Molly Van Appledorn
Molly is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her interdisciplinary research on riparian forest ecosystem dynamics is largely motivated by practical conservation and restoration issues that surround these systems and a genuine love of their beauty and complexity. Before landing in Maryland, Molly worked various field jobs throughout the country, taught environmental science and ecology in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a master of science from Utah State University. Everywhere she has lived she has enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies that make each place unique, which has cultivated a deep appreciation for the diversity of environment, people and ideas.
Riley is pursuing dual master's degrees in Environment and Resources and Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and focusing on food systems and community development. His thesis will be on the effect of increasing water rates in San Diego County on small Avocado farmers there. He is an affiliate of the Kaufman Lab for the Design and Study of Food Systems and Marketplaces on campus, and is on the steering committee for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. He graduated from Wheaton College ('12) with degrees in Geophysics and Bible/Theology and a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources. Spare time is thin in graduate school, but when he gets it, Riley enjoys riding his bike and playing basketball. Things Riley wants to learn: how to fish, how to salsa dance, how to draw, and how to fix a car.
Nick is a masters student at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. He is pursuing an interdisciplinary degree in energy, technology, and policy, which means he can unabashedly indulge his love of engineering, environmental science, economics, and social science. His current research is related to sustainable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa, and he gets excited about small solar lamps that are less expensive, less harmful, and less polluting than kerosene. Before graduate school, Nick worked for eight years with a ministry in Washington State and Honduras called Tierra Nueva. Nick helped coordinate several income-generating enterprises and also managed a five-acre organic farm. When he's not studying, Nick loves to share meals, hear stories, and play games with his wife, toddler, and friends.
Keith is a MS student in aquatic sciences at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is studying the environmental impacts of aquaculture production in Asia, and researching new ways to ecologically reduce aquaculture waste products. His interests include understanding the trophic and nutrient linkages in ecosystems and how human influences affect and alter them.Keith did his undergraduate degree at Westmont College studying Sociology. Prior to Michigan Keith led wilderness backpacking trips for Summit Adventure, a faith based wilderness expedition organization, and worked at LCC International University in Lithuania as the Intercultural Programs Coordinator. After several years of focusing on the social sciences, Keith wanted to shift focus to the environmental sciences to better inform communities and churches about creating sustainable relationships with natural resources and creation in general. He is also very interested in the philosophy of science and how better to communicate scientific information to the public. When not studying he enjoys rock climbing and camping, and is currently attending the Campus Chapel in Ann Arbor.
Carissa De Young
Carissa is pursuing a dual MBA/MS focused on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Food Systems through the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. Before starting graduate school, she spent five years in Ecuador working for Partners Worldwide, a nonprofit that seeks to end poverty through business growth and job creation. She worked in the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains to explore environmentally sustainable methods to increase production and remove barriers to market entry for smallholder farmers. This experience deepened her conviction in God’s calling to explore ways to improve the lives of those living in poverty and care for Creation, realizing that poverty and environmental degradation are closely linked in many parts of the world. Carissa’s research interests include collapsing the food supply chain, improving long-term yields on marginal land through conservation agriculture, and aiding decision-making in rural communities as they weigh tradeoffs between forest conservation and agricultural production. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in Economics and International Development Studies. In her free time, Carissa enjoys running, playing ultimate frisbee, exploring Detroit, and hiking.
Katelyn is a PhD student in the Botany Department at UW-Madison where she is studying the impacts of abiotic stressors (particularly drought) on plant physiology. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, her love for nature was inspired by trips with her grandfather (a biologist himself) to nearby forests, mountains and streams—always with plastic collection jars and binoculars in hand. Katelyn obtained her B.S. in biology from Calvin College where she was blessed with many opportunities to integrate her faith with science—including a summer of research & classes at Au Sable’s Pacific Rim campus, a summer working as the Creation Care Intern at Intervarsity’s Cedar Campus and a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Amazon Rainforest. After graduating from Calvin, she spent a year traveling around the U.S., working various seasonal jobs with the University of Minnesota, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Taos, NM and at a berry farm in her hometown of Lynden, WA. Katelyn is actively involved in UW-Madison’s IV-GCF chapter and in her free time enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, yoga and playing violin.
