In March 2018, Oregon State hosted the inaugural Fire Summit in Portland. This event aimed to identify viable forest management practices that could help mitigate the risks and impacts of high-severity fire events in the West.

About 30 scientists, land managers and forest policy experts were in attendance. They came from five states and British Columbia, and represented six universities, seven federal land management agency offices, departments or research units, four private forestland management entities, and two cities.

The summit closed with a call to action from Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

“It has been a great opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges our region has faced and the challenges to come, to share best practices, exchange data and research and discuss insights we learn from fighting wildfires,”

Brown said. She went on to discuss the prevalence of wildfire in the West and the risk to communities, economies and livelihoods. Brown said that collaborations – like the Fire Summit – will be key in preventing devastating wildfires.

“By taking an ‘all-lands, all-hands’ approach and committing to work together across jurisdictional boundaries, we can sustain robust rural economies and preserve our natural resources for future generations,” Brown said.

Anthony S. Davis, interim dean of the College of Forestry agrees, “The Western USA is home to the world’s leading scientists who focus on fire on our landscapes. The Fire Summit was a unique opportunity for those scientists to interact with the policymakers who are asking for guidance in addressing this phenomenal challenge.”

The collective remarks of the panelists and speakers offered a big-picture perspective of the intertwined views of fire in the West, from the variety of jurisdictions, landscapes and vegetation types, and cultural experiences and expectations.

The experts compiled their feedback and made specific recommendations:

• Expand strategic use of commercial thinning, prescribed fires, and managed wildfire as forest management tools.

• Improve coordination across jurisdictions and ownership boundaries.

• Develop and implement cross-boundary ‘pre-fire response’ plans and strategies.

• Address inequities associated with liability for cross-boundary fires.

• Invest in data mapping, risk assessment, and applied research that directly supports cross-boundary management and suppression.

Oregon State officials recognize discussions like this are critical for encouraging stakeholder engagement when it comes to wildfire issues.

Work is also underway to identify opportunities to directly and regularly inform federal elected officials and staff in Washington, D.C., about summit outcomes and subsequent efforts. Direct dialogue and discussion of the opportunities for real progress is an important goal of Summit participants seeking to inform policies designed to help mitigate the risks and impacts of high-severity fire events in the West.

“The scale of our fire problem is likely measured in decades and centuries, not a handful of years, and across millions of acres, not localized forests and landscapes,” says Davis. “To address this serious challenge, we have to step out of our own way and not go back to the false promise of landscape stability maintained through unsustainable practices. The Fire Summit served to bring the widest range of partners to the table for a first conversation in this direction.”

Blank walls in the Richardson Hall knuckle inspired the first College of Forestry art contest in 2017. Temporary walls replaced the connection point to old Peavy Hall, as construction began on the new Oregon Forest Science Complex.

The college’s faculty and staff found themselves scattered throughout other campus buildings including Richardson, Snell and Strand Hall and needed a reason to come together.

The first art contest and show with the theme, ‘The Other Side,’ was held February 17, 2017, and diversity was key to organizers and participants.

All faculty, staff and students were invited to participate, and art mediums chosen were as diverse as the people creating them. The contest saw paintings, sculptures, wood working, photography and more. The pieces were judged by representatives throughout the college and campus.

With the College of Forestry’s commitment to equity, inclusivity and diversity, 2017 also saw the formation of the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. The college and committee are devoted to addressing DEI issues in the realm of forestry and natural resource management – through education, research and public engagement. The committee will draw fully and inclusively on the power and force of human imagination, experience and creativity to meet the needs of today’s world.

With this in mind, the art show continued in 2018 with the theme of ‘Innovation.’

Assistant Professor Seri Robinson requires students in the art and design option within the renewable materials program to participate in the art show each year.

“It gives the students a chance at expression using media they are familiar with,” Robinson says. “Because they all have a deep science background in wood and forests, they can apply deeper meaning to art created with the art show’s theme in mind.”

Robinson thinks the art shows have been a great success. “We’ve had some really great work submitted,” Robinson says. “And it’s been a great opportunity for students to talk about their feelings about the college climate, especially in terms of diversity, in a more public forum.”

