking to better connect them to the college or potential future employers to help enhance their experience. I love the feeling of contributing to students’ education in some way, as well as to the overall mission of the college.

Brooke’s daughters
  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I have a crazy, blended family with a total of six kids. We have a full house. It’s crazy with lots of people, with lots of personality, going in lots of different directions. We also have a dog and two cats. When I’m not working, I try to get outside a little bit. We took up kayaking this summer. I also like to garden, read, listen to music and take my dog on walks.

  • Did you have a good summer?

I had a pretty calm summer. I did a lot of small staycations at home with the kids. We didn’t really travel too far out of the area, but that’s OK because I love it here in Oregon.

  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An ice skater or a fighter pilot.

  • If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with all the extra time?

I would fit in more walks or workouts.

  • What’s your favorite thing to watch on TV?

Sports. We are big fans of the Beavers and the Trail Bazers.

  • Would you rather have unlimited sushi for life or unlimited tacos for life?

Tacos every day! Or some type of Mexican food. That’s my absolute favorite.

decorated cakes

Michelle Maller – Education/Internship Coordinator – WSE

  • When you were young, what job did you think you would have?

I wanted to be a veterinarian really badly, and then I wanted to work for the FBI or CIA.

  • What is your job now?

Half of my job is working with students, getting them internships or job opportunities and “momming” them, basically. The other half is split between working with industry and recruitment with high school and community college specific to our renewable materials programs.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Fourteen years. I started working here as an undergraduate. I was a butcher at Clark Meat Center, and I just kept on going. This is my sixth position at OSU. I’ve been at the College of Forestry Since 2013.

  • What’s your favorite part about your job?

It’s different every day, and I get to be with people all the time.

  • What did you do this summer?

I traveled a little bit for work stuff this summer. I hung out with my kids a lot. I also got a bunch of tattoos. I have 12 tattoos. A few of them are of birds because I’m a bird nerd.

Otter the dog
Otter the dog
  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I have been married for seven years. We just celebrated our anniversary, and he’s great. He brews beer at Sky High. I have two delightful children. My daughter Arlie is four and a half, and my son Tate is three. We have a really dumb basset hound named Otter who has no purpose in life. I’ve pretty much always lived in Corvallis, and I’m a fourth-generation Oregon State Beaver.

  • Your husband brews beer, so what is your favorite beer?

I am lucky because he brews things for me and brings them home. I like sours, Berliner Weisse and Flemish red ales.

  • If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would bake all the time. I love to bake. I make a lot of birthday cakes for other people, weird cookies and bread.

  • What in pop culture do you love right now?

I love the Great British Baking Show, and I’m a closeted Big Brother fan. I’ve watched every single season. I think it’s really interesting – a really interesting portrait of human dynamics.

Emily watching the sunset

Emily Burkhart, a natural resources student, loves being part of the Oregon State community. As a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, the Natural Resources Club, an intern at Avery Nature House and student arboretum specialist technician at Peavy Arboretum, she’s always reaching out and getting involved.

During the summer of 2017, Burkhart worked in Starkey Experimental Forest. Research in the riparian forest focuses on small mammals, cow and deer in relation to one another and the ecosystems they inhabit.

“When people think of ecosystem management and habitat relations, a lot of people think of large mammals and carnivores, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it starts at a smaller level,” Burkhart says.

Burkhart spent two weeks checking about 200 traps every day to collect data on animals to learn about population dynamics in areas near water.

Species analyzed ranged from flying squirrels to jumping mice. The small mammals in these locations eat butterflies and their larvae as a food source, so researchers wanted to know population numbers and the roles they play in the conservation of species.

“Overall I processed and collected data on around 1,054 animals,” Burkhart says. “Once an animal was in a trap, we would tag its ears and collect data on its sex, age, weight, previous captures and reproductive state.”

Burkhart says she learned a lot from the experience and had a great time.

“At Starkey, I got to meet 25-year-old elk, explore Eastern Oregon and understand the importance of small species,” Burkhart says. “My amazing team made it a really great experience.”

Burkhart says she is grateful for her College of Forestry experience and how it opened her eyes to the world around her.

During the summer of 2018, Burkhart took part in a faculty-led study abroad experience to Malaysian Borneo. Back home in Corvallis, she enjoys spending time in the forest.

“We are so lucky to have the College Research Forests only 12 minutes away from campus.

By working at the arboretum, I really learned how these managed forests operate, and how much it gives back to us in research, recreation and pure happiness,” Burkhart says. “People really need to go check out the arboretum at least once in their life because one visit can leave such a positive, everlasting impact.”