Brad is a PhD student in Water Resources Science at the University of Minnesota. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul in 2010. At that time he studied wolf behavior and ecology as well as squirrel population dynamics in urban forests. He later received his MS in Environmental Science from Taylor University in 2013. While at Taylor, he studied the use of best professional judgment for establishing vegetative quality benchmarks in habitat restoration. Taylor also provided Brad an opportunity to use his passion for teaching non-science majors about their relationship with and impact on the environment from a biblical perspective. Brad used this platform to teach students how God’s creation reflects His character, God uses creation to teach us more about Him, and creation prepares hearts for the gospel. He is currently studying the relationship between vegetative cover for best management practices and erosion reductions in the Minnesota River Basin. His career goals are to continue his work in ecological restoration and to teach people about the ecological and biblical importance of caring for God’s creation. He enjoys being involved in small group Bible studies, reading, playing and listening to music, exploring natural areas, gardening, cooking, and coffee.
Kiara is a Ph.D. candidate at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her doctoral work is in the area of ecological vocation of the Christian. Her experiences in the Middle East and in India have shaped her understanding of the pressures being placed on God's creation. She has taught Christian ethics and environment in both a Christian camp setting and at the high school and college level. Kiara is pursuing a Ph.D. in the conviction that the church can be a major force to affect the ecological crisis for good. For this to happen, Christians will have to live out their ecological responsibilities as part of their vocation.
Scott is pursuing a PhD in Resource Policy and Behavior at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Michigan. His work examines what shapes our efforts to protect ourselves from the projected impacts of climate change. He believes that through coming to terms with this century’s global challenges, we are called to critically examine the values system that led us to this point and how this discussion can be informed by Catholic teachings. He has completed a dual MS/MUP at Michigan and a BA in English from the University of Virginia. His background has taken him back and forth from the wilderness to the inner-city and he has heard the call to service in both.
Geneva is pursuing her master's degree in environmental policy at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. She hopes to use her background in ecology and writing to help the scientific community translate research findings into real-world policy applications. Geneva graduated in 2013 from Calvin College with a biology degree and a writing minor. Her interest in creation care stems from a passion for the natural world and a desire to restore shalom in any way she can. She got a taste of this while volunteering with the Plaster Creek Stewards in Grand Rapids, MI, and she's excited to see what her time with the Au Sable Fellows might bring. When she's not writing papers, Geneva loves to read, play the piano, wander outdoors, explore Ann Arbor by bicycle, and play with her roommate's cats.
Julie is pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Science at The Ohio State University, and her research focuses on the use of microbial inoculants in organic farming systems. In particular, she is investigating how different soil amendments influence the survival and efficacy of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Previously, she earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Biology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Traveling through rural regions of Panama and Peru for research and non-profit work has deeply influenced her worldview. While in college, she joined the Catholic Church, and so was very excited to read Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, when it was released in June of 2015. Themes in the encyclical of the broken relationships we share with our God, our neighbors, and our earth resonate with her. She believes that “renewal entails recovering and respecting the rhythms inscribed in nature by the hand of the Creator” (LS71). Julie hopes to play a role in this renewal by advancing agricultural systems are socially responsible, economically viable, and ecologically sound. She currently lives on a sheep farm in northeast Ohio, and during her free time she enjoys running through the woods, biking, and sharing food and thoughts with friends. Julie also volunteers at Local Roots, a year round farmer’s market cooperative and community center.
Jamie completed her Bachelor of Social Work at Wayne State University and after working in long term care for three years decided to go back for a Master’s degree in the field of Landscape Architecture. While these two areas may seem to not have anything in common, she is interested in enacting change for people by bettering their environments. Her research includes elements of nature that can effectively improve mood and affect as well as overall well being. Some specific ways she would like to enact this is with urban gardens, prayer gardens and healing gardens.
Rem is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Science from the University of Missouri. Rem’s research focuses on large mammal movement ecology, predator-prey interactions, and the philosophy of statistical modeling. Before coming to Michigan State, Rem and his family ministered overseas in Lebanon, where he taught high school science and his wife provided medical care to Syrian refugees. Rem feels that the redemption believers find in Christ should extend through them to all creation. To that end, he seeks to study, conserve, promote, and cherish the natural glories of God’s earth and inspire others to do the same.
Amanda is a graduate student in Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working towards her MS/PhD. She is particularly interested in agriculture as a mechanism of community re-establishment, environmental conservation, and sense of “home” in post-disaster scenarios. After graduating from Messiah College in Pennsylvania, Amanda worked as the assistant to the founder of A Rocha, a Christian conservation organization, in France. She returned to the US in 2009 to polish her skills of phone-answering as a receptionist at an engineering firm. She also worked part-time as an afterschool agriculture club coordinator at an urban garden in Harrisburg, PA. Amanda is very happy to be back at school, particularly in such a bike-friendly, sunny city as Madison. She is involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Geneva Campus Church. Amanda’s playtimes include swing and folk dancing, hosting board-game nights, and chatting with friends in coffee shops.
