Graduate Students

Andrea Brennan, PhD

Andrea Brennan, PhD – van Eck Scholar

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Andrea argues that technology, ecology, and society are key considerations to the successful restoration of threatened tree species.  Her research is focused on the butternut tree (Juglans cinerea), currently being attacked by the fungus that causes butternut canker disease (Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum).  In particular, she is evaluating the use of hybrid butternut trees as a potential restoration tool through disease screening, assessment of environmental tolerances, and evaluation of perceptions to the use of hybrid trees for restoration.

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Sarah Cuprewich, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Saunders

Sarah is a new graduate student who joined us Fall 2018.


Bradley Graham – PhD

Bradley Graham – PhD

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jenkins

The primary objectives of Brad’s dissertation research are to quantify the carbon storage capacity of Central Hardwood Region forests by assessing remaining old-growth stands across the region and to investigate long-term changes in carbon storage reservoirs through repeated measurements.

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Lilian Jacobo, MS

Principle Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Lilian is a new graduate student who joined us Fall 2017.


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David Mann, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Saunders


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Madeline Montague, MS – van Eck Scholar

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Madeline is a new graduate student this fall.

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Rebekah Dickens Ohara, PhD

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Rebekah is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, with a focus on the Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management. She is conducting a political ecology analysis of stewardship networks in North Kona and South Kohala,  Hawai‘i Island through Stewardship Mapping and Assessment (STEW-MAP). Her research is focused on supporting the development of a community managed forest in North Kona, and exploring institutional best practices in collaboratively managed terrestrial systems.


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Caleb Redick, MS – van Eck Scholar

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Caleb’s research will be focused on forest restoration, likely including mitigation of animal browsing damage of oaks and chestnuts.


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Weston Schempf, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Wes is researching nursery stocktypes and vegetation management on mine reclamation success.

Emily Thyroff, MS

Emily Thyroff, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Emily’s research is focused on the ecophysiology of Quercus virginiana, live oak, in order to restore the hardwood species to maritime forests in the Southeastern United States.  Live oak is a dominant species of maritime forests, which are ecologically important as soil stabilizers, habitat for wildlife and recharging limited freshwater.

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Geoffrey Williams, PhD – van Eck Scholar

Principle Investigator – Dr. Ginzel

Geoff’s interests include forest biometrics, community ecology, and management, with a focus on forest health and fungal ecology. He is currently researching Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), an emergent fungus-beetle complex which kills walnut (Juglans) trees when the fungal pathogen Geosmithia morbida is introduced to the inner bark by the walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis). Specifically, he is looking at community interactions that may influence the severity of the disease and the physiological tolerance of G. morbida to stress such as desiccation of its substrate, e.g. dry walnut wood. You can learn more about Geoff’s past and current research on his website.


Ke Xu, MS

Principle Investigator – Dr. Ginzel

New graduate student this fall.