How long have you been at Oregon State?

I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve worked in the College of Forestry and the College of Agricultural Sciences. I moved back to the College of Forestry for good in 2006, and I’m currently the administrative manager for the department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The people. That’s why I came back to the college. Everyone is very friendly and fun to laugh with. We had so much fun at the college’s holiday party this year.


What do you do outside work?

I like to go camping all year long, ride four wheelers and travel.

Where are some of your favorite spots?

My latest trips were to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and also to Arizona. I like to see new things.


Are you a native Oregonian?

Yes. I’ve lived here my whole life and graduated from Philomath High School. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. My kids are here and my new granddaughter.

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food!


How do you unwind after work?

I play a lot of mindless Facebook games.


If you could eliminate one thing from your daily routine, what would it be and why?

Probably vacuuming my long-haired cat’s hair.


What is your favorite part of the holidays? 

Probably just spending time with my kids and laughing together.


You have a lot of bears in your office. What’s that about? 

I collect bears! I like them because they seem so soft and cuddly, not that I’d like to run into one in the wild!

How long have you been at Oregon State? How did you end up here? What’s your career been like?

Two and half years. I moved to Oregon with my husband in August 2016 because of his job at OSU.

I was a stay-home mom for the first one and half years, and started my job at OSU College of Forestry in January 2018.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the people I work with. They are kind, warm and supportive.

What does your life look like outside work? Tell me about your family and your hobbies.

I have two kids. My daughter just turned six, and my son is four years old. My husband is an anthropologist.

I like piano, harp and classical Chinese music (Zheng, or Zither), and I also like gardening, trying different food, watching films, reading books and travelling.


Have you read, watched or come across anything in pop culture, or just in life lately that you’d like to share with the CoF community?

I’m afraid I am a bit old-fashioned and don’t know much about pop culture…..I’d like to share some of my favorites: all Miyazaki’s cartoon films, Into the West (2005) by Steven Spielberg, Amélie (2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year earlier this year? What does that mean to you? Tell me about your heritage.

It’s a festival of family reunion. In my family, we make dumplings after dinner at New Year’s Eve and eat dumplings as the first breakfast in the New Year.

On the first day of New Year, young members of the family receive red envelops from seniors as a symbol of good luck.

When I was little, my grandparents and parents always put the red envelops under my pillows to ward off evil spirits and protect me from sickness.

Now it’s my turn to put red envelops under my kid’s pillows. I guess that’s part of my “heritage.”

On Thursday, March 15, we recognized our 2018 Dean’s Award recipients and retirees with an awards ceremony and celebration.

Dana Warren and Temesgen Hailermariam were recognized for outstanding achievement in Mentorship of Graduate Students. Students who nominated Dana said he is an exceptional mentor, role model, and friend, and does everything he can to make sure they succeed. Students noted, “Temesgen takes care to consider students’ career interests and life goals, while at the same time challenging them to strive further than their own expectations”.

Raquel Albee was awarded for outstanding achievement in Graduate Student Leadership. Student nominators say, “She is extremely talented as an instructor and is able to convey information to students in an informational and relatable way. She is patient and kind.”

Devon Costa and Brent McGrath were recognized for outstanding achievement in Contributions as a Student Worker. Nominators for Devon said, “Devon had a great deal of enthusiasm regardless of the task that she was working on, and worked extremely hard to keep our facilities in Richardson Hall in good shape”. Brent’s nominators said, “Brent’s hard work has more than likely affected everyone in the College that has ever needed wood processed, digital design work, as well as CNC routing, laser engraving, and 3D printing completed for research purposes”.

Michelle Maller was awarded for outstanding achievement in Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. She is known as our Undergraduate Wizard! Her nominators say, “She makes sure Renewable Materials students are well cared for and have myriad opportunities for professional development, and ultimately, success”.

