Graduate Students

Image of Molly Barrett

Molly Barrett, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Saunders

Molly joins Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources from Northern Arizona where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in forestry with a minor in biology. Molly’s research is focused on regeneration response of oaks to prescribed fire and gap-based harvesting in the Central Hardwood Forest Region (CHFR).

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.

Image of Sarah Cuprewich

Sarah Cuprewich, MS – van Eck Scholar

Principal Investigator – Dr. Saunders

I am originally from New Jersey and attended the University of Vermont for my undergraduate education in environmental science, with a concentration in conservation biology and biodiversity. I’ll be working in conjunction with the US Forest Service’s Joint Fire Sciences Program-funded study measuring different effects of prescribed fire, such as oak regeneration.

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.

Image of Lilian Jacobo

Lilian Jacobo, MS

Principle Investigator – Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Woeste

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

Image of David Mann

David Mann, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Saunders

Image of Madeline

Madeline Montague, MS – van Eck Scholar

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jacobs

Madeline is a new graduate student that started in 2018.

Image of Alison Ochs

Alison Ochs, MS

Principle Investigator  – Dr. Saunders

She studies the short and long term effects of timber management on terrestrial salamanders. In particular, she focuses on the effects of prescribed fire, the different effects of clearcuts, shelterwood harvest, and uneven age management, and how far into surrounding forest such effects reach.

Image of Rebekah Dickens Ohara

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.

Image of Caleb

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.

Image of Ben Rivera

Benjamin (Ben) Rivera, MS

Principal Investigator – Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Meilan

Ben is originally from Oregon and graduated from Kalamazoo College with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies.  Currently, Ben’s research focuses on the effect of honeysuckle removal on the surrounding ecosystem and the effectiveness of different strategies of removal in Indiana forests.

Image of Geoff Williams

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.