Students & Staff

Community and Natural Resources Institute

Graduate Students

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson

 

 

I am a first year Masters student in the Department of Sociology with a specialization in Environment and Community. I am originally from Washington State and I received my BS from Washington State University in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Environmental Science. I am currently working with Dr. Flint on the Utah Wellbeing Project and am particularly interested in studying human-environment interactions, natural resource sustainability, and community health. In my free time, I enjoy spending time enjoying the outdoors with my two dogs.

Gina McCrackin

Gina McCrackin



Gina McCrackin is a master’s student in the Department of Sociology, specializing in Environment and Community. She received her BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University in 2019. Gina’s primary research interests are environmental justice and Indigenous environmental issues, and she is particularly interested in gainingexperience with qualitative research methods and community-based research. Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Givens, Gina is doing a qualitative content analysis on climate change and Indigenous peoples news media. She is developing Indigenous worldviewmedia frames that will be used to analyze news articles and hopes to better understand how climate change discussions are occurring within Western dialogues as opposed to Indigenous dialogues. Gina is also assisting Dr. Mehmet Soyer with various research projects related to topics such as community engaged learning, sustainability, and perceptions of hydraulic fracturing. In Gina’s free time, she likes to spend time outdoors, hike, visit local breweries, and travel.

Kristen Koci

Kristen Koci

 

Kristen Koci is a PhD student in Sociology at USU. Kristen received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Sam Houston State University in Texas. At USU, Kristen is currently working on a project with Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad exploring mental health and suicide trends, as well as individual and community-level contributing factors to poor mental health and suicide deaths, in rural natural resource dependent communities in Utah. For this project, Kristen will conduct in-depth interviews with residents and leaders in four rural natural resource dependent communities in Utah. Previously, she has worked with Dr. Courtney Flint as a research assistant on projects including the Water Reuse Project (studying perceptions of water reuse in Utah), the Utah Wellbeing Project (surveying Utahns about their perceived wellbeing), and a research project exploring perceptions of children’s health and safety risks posed by irrigation water in Northern Utah. Kristen’s present interests lie in community, natural resource dependency, [rural] mental health and access to mental healthcare, community development, and social inequality.

Beth Bennett

Beth Bennett



Beth Bennett is a PhD student in the Sociology department at USU, advised by Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad. She graduated from Idaho State University in 2021 with a MA in Sociology and completed her thesis on sense of place in working landscapes. Her current research explores the effect of increased absentee ownership on rangelands in the Western United States, with a focus on the impact of high net-worth owners on rural communities, rural ecologies, and the formal and informal institutions that shape how agriculture is practiced.



Edem Avemegah

Edem Avemegah

 

Edem Avemegah is a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant in the sociology department at Utah State University. He is originally from Ghana, West Africa. His research focuses on understanding farmers' behavior and attitude relating to the adoption of conservation practices, best practices in conducting survey research with agriculture producers, and issues affecting thedevelopment of smallholder farmers in Africa. He has a bachelor's degree in social work with information studies from the University of Ghana and a master’s degree in applied sociology from South Dakota State University. He is currently researching agriculture in an urbanized landscape and challenges associated with agriculture near urban areas in the Chesapeake Bay region. Edem is working with Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad as an external evaluator of a multidisciplinary research team conducting a formative andsummative assessment of the research team's organizational efficacy, interdisciplinary team collaboration, and the projects’ impact on stakeholders. Edem enjoys cooking, traveling, and visiting the gym during his leisure time.

Matt Barnett

Matt Barnett

 

Matthew Barnett is a third-year doctoral student advised by Dr. Petrzelka and Dr. Ulrich-Schad in the Environment and Community specialization area. He completed his bachelor's degree at Utah State University, where he worked on the iUTAH water sustainability project, and his master's degree at the Ohio State University, where his thesis explored the social, built, and natural drivers of household water use in a multilevel context. His desire to study environmental issues in the Four Corners Region drew him back to Utah State University to pursue his PhD.