Ryan Brown is the inaugural recipient of the Pauline Barto Award for Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This award is named in honor of Pauline Barto, the first woman to join and graduate from the College of Forestry in 1939. Ryan is the Recreation and Engagement Program Manager of the College Research Forests. Nominators noted, “One of the many ways she has contributed to the College DEI plan is to ensure local Native American history is told with their input and that our communications are appropriate and accurate”.

Lauren Rennan was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College. Lauren’s nominator said, “Lauren is a joy to work with, an asset to our college, and absolutely worthy of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College”. Just wait until you see her Renewable Materials semi-truck wrap on the I-5 corridor!

Retirees Jerry Mohr, Ken West and Penny Wright were recognized for their service to the college. Jerry joined the Forestry Computing Resources group in 2000 as the research computing application coordinator and quickly become the point person for the instructional labs. Ken joined the College in 1995 in the Forest Science Department, first with Darrell Ross, and then as a member of the Quantitative Sciences Group with Susan Stafford, doing any and all manner of computer support and administration. Many of you may not realize Penny White’s retired because we’ve been lucky enough to continue to keep her busy for a while longer! Most recently she was in the Business Office as the Finance and Accounting Manager continuing her long service to the College.

Iain Macdonald has been selected as director of the TallWood Design Institute (TDI), a unique research collaboration between the Oregon State University College of Forestry, College of Engineering, and the University of Oregon School of Design. It is the nation’s only research collaborative that focuses exclusively on the advancement of structural wood products, and serves as a national research, education, and outreach hub focusing on multi-family and non-residential wood buildings.

Macdonald has served as Associate Director of TDI since November 2016. Previously, he led the Centre for Advanced Wood Products at the University of British Columbia for nine years.

Since his arrival, TDI has collaborated with a wide range of community and industry partners to help develop new and innovative products, provide testing services for manufacturers, engineers and designers, conduct educational seminars, round table events and networking meetings for industry, and carry out applied research projects. In January, TDI hosted the Oregon Mass Timber Development Summit in partnership with Business Oregon, attracting over 180 elected officials, economic development personnel, investors and industry representatives to Salem to discuss how to grow Oregon’s mass timber supply chain.

The institute’s applied research program, drawing from the deep expertise within OSU’s Wood Science and Engineering and Civil and Construction Engineering departments and University of Oregon’s Architecture department, is eliminating barriers to widespread adoption of mass timber technology. Data from product testing and development enables building code officials to evaluate and propose changes that make it easier to permit mass timber buildings in the United States. Last year, Oregon was the first state in the nation to adopt new code provisions that bring buildings up to 18 stories within code.

In May 2019, TDI will move into the Oregon State University College of Forestry’s new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility that includes sophisticated manufacturing equipment, a robotic machining cell, and one of the largest structural testing areas in the US. Simultaneously in Eugene, University of Oregon is preparing to build a Timber Acoustic Testing Facility to fill yet another major research and development need.

As director of TDI, Macdonald will lead a growing interdisciplinary team that will continue to support and grow the research and testing program, offer innovative educational programs, and work closely with industry to identify and address opportunities and barriers.

“I’m excited to lead the TallWood Design Institute and partner with two outstanding universities,” Macdonald says. “Our affiliated faculty members are conducting collaborative, world-class research that will advance new solutions for designers, manufacturers and engineers, and enable us to build taller, larger and smarter with wood.”

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Seven wonderful years. I started in FERM as a student worker. I did a short stint in FES as graduate coordinator before moving to the dean’s office five years ago. I just stepped into a new position. I’m now the event, outreach and administrative manager. I plan all the events for the College of Forestry and I will be taking on more of an administrative role in my new position.

  • I hear you took an interesting path to your current career. Tell us about that.

I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years and was living in Florida when I went through a divorce. I moved to Oregon with my three daughters. We lived with my mom, and her neighbor helped me get a job as a student worker at the College of Forestry, and that turned into a full-time position. I also went to school full time and got my bachelor’s degree in business in four and a half years. I graduated in 2016.

  • That’s amazing. What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love working with students when I can. Whether it be having the ambassadors help me at an event or hosting them in my home for Thanksgiving, I just like spending time with them and getting to know them and about their experiences.