Will is a PhD candidate in the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at the Pennsylvania State University. Will received a BS in Biology from Messiah College in 2014. Will spent four summers at Au Sable during his undergrad, taking classes and conducting research at the Great Lakes and Pacific Rim campuses. Will feels that his experience at Au Sable was instrumental in his professional development and his understanding of the role faith plays in environmental conservation. After graduating from Messiah, Will went on to earn a MS in Biology from Towson University in 2014 where he studied how the dispersal dynamics of headwater salamanders influence gene flow in stream networks. Will’s current research focuses on assessing patterns of genetic connectivity in white-tailed deer to delineate potential transmission corridors for chronic wasting disease in the eastern United States. When Will is not in the lab, he enjoys mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, and pretty much any other activity that gets him out into God’s creation. Will currently lives with his wife near State College, PA and attends Calvary Church in State College.
Brittany is pursuing a master’s in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her bachelor’s at Humboldt State University in Wildlife Conservation and Management. Her identity has always been rooted in Christianity and a passion for wild things. She was fortunate to have been raised by parents who nurtured these desires by exposure to the outdoors and providing the tools to develop her faith. Her career focus is in game management, for she loves how interested and invested citizens are when it comes to the research of hunted wildlife. Not only does this bring her into contact with many people, where she can connect with and better understand them, but it gives her scientific role a level of accountability—the public will question the reasons and motives for different aspects of management, and she wants to be able to give acceptable answers.
Will is pursuing a MS/PhD in Water Resources Engineering at Cornell University, working in the Soil and Water Lab of the Biological/Environmental Engineering department. His research concentrates on systems designed to encourage microbial processes to remove excess nitrogen from agricultural runoff. He completed his BS from NC State University in Biological Engineering focusing on design of best management practices for urban stormwater treatment. While an undergraduate, he studied abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for a semester, studying interactions between marine ecosystems and communities. Through this trip, and countless other awe-inducing experiences in creation, Will feels blessed to be in a field that allows him to work outdoors and care for a passion of his. He is excited to be joining a community in Ithaca that values God’s beautiful creation, and he looks forward to exploring his role its stewardship as he pursues his call to be a professor. In his free time, he enjoys volleyball, cooking, and reading, and is always up for a good outdoor adventure.
Russ is a PhD student at Princeton Theological Seminary in the Religion and Society program, concentrating on religious ethics and social criticism. He is especially interested in the intersection of such theological themes as awe, wonder, and gratitude with the aesthetic experience of the natural world. Russ is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and sees his work as contributing both to academic discourse as well as local church congregations, particularly on issues related to environmental sustainability, local activism, and community organizing. Born and bred in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, and also having grown up in central Alabama, Russ received his bachelor's from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. He has worked as a research fellow at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and as a research associate with the Forum on Religion and Ecology, both at Yale University. Additionally, Russ has instructed or helped to instruct courses at Yale, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University on topics ranging from moral philosophy to church leadership, Reinhold Niebuhr to Buddhism. He lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife, Kristy, and daughter, Adiah.
Steve is a doctoral student in the Department of Zoology at Michigan State University. His research focuses on avian ecology and bird-insect-plant trophic cascades in Panamanian forest restorations. He received his MA from the University of Kansas in 2011, where he studied the ecology of a threatened prairie milkweed. Prior to his master's research, he worked for a land trust creating conservation easements on prairies and agricultural lands in Kansas. His interest in creation care originally blossomed at Calvin College, where he completed his BS in biology in 2006. He maintains an active interest in the intersections of science and faith, particularly ecology, evolutionary biology, and Reformed theology. When he gets restless from long stretches at the computer, he wanders into his backyard to work on habitat restoration for wildlife and insect pollinators.
Derek is a PhD student in Entomology at the University of Minnesota studying forest entomology and conservation biology. Derek’s research is in invasion ecology and involves studying the mountain pine beetle’s ecological and climatic potential for successful incursion from its native western range into eastern pine forests due to newly warmed northern corridors. Derek received his BS from Messiah College in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. He has taken courses at Au Sable’s campuses in Michigan, Washington, and India. While at the India program he got to know Ashley Beck, a fellow student who he eventually married. Following Messiah Derek interned at ECHO where he studied tropical agricultural development in rain forests. He then completed an MA from Taylor University in Higher Education with thesis research in environmental service learning. Most recently Derek and Ashley directed the Creation Care Study Program in Belize, a study abroad program focusing on the intersection of ecology, sustainable development and faith and environmental ethics. Derek and Ashley have a young son named Isaac who lives up to his name and is a source of much joy and laughter.