Cody Knight and crew

Renewable materials student Cody Knight is a recipient of three scholarships: the Lois & Dick Kearns Scholarship, John R. Snellstrom Scholarship and the Friends of Renewable Materials–Roseburg Forest Products Wood Science and Engineering Scholarship. Before coming to Oregon State, Knight served in the military.

The financial support he receives and his experience in the military inspired him to serve others through his work in the renewable materials program.

“My military experience left me asking a lot of questions about humanity, sustainability the western world and material possessions,” Knight says. “I want to create products from renewable materials that aid in sustainability.”

Knight, who grew up in northern Idaho, remembers spending summers at the lake, sleeping in log cabins.

“There, it was easy to appreciate the beauty of nature,” he says. “I want to preserve that beauty and those kinds of experiences for future generations.”

He’s working to reach his goals through hands-on learning activities outside the classroom. Knight has participated in undergraduate research with Arijit Sinha, associate professor of renewable materials at Oregon State. Knight is helping conduct testing on Freres Lumber’s new mass plywood panel product.

“I was also selected for the Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates (REEU) program,” Knight says. “This is a three-month long mentored research program with students at Oregon State and from colleges across the United States.”

Knight says his research will evaluate the shear strength of plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) after it has experienced varying degrees of temperatures and cooling times to get a clear picture of the mechanical strength of both products in the event of fire and seismic activity.

“The importance of this is plywood and OSB are typically used in residential housing for the exterior sheathing, which provides lateral support and stability for the structure,” Knight says. “Little research has been done to test their behaviors under these conditions, and I’m excited to find some answers.”


To solve a large problem you often have to come at it from a different angle. It is an approach Ian Munanura, assistant professor of nature-based tourism and human well-being at Oregon State, took after starting his research in human wellness and forest landscapes.

“In my research, I explore aspects of human well-being constraints and how they influence the health of forest landscapes” Munanura says.

“I also ask questions about how forest landscapes benefit humans. For example, how can tourism on forest landscapes improve human wellness, strengthen the resilience of forest communities and reduce negative human impact on forest landscapes?”

To answer this question, Munanura conducts a series of surveys and interviews of forest adjacent communities in Oregon, Rwanda, Uganda and Indonesia. He also hopes to expand his research program to Tanzania and Malaysia. To broaden the experiential learning opportunities for College of Forestry students, Munanura will use his international research network to deliver summer study abroad classes in countries where he has active research programs.

During his research interviews, Munanura asks questions such as: What is the nature of adversity stressing the livelihoods of families in forest communities?

How do families in forest communities function during adversity? What are the strengths (or vulnerabilities) of families in forest communities that could enable (or challenge) them to cope with adversity and maintain wellbeing?

How do the vulnerabilities of forest communities negatively affect forest landscapes?; and many others. Munanura thinks the answers to these questions will contribute to the understanding of important factors responsible for human-wildlife coexistence.

“Once we unpack the complexity of human health constraints and identify the aspects of those constraints that threaten our forest landscapes the most, we can adapt nature-based tourism programs to benefit communities, people and our forests,” Munanura says.

The inspiration for looking beyond the material aspects of human well-being came from Munanura’s own life experiences and growing up with limited access to material resources. Munanura says his family’s wellbeing recovered from destitution when his mother became spiritually active.

“Her mindset and emotions changed, and it enabled us to function better as a family despite limited access to material resources,” Munanura says. “In my work over the past 15 years, I have paid more attention to material wealth as a solution to improve the wellness of humans and forest landscapes. I strongly believed that degradation of forest landscapes was caused by lack of jobs and financial resources.”

However, Munanura says that attempts to address forest degradation by providing jobs and financial resources have shown little success. His research in Rwanda confirmed forest degradation is largely influenced by the most economically empowered residents in nearby communities.

“That challenged me to look at my own personal experiences. I realized there is more to improving human and forest wellbeing than money,” Munanura says. “Perhaps, there are non-fi nancial aspects of human well-being that have the potential to strengthen forest communities and forest landscapes.”

Munanura says his research is inspiring his students and helping them understand the limitations of the poverty driven narrative of forest landscape degradation.

“I encourage my students to think broadly and consider how human adversity, emotional, social and material resource constraints could impact the health of forest landscapes,” Munanura says. “Forest managers and other natural resources professionals are better served with a nuanced understanding of human constraints, how they impact the health of forest landscapes, and the potential solutions from nature-based tourism that can improve overall human and landscape well-being.”