Leonard Henderson

Leonard Henderson




Leonard Henderson is a sociology PhD student specializing in Environment and Community. Leonard received his BA in Sociology and Anthropology, and International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound in 2016 where he focused on cultural, political, and economic dynamics of Hip-Hop. As well, Leonard obtained his MA in Public Sociology at Humboldt State University in 2020, and his thesis work explored the intersections of the cultural constructions of wilderness and perceptions of the belongingness of particular sounds. Currently, Leonard works with Dr. Courtney Flint on two projects concerning the human dimensions of rivers and watersheds. One focusing on the social ecological relationships of river and watershed organizations, and the other assessing stakeholder priority alignment in the Santa Fe River Watershed.

Undergraduate Students

Caitlyn Rogers

Caitlyn Rogers

 

 

Caitlyn Rogers is an Undergraduate Research Fellow and Honors student as USU, bornand raised in Salt Lake City. She is in her senior year, majoring in Communication Studies and American Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Studies. She has been working with Dr. Courtney Flint on the Utah Wellbeing Project and the Social Ecology ofRivers Project since 2019 and is working on her own project that looks at how river and watershed organizations think about collaboration. Having worked with teens and college students in a teaching role, Caitlyn hopes to pursue environmental education and communication after graduating."



Madison Fjeldsted

Madison Fjeldsted




Madison Fjeldsted is an Undergrad Research Fellow at USU majoring in Environmental Studies. She wants to become an outdoor therapist and finds particular interest in the therapeutic aspects of nature and their effect on wellbeing. Her goal is to participate in and develop outdoor programs that empower women to understand and take care of themselves and the environment better. She has worked on the Utah Wellbeing Project on and off, developing surveys, creating demographic comparisons, and organizing survey comments. She is from Maple Grove, Minnesota and loves the outdoors.


Staff

Casey Trout

Casey Trout

 

Casey Trout is a Research Associate on the Utah Wellbeing Project and Social Ecology of Rivers Project. She began working with Dr. Courtney Flint on the Wellbeing Project in 2017 as an undergraduate student and the Rivers Project in 2019, after graduating with a double major in Environmental Studies and Statistics.In her role as a part-time Research Associate, she assists with data collection, logistics, and producing city and county reports for the Utah Wellbeing Project and carries out data collection and geospatial analysis and mapping of watershed health data for the Intermountain West Rivers Project. Her primary occupation is currently a Bear Educator with the US Forest Service in Montana, where she teaches people how to safely recreate in bear country. In her free time, she loves being out in nature hiking and backpacking.itlyn Rogers is an Undergraduate Research Fellow and Honors student as USU, bornand raised in Salt Lake City. She is in her senior year, majoring in Communication Studies and American Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Studies. She has been working with Dr. Courtney Flint on the Utah Wellbeing Project and the Social Ecology ofRivers Project since 2019 and is working on her own project that looks at how river and watershed organizations think about collaboration. Having worked with teens and college students in a teaching role, Caitlyn hopes to pursue environmental education and communication after graduating.

Jordan Hammon

Jordan Hammon



Jordan Hammon is theProgram Assistant for the CANRI Institute. Her role includes assisting Jessica Schad and Courtney flint in their research, logistics, social media for CANRI and the Utah Wellbeing Project, presentations, communications, and planning. In her current role, Jordan has assisted on the Utah Wellbeing Project, Social Ecology of Rivers Project, and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project. Jordan was awarded a bachelor's degree in sociology form Weber State University in 2016. Jordan recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Utah State University in 2021; her thesis focused on labor, Medicaid, and access to health care. Jordan’s areas of research interest include labor/work, access to healthcare, social inequality, and community-based research. Outside of work, Jordan helps her parents on their farm. Jordan also enjoys cooking, reading, spending time with her partner and dog, and concerts.