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Alumni Notes

Winter 2016


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Jason Broehm (M.S. LR ‘00) joined the U.S. Department of Transportation as a transportation analyst in the Office of Safety, Energy and the Environment, working on matters related to health and transportation, sustainable communities and environmental justice.

Katie Caron (ESC ‘15) spent the summer as an editorial intern at The Star, a newspaper serving the Sun Prairie area of Wisconsin.

Martha Goodell (M.S. ER, EAP ‘14) has founded Goodell Consulting, LLC, supporting clients with clean energy-related projects.

No More Endlings

Allison Hegan (ESC ‘10) published No More Endlings: Saving Species One Story at a Time. The book shares personal accounts of those working to protect endangered species, including Nelson Institute Professors Cal DeWitt, Lisa Naughton and Adrian Treves, and alumnae Stephanie Dolrenry and Leela Hazzah.

Flora Flygt (M.S. LR, EAP ‘91), American Transmission Company; Rich Hasselman (M.S. LR, EAP ‘98), TetriTech; Corey Singletary (EAP ‘10), Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; and Bobbi Tannenbaum (M.S. LR, EAP ‘98), BTan Consulting LLC, participated in a career panel for EAP students in Madison in November.

Colin Higgins (ES ‘15) was named a Rhodes Scholar in November – a “surreal” experience, he told The Associated Press. The prestigious scholarship funds two to three years of study at England’s Oxford University, where Higgins plans to seek philosophical and practical solutions to environmental governance issues.

Anne Hubatch (ESC ‘99) heads Helioterra Wines in Portland, Oregon. After graduation, the Wisconsin native moved to Portland for environmental work, then fell in love with Oregon wines and dove into the craft, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Jayne Somers (Ph.D. LR ‘05) is now an energy advisor with the USAID Asia Bureau, previously working in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division.

McKenzie Liegal (ESC ‘14), an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) member, works as school health activities coordinator for the Grundy County Health Council in Tennessee, coordinating before and after-school physical activity programs, school garden curriculums and a tobacco cessation program.

Dan Masterpole (M.S. WRM ‘81), director of Chippewa County, Wisconsin’s Department of Land Conservation and Forest Management, works with a range of stakeholders to develop conservation programs that address local needs. An example: the county has coordinated with the growing sand mining industry to address public concerns, limit mine impacts and advance non-metallic mine reclamation, something Masterpole presented on at the Waupaca Area Public Library in September.


Alison Duff leads field ecology workshop

In teaching the UW-Madison undergraduate field ecology workshop last summer, associate lecturer Alison Duff (M.S. LR ‘06, Ph.D. ER ‘14) incorporated a variety of citizen monitoring protocols – including contributing to the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and monitoring insect pollinators in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve – to provide students opportunities to continue volunteering and contributing to local conservation efforts.

“I want to inspire and excite them about why we do conservation,” she says.



Alana McKeever (SC ‘15) works as marketing coordinator and sustainability guru at the Madison-based start-up Yumbutter. “What I like about sustainability is it combines every aspect of the world and puts it into a system that makes inherent sense,” she says. “You can’t destroy the planet if you want to create a business that’s going to last. You can’t treat people badly if you want to have a business that functions successfully.”

Travis Olson
Travis Olson

Travis Olson (M.S. CBSD ‘98) was honored with a 2015 Wetlands Award from the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. He has worked “tirelessly and humbly without fanfare for the wetlands of Wisconsin” in his years with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the award announcement reads, and his efforts have enhanced the ability of agencies and organizations to protect and restore wetlands.

Shawn Reilly (ESC ‘83) has served as mayor of Waukesha, Wisconsin, since April 2014, delivering on his “no drama” campaign promise, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Reilly has a love of the outdoors, and of competitive barbecuing. “We call it a hobby gone awry,” he told the newspaper.

Vanessa Wishart (M.S. ER ‘12) joined the Madison office of law firm Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, where her practice focuses on environmental law.

Ben Paulos (EAP ‘97) published an e-book, Empowered: A Tale of Three Cities Taking Charge of Their Energy Future, that explores innovative community responses to utility policy changes in Boulder, Madison and Minneapolis.

Katie Songer (M.S. ER ‘09) serves as restoration project manager for Portland, Oregon’s Johnson Creek Watershed Council.

Ron Sutherland
Ron Sutherland

Ron Sutherland (M.S. CBSD ‘02), conservation scientist with the Wildlands Network, has earned two top honors for his leadership and commitment to protecting North Carolina’s public resources and wildlife: the Governor’s Award for Natural Resources Scientist of the Year from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and the Pelican Award from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. Through research into landscape connectivity, Sutherland has identified key pathways for wildlife movement across the state.

Jenny Seifert (M.S. ER ‘11) serves as science writer and outreach coordinator for the Water Sustainability and Climate project, a UW-Madison initiative investigating how the Madison area could cope with long-term changes affecting freshwater. The project’s Yahara 2070 scenarios, a set of plausible stories about the future, are intended to help people grapple with the inherent uncertainty of the long term.

Anna Willow (ESC ‘98) has been promoted to associate professor of anthropology at The Ohio State University. She has published extensively on topics related to indigenous environmental activism, First Nations-environmental alliances in Canada’s boreal forest, and the social, cultural and political implications of intensive industrial natural resource extraction.

Dan York (M.S. LR, EAP ’87, Ph.D. LR ‘91), a fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, has launched an EAP alumni planning committee to help connect program alumni with students. To get involved, email York.

ES denotes environmental studies undergraduate major; ESC, environmental studies undergraduate certificate; and SC, sustainability undergraduate certificate. Graduate programs: CBSD, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development; EAP, Energy Analysis and Policy certificate; EC, Environmental Conservation; EM, Environmental Monitoring (through 2005); ER, Environment and Resources (after 2007); LR, Land Resources (through 2007); and WRM, Water Resources Management.


Conservation pioneers

The first recipients of the Environmental Conservation professional master’s degree graduated in August and are already making an impact.

“Each of the 25 students took full advantage of their curriculum, the expertise of their instructors and peers, and the student services of our program office and ran with it,” says Janet Silbernagel, Nelson Institute professional programs director. “As I attended their exit seminars, I found it remarkable and rewarding to hear the breadth of experiences and career directions the students gained.”

Among the first cohort: Vanessa Durant, grant specialist for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission State Energy Office; Jacquie Ptacek, project coordinator at EnviroIssues in Seattle, Washington; Trina (Pearson) Soyk, fish and wildlife biologist for the Green Bay field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Sarah Weber, communications coordinator for the Global Restoration Initiative at World Resources Institute; Darcy Widmayer, education and outreach specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Cait Williamson, program and development coordinator at Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.


Rendezvous on the Terrace

Did you Rendezvous?

More than 100 alumni and friends of the institute gathered in September for the Rendezvous on the Terrace, temporarily relocated to the Pyle Center on Langdon Street due to construction at the Memorial Union. Thank you to all who joined us for this annual fall gathering, and at the WRM@50 celebration that coincided with the event.

Save the date for our 2016 Rendezvous: September 9!

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