University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer

VandalStar

U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Graduate Students

Kate Brings
Kate Brings

Kate Brings
Advisor: Jeff Hicke
M.S. Candidate

Kate Brings is an ecological geographer and her primary area of interest is in climate change ecology in sub-alpine ecosystems. Kate is particularly interested in stand risk assessments of Mountain Pine Beetle outbreaks, as means to understand and project how environmental factors associated with climate change have and will impact the magnitude and extent of insect outbreaks, and their impacts on the statuses of tree stands. Kate Brings received her B.S. in Environmental Science (Earth Sciences concentration) from the University of Portland, Portland, OR.

Karen Heeter
Karen Heeter

Karen Heeter
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley

I am a dendrochronologist with background in botany, forestry, and ecology. My work at the Idaho Tree Ring Lab primarily involves climate reconstruction, fire history, and dendroecology of southern Utah and the interior northwest. Outside of research, I am actively involved in the prescribed and wild land fire communities. 

April Kaiser
Taking a sample from a 500+ year old preserved whitebark pine stump in the Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming.

April Kaiser
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley

I study dendrochronology (tree-ring research) specifically using wood anatomy cell measurements to reconstruct climates and ecological disturbances. This research helps us identify current climate trends in high resolutions to aid in predicting future climate changes.

Tree cellular structure
Cellular structure of a collected whitebark pine sample.
Daniel King
Excitedly preparing to dive ~3500 m aboard the HOV Alvin (pictured in the background) in order to take rock samples from the bottom of the ocean at ~13° N, mid-Atlantic ridge.

Daniel King
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Eric Mittelstaedt

I study the physical processes that shape the seafloor at and around mid-ocean ridges. Through the use of numerical modelling, my research contributes to the better understanding of tectonic and magmatic events at extensional plate boundaries, as well as planetary surface evolution.

numerical simulation
Finite-difference, numerical simulation representing faulting and subsequent hill formation with varying magmatic accommodation at a slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge. Use QR code to access model animation and further info.
Mt. Hood
At Mt. Hood during Cascade Range Field Work.

McKayla Meier
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I study lava flow and water interactions through their petrology, geochemistry, and spectral characteristics. My research is an analogue study between Earth and Mars to better understand the past Martian environment by analyzing lava flows captured on Mars through remote sensing. By comparing lava flow and water interactions on Earth, we can apply the same concept to lava flows on Mars to search for surface water and by comparison the potential for life.

mafic lava thin section under the SEM
Vesicle Ducky in mafic lava thin section under the SEM
Ty Reinemann

Ty Reinemann
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Jeff Hicke

My research interest is the relationship between lodgepole pine and mountain pine beetle to better understand large scale insect outbreaks. I received a B.A. in Environmental Management and Protection at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Abhinav Shrestha
Abhinav Shrestha

Abhinav Shrestha
M.S. Student
Advisor: Dr. Hicke

Abhinav is working in the Ecological Geography Lab and his research interests are forest disturbances and climate change. Currently, his research focuses on early detection of bark beetle outbreaks, which are common forest disturbances in sub-alpine ecosystems in the western United States, using Landsat data, GIS, and remote sensing. These early detection products can be very useful as a forest management tool and for studies on the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems.

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Karen Humes

Emily is a geospatial scientist interested in GIS, remote sensing, and modeling of hydrological and agricultural systems in present and future climates. Currently, her research centers around quantifying and modeling the water-energy-food nexus in the Pacific Northwest with special focus on the Snake River Plain. Emily holds an M.S. in Geography with a concentration in physical geography and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science (meteorology cognate), both from the University of Oklahoma.

Haley Thoresen
Standing above the detachment fault associated with the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex during the 2020 summer field season.

Haley Thoresen
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Cassel

I am researching the timing of the initiation of the collapse of the Western United States Cordillera using the basin record in southwest Montana and southeast Idaho. This is important because it not only gives us insights into how mountains are built and subsequently destroyed, but how changing topography affects climate and paleodrainage patterns.

Anaconda Metamorphic Core
Measuring section in the basin adjacent to the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex (in the background).
Zhe Wang with reptile
Zhe Wang

Zhe Wang
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Haifeng Liao

My research interests are GIS with a focus on spatial modeling and remote sensing with a focus on digital image processing. My substantive interests include urban climate, urban forestry and land cover land use change. Currently, my research centers around urban tree canopy extraction using deep learning and quantifying the urban tree arrangement.

Zhe Wang
Zhe Wang Presenting Research on Urban Climate
Hailey Wilding
Hailey Wilding

Hailey Wilding
M.S.Candidate
Advisor:Renee Love

My research focuses on correlating the surface to subsurface using geophysical logs, palynomorphs, and historic well cores deposits to identify reservoir amalgamation, sealing facies, and potential traps. Palynology will also be used to determine the thermal maturation of distinct intervals in the subsurface. By studying these Paleogene age fluvial deposits, we can better understand the petroleum potential below thick volcanic deposits around the globe.

Ian Woodruff
Ian Woodruff

Ian Woodruff
M.S. Student
Advisor: Dr. Hicke

I am interested in Forest Ecology and Climate Change. My research focus is on the relationships between forest characteristics, bark beetles, and drought. It is important to understand how climate change and disturbance will impact forests in the Western United States because they provide a plethora of benefits to local communities and the planet.

Frank Wróblewski
Shaking hands with a robonaut at the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Frank Wróblewski
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I study the shapes and colors of planetary surfaces to analyze the differences between volcanic features in satellite imagery. My current research is an analogue study between Earth and Mars to map the spatial, structural, and spectral relationships of lava flows to determine how lava is represented differently depending on how it contacts water. By studying how water interacts with lava, I seek to understand how past climates of Mars and other terrestrial bodies have been preserved alongside their ability to sustain liquid water, habitability, and potential life.

THEMIS IR image of a lava flow
THEMIS IR image of a lava flow, Elysium Mons, Mars.
Chloë Weeks
Chloë with Lone Mountain behind in Big Sky, MT where we collected a sample transect in Summer 2020.

Chloë Weeks
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Jessica Stanley

I want to know if the evolution and approach of the Yellowstone hotspot has caused uplift in the surrounding regionswithin SW Montana. To accomplish this, I am collecting samples along transects of increasing elevations and analyzing apatite grains using (U-Th-Sm)/He and 4He/3He thermochronology in order to establish age-elevation relationships and identify any signs of uplift. Studying the timing and patterns of cooling will add to our understanding of the hotspot’s influence on landscape evolution in regions outside of its main path.

apatite grain
A particularly beautiful apatite grain
  • Luke Bassler (MS)
    • Advisor: Elizabeth Cassel
  • Yoram Terleth (PHD)
    • Advisor: Tim Bartholomaus
  • Jennifer Rangell (MS)
    • Advisor: Thomas Williams
  • Yael Armando Deniz.Hernandez
    • Advisor: Eric Mittelstaedt
  • Carlos Montejo (PHD)
    • Advisor: Jessica Stanley
  • Ian SpendLove (MS)
    • Advisor: Renee Love
  • Abhinav Shrestha (MS)
    • Advisor: Jeff Hicke

Department of Geography and Geological Science

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192