Sam is a PhD student in the Department of Geological Sciences at Michigan State University working towards a degree in Environmental Geosciences with a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy. His research broadly involves regional water and land management with a particular emphasis on water transport through unsaturated zones. Prior to Michigan State, Sam received his MS degree from the University of Iowa while conducting stream restoration research, and he received his BS degree in geology and environmental science from Olivet Nazarene University. His passion for environmental stewardship stems from the evangelism opportunities found in healthy ecosystems, as he believes practicing environmental stewardship is one way to show Christ to others. In his spare time, Sam enjoys spending time outdoors, following the St. Louis Cardinals, and attending Mennonite relief sales.
Doug is a Ph.D. student in the Ohio State University Department of Entomology, where he explores honey bee foraging and pesticide exposure using the novel tools and concepts of spatial ecology. He received his B.S. in biology from Cedarville University in 2010, having spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 at Au Sable’s Great Lakes campus. While Doug has nurtured entomological aspirations since early childhood, he owes his first formal training in the discipline to Dr. Tim Burkholder, whose insect ecology course at Au Sable was instrumental in preparing Doug for his present studies. Doug enjoys his work immensely, but his favorite part of each day is coming home to his wife, Molly, and their early-instar daughter, Eleanor. On free evenings, Doug likes to pick up a variety of stringed instruments, most of which he can only barely claim to play, and make folksy sounds with them--both Molly and Eleanor are usually entertained. When he is able to pursue extracurricular studies, Doug is drawn strongly to biblical theology and church history, motivated by the ever-pressing need to figure out how the Gospel is to be preached, believed, and lived in today’s world.
Trevor is a master’s student in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing at Michigan State University. He holds a Master’s of Divinity from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri) and a B.A. in English from Concordia University (Ann Arbor, Michigan). While studying at Concordia Seminary, he co-authored a book (Creature Life, forthcoming 2015) on environmental stewardship with Dr. Charles Arand published by Concordia Seminary Press. His research interests are in the role of location in rhetoric, the rhetoric of environmental stewardship, and the dialogue between faith and science. He resides in Lansing, Michigan and serves as a pastor of a Lutheran congregation.
Katie is a MS student in Entomology at The Ohio State University where she is studying how urban green space design in Cleveland, OH impacts wasp communities and niche partitioning of arthropod predators. She is broadly interested in researching ways to restore or improve ecological communities in human-dominated environments- especially urban or agricultural. Previously, Katie has worked at Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut where she conducted a spectrum of entomological research ranging from native pollinator conservation to emerald ash borer ecological impacts and moth rearing. Katie graduated from Messiah College in May, 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in English. At Messiah, Katie was a member of a sustainable living community, the Restoration House, and was heavily involved with Joshua Farm, an urban farm in Harrisburg, PA. Since her junior year in college, Katie has also served with Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), an organization devoted to mobilizing Christians towards climate action in faithful witness to God’s commandment to care for our neighbors (http://www.yecaction.org/). She is a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Columbus, OH and enjoys throwing pottery, reading novels, and spending time with her cat, Poppy.
Cody is a masters student in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. Before coming to Ann Arbor he studied Physics and Math at Azusa Pacific University, where he also developed a passion for environmental stewardship after doing research in Christian and environmental ethics. Most recently, this interest has taken the form of local stream restoration projects within the Huron River watershed as well as research involving the use of artificial spawning reefs in the Great Lakes. Throughout his education, his primary interests have been focused on water resource and sustainability issues in the developing world, especially as they relate to missiology. When Cody is not studying or spending time with his amazing church family (Antioch Ann Arbor), he loves to read, play soccer, and do just about anything outdoorsy.
Grady is pursuing a PhD in Forest Resources in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State University. His work investigates the ecological, social, and economic components of medicinal plants in temperate forests in order to make informed recommendations to woodland owners interested in forest farming as well as rare and endangered forest herb conservation. The hope is to promote conservation through cultivation. He received his BS in Plant Biology and Biomedical Science from Grand Valley State University and his MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics with a specialization in Ecological Food and Farming Systems from Michigan State University. Grady’s career goals are to continue research within temperate forest conservation and to share the wonder of God’s creation with students as a professor. He attends Oakwood Presbyterian church in State College, and in his free time enjoys spending time with his wife Allison, gardening, hiking, playing tennis and bowling.