  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a husband who is going to nursing school at OHSU. I have three daughters ages 18, 15 and almost 13. All three of them are cheerleaders, God help me.

I own my own wedding and event planning company: Bella Fontaine Events, so I do wedding and corporate events on the side. Last year I did about 20 events.

When I’m not working, I like crafts, reading , hanging out with my husband and family and decorating my new house.

  • Seen any good movies lately?

Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was a feel good movie that kind of poked fun at all the things on the internet that we’re obsessed with like eBay. It was just cute.


  • What else are you into?

My favorite food is chips and salsa. My favorite music is anything from the 80s. My favorite color is pink.


  • Why pink?

I’m not a very warm, fuzzy person, but pink is just such a happy color. I have a black heart, but I just love pink.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

I came back here in 2006, so it’s coming up on 13 years. I first came to Corvallis to work for the EPA in the mid-‘80s and worked some with the College of Forestry then. After about six years, I decided to get my Ph.D. and the program at Oregon State was an obvious choice.  I started to look for funding and ultimately found John Tappeiner and the project that would become my Ph.D. But my first faculty position was at Northern Arizona University.

  • What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love my job. I love the people: the faculty, staff and students. I love working on such an important topic that has breaking ideas and applications all the time. I love teaching and seeing graduate students develop and get established. I’ll keep going as long as I can.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a 25-year old son in an Air Force technical school in California and a 22-year-old daughter in her fifth year of the architecture program at the University of Oregon. Their mom passed away about the same time I moved to Corvallis 13 years ago. I remarried last year, though, and Bobbi and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary, and we have a seven-year-old son who keeps us busy.

I work a lot, but I still think work-life balance is important. I’m able to do things at my son’s school and get down to Eugene to see my daughter, and I enjoy a lot of gardening and home improvement projects.

  • What are your hobbies?

I’m pretty handy, so I do a lot of household projects. I also love to cook.


  • What’s your favorite food?

In the summer time, there’s nothing better than a hamburger off the grill with homemade tomato and onion from the garden. In the winter time, a pot of chili. I’ve won a few chili cookoffs.


  • Wow, can we have the recipe?

Nope. It’s heavy on meat and beans and a couple of Virginia secrets I got from my momma.


  • You grew up in Virginia? What was that like?

My father was a general contractor, so I grew up working on houses. He always told a story about one time when I was working on a hot summer day on a roof, and I threw my hammer down. I knew then that I wanted to go to college and have a different kind of life outside of Virginia. I have about 40 cousins in my big, country family, and I’m one of the few who ever left central Virginia.


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

Maybe a carrot? They’re tall and thin like me.


  • You don’t watch much TV, so what do you do for entertainment?

In the summer, I get season tickets to the Corvallis Knights. There’s no better way to spend a Corvallis evening than with your kid and a bunch of other kids at a baseball game. My son loves it too.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

A long time. I came as a student in 1992. I went to work in the Klamath extension office when I finished my master’s degree in 1994. I moved to Corvallis in 2005.

  • How did you end up in the wood science industry?

I wanted to be a veterinarian as a kid growing up in the Chicago area, but I fell in love with forestry and wood science during a community college class and went to Colorado State University to study forestry. There, I worked for the Colorado State Forest Service for two summers, and my favorite part of that experience was dropping in on the sawmills for fun. I didn’t know wood science was a thing I could study until someone told me, and it’s been my passion ever since.

  • What is your favorite part about your job?

I love the variety. Each day is different. I teach students, teach workshops, do product development testing, visit mills, go to conferences, travel. No two days are alike. Except for Wood Magic, which just happened in early October.

  • Why is Wood Magic different from your typical day to day? Why is it important?

