Alumni



OCTOBER 25, 2018
Guardian of the Glen
Nearly three hundred years ago, wolves roamed the lush forests and glens of the Scottish Highlands, but today, many of those lush forests are gone as are the wolves that called them home. The loss of this apex predator has led to an upsurge in the red deer population and a cascading effect on the ecosystem balance. While the reintroduction of wolves to Scotland remains a controversial topic, Paul Lister, a conservationist and owner of the 23,000 acre Alladale Wilderness Reserve near Inverness, Scotland has been developing plans to reintroduce the wolf to his property. As a part of this mission, he has enlisted the help of experts and scientists from around the globe, including Nelson Institute Environmental Conservation graduate, Autumn Nielsen. In fact, Nielsen spent her summer working with wolf expert, Cristina Eisenberg and the EarthWatch Institute on a baseline research study at Alladale Wilderness Reserve to determine the impact wolves would have on the property. The project was a part of her final professional project with the Nelson Institute Environmental Conservation Professional Master’s program, which is an accelerated learning program that is working to prepare conservation professionals to solve some of the most urgent challenges in biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.


OCTOBER 17, 2018
A Transformational Education
Growing up in a rural, Liberian village during wartime made it difficult for Emmanuel Urey to secure an education. From a young age, he dreamed of attending school, but he didn’t have the opportunity until the war forced his family into neighboring Guinea, where he was able to begin elementary school at the age of 13. Despite these early challenges, Urey went on to attend college, earning two Master’s degrees and graduating with his Ph.D. in Environmental Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute in May 2018. Today, Urey has returned to Liberia, where he is working to increase educational opportunities and land rights through his work with Landesa, the Salvation Army Polytechnic (T-SAP) school and his own nonprofit, One Life Liberia. Through it all, Urey is determined to use what he’s learned and the connections he’s made at the Nelson Institute to improve the lives of those in his "beloved country” of Liberia.


OCTOBER 1, 2018
An Inspirational Education
Nicolle Zellner, (1993) B.S. Physics and Astronomy, Nelson Institute environmental studies undergraduate certificate (ESC), UW-Madison M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic institute, NY While her professional credits include being a part of the STS-67 shuttle mission ground crew and working with lunar samples that the Apollo astronauts brought to earth, University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna, Nicolle Zellner says some of her most profound lessons occurred during her time as a Nelson Institute environmental studies undergraduate certificate student. It was there that Zellner said she learned how to apply her knowledge of physics and astronomy in solving environmental and societal issues. It was also where Zellner found a community of experts and peers who shared her passion for knowledge.


AUGUST 14, 2018
Four Nelson Institute alumni recognized for their impactful work
Whether it is providing life-saving care to the residents of Uganda, developing a resolution for transboundary water conflicts, providing conservation education or championing river preservation, Nelson Institute alumni are at the forefront of important efforts around the world. Such impactful work is deserving of recognition, which is why the Nelson Institute is proud to honor outstanding alumni through the annual Rising Star and Distinguished Alumni Awards.


JULY 31, 2018
Allies in Environmental Justice
The Nelson Institute strives to be an inclusive community of scholars who share a passion for enhancing the quality of life and the environment in Wisconsin. From professors and students to partners and alumni, the Nelson Institute community includes a diverse group of people working to create real change, something Nelson Institute alumna Ashley Lee is proud to contribute to through her work with Public Allies of Milwaukee.


JULY 18, 2018
Diversity and mentorship are a walk in the park
The inaugural "Hike & Learn” session took place in June. Each session will be held with a group of about 10 students and a faculty mentor exploring different pathways within the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. The next session will be held Friday, July 20, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. with Seth McGee, lab manager of the UW-Madison Biocore program. Register online here.


JUNE 25, 2018
Nelson Institute alumni lead Integrated Land Management workshop at Cornell
Collaboration is key at the Nelson Institute, where faculty and students are encouraged to take an integrated approach to research and education. For Nelson Institute alum Nina Trautmann Chaopricha, the collaborative nature of the Nelson Institute left a lasting impression, inspiring her to seek out new ways to connect students, faculty, and experts from across the world on sustainability initiatives.


MAY 29, 2018
Nelson Institute alumna selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners
Nelson Institute Alumna Mary Ann Heidemann, PhD was officially inducted into the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows at the National Planning Conference in New Orleans.


JANUARY 15, 2018
Nelson master’s graduate puts environmental conservation theories into practice
After taking ornithology courses, Sandberg was on the path to find a career that would help birds in their natural habitat. Now as a wildlife rehabilitator, she is able to do just that, placing birds and other native species back into the environment where they belong.