I man the “daily wood” station. I’ve been involved in almost every Wood Magic since it started in 1999. It’s an important outreach opportunity as we continue to talk about the importance of forestry and wood products. At the station I do, I focus on all the products we get from trees. We’re talking to kids, of course, but often the teachers and parent chaperones are just as engaged as the kids because this is all new to them too. I said that ‘the days are alike’ there because at my station, I do a 10-minute demonstration, and then repeat it for a dozen or so classes, several days in a row.  I’ve been known to repeat myself a time or two as a result…

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I’m married to Vikki, and we have two girls. Abby, 21, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying psychology. Katherine, 19, is at the Lane Fire Authority Fire Academy studying to be a firefighter. We’re very involved in our church, Calvin Presbyterian, and since we’re empty nesters now, I recently took up playing guitar. I haven’t had a hobby in years, and I’m really enjoying learning to play, even though I’m not sure I’ll ever play outside my house (I keep the windows closed now so I don’t annoy the neighbors).

  • What was the last exciting thing you did?

I went skydiving with my younger daughter for my birthday in early September. She’s an adrenaline junkie, and I’d always wanted to go too.

This summer, I also got to travel to Slovenia to visit a former graduate student of mine. We did a research project in Slovenia and the Netherlands. I barely survived the 100-degree weather there.

  • You’ve lived and traveled all over Oregon. What’s your favorite spot?

I’ve been to Crater Lake National Park probably 15 times, since we used to live nearby in Klamath Falls, but the coast is my favorite. I love the mountains as well, and I’m happy I don’t have to choose between them.

  • Anything good on TV lately?

Ever since I took a sabbatical to New Zealand during the summer of 2016, my wife and I enjoy watching TV set in that area. Right now we’re watching ‘800 words.’ It’s pretty good. We also spend Sunday afternoons watching NFL football, especially the Chicago Bears.

  • Would you rather have unlimited tacos or unlimited sushi?

Tacos, but my favorite food is shrimp. It doesn’t get better than shrimp alfredo.

  • What was your first car?

A ’75 Buick Skylark. It was a rust bucket that needed a muffler. Now, I have an ’87 Suburban that just keeps running. I use this example in my class when I talk about the quality of the products we buy now.

  • What’s the craziest fashion trend you’ve ever rocked?

When I was in high school, break dancing was all the rage, and I did wear parachute pants back then. My family still gives me a hard time about it.

  • You just started here in August! How did you end up here at Oregon State?

I did my undergrad here and played soccer for the Beavs. I originally studied elementary education, but I’m an introvert and decided that standing up in front of a group every single day was too exhausting. At the same time, I was doing some tutoring for the subjects I was studying and enjoyed working with adults, so that’s how I found my way to being an advisor. I became a liberal arts major and I got my master’s in college student services administration. After I graduated, I advised student-athletes at Oregon State and the University of Colorado. Then I wanted to be closer to my family, so I took a position at UC Santa Cruz helping students find the right major for them. During that time, I started a family, and we wanted to be somewhere more family friendly. Since I loved living in Corvallis so much as a student, I decided to take this position and move back up here.

  • What’s your favorite part about your job?

I think it’s really fun, complex work, so advising the natural resrources and TRAL majors, I’m learning a ton about things I never knew before, so, it’s really fun.  Mostly, it’s the students that make this job so enjoyable. This is the first time I’ve advised Ecampus students, and I love getting to know them. Everyone is so friendly, and I love the atmosphere here with my fellow advisors.

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I’ve been married for almost 9 years. I met my husband playing soccer. We’re both soccer players. Any chance we get, we like to play pickup soccer, and we’re looking for games to play. My son Conor is 7, and my son Liam is 5, and we’ve just been getting acclimated and getting them started in school. In our free time, we love to hike and go to parks and spend time in nature as much as we can. We’ve been exploring.

  • What are your other hobbies?

When I have time to myself I like to jog, read and do yoga. It’s also been fun taking my family to places I remember going as a student like American Dream. We’re big fans of the local library and go at least once a week. I’m also trying to figure out what kind of plants are in my new, large yard as well as what to do with all the apples from my apple tree!

  • What’s your favorite meal?

I would forgo meals to eat chocolate chip cookies.

  • In your dream house, what one weird feature would you include?

I’ve been a baby about acclimating to the weather here in Oregon, so maybe some kind of towel warmers and